Detroit News: Honda says slow-selling Ridgeline stays

Honda Motor Co. refuted reports Tuesday that it was phasing out its Ridgeline pickup.

"The reports in the media that we have plans to discontinue the Ridgeline pickup truck are false," said Sage Marie, manager of truck product planning at American Honda.

"To the contrary, Ridgeline has a significant role in the Honda lineup, and it is expected to continue in the foreseeable future," he said.

Marie noted that Honda had already announced the 2012 Ridgeline will feature new styling cues, improved fuel efficiency and a new Sport variant.

U.S. sales of the Ridgeline, an unusual, award-winning pickup designed and built on a unibody platform, have slumped by half this year to 6,500 from 12,700 compared with the first nine months of 2010.

Honda has struggled this year with output disruptions because of the March earthquake, and it halted production of the Ridgeline for three months in March. During that period, the tooling to make the truck was moved to another line at the Lincoln, Ala., plant, and production resumed in August.

"It is too early to talk publicly about the details of our future plans for Ridgeline," Marie said. "It will remain an important part of the Honda product portfolio."