FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Unique Honda Ridgeline

Honda's new pickup, the Ridgeline, has been called "weird" in some articles. However, the commentary illustrates the fine line between the strange and the progressive. The Ridgeline may well fall squarely into the latter category.

For starters, unlike typical pickups, the Ridgeline features unibody construction -- a trait that, in theory, makes it resistant to twisting and bending. A sophisticated suspension system allows it to drive like a car while giving it the strength of a truck. The Ridgeline also features a trunk that's integrated into the rear, for those who don't want to put their gear into an open bed.

Honda has pioneered unique designs for niche markets, such as the Element. The Ridgeline is designed for people who like the functionality of a pickup but don't want to give up car-like handling. In other words, it likely won't appeal to traditional truck buyers. That's the point; it's not a mass market vehicle. But what is these days? Honda has figured out that it can make inroads with specialty markets. As with other sectors of the US economy, the mass market has given way to multiple niches -- and that's precisely the thinking behind the Ridgeline. Other automakers will surelly follow suit and find it worthwhile to develop vehicles for specialty markets.

Source: CNN/Money