Honda Australia's chief admits that not having a ute or large SUV in the company's local line-up is a missed opportunity, but has ruled out the possibility of the US-market Ridgeline ute and eight seat Pilot SUV coming to local showrooms any time soon.
Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins is well aware of the gaps in the company's line-up, but says this comes down to not having a suitable vehicle to fill the roles.
"I think there are two segments that it's just so obvious that we're not in – which is pick-ups and the large SUV. Currently there's nothing available to us in right-hand drive in those two segments. If something was to become available we'd look at a business case like we do with every car, and if it stacks up, then - giddy up!
Honda stopped selling its MDX large SUV in Australia in 2007. In the United States the MDX is sold under Honda's Acura sub-brand and shares the same platform as the eight-seat Pilot SUV which Collins says will not be coming to Australia.
The Ridgeline is a US market ute, but Collins explains it's not suitable for Australian buyers.
You've got to have a one tonne payload, a 3500kg towing capacity with a big diesel engine.
"We're always talking about the opportunity in Australia for those types of cars, the Ridgeline is left-hand drive, US only, and I'm not aware that that will change anytime soon; nor for the Pilot," he said.
"In the Australian market you've got to get the pick-up, you've got to have a one tonne payload, a 3500kg towing capacity with a big diesel engine, and at this point in time that's not what a Ridgeline is. So you've got to make sure that if you're going to enter that segment you're competitive."
In the US, the 2017 Ridgeline is powered by a 208kW/355Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. The all-wheel drive version of the Ridgeline has a braked towing capacity of 2270kg.
Collins says Honda Australia is always on the lookout for the right cars to join its local line-up.
"That's our job – to raise our hand and say there's an opportunity here," he said. "And if there's a product that can fulfil it then we can investigate the matter."
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