DETROIT - Honda North America Inc. may have more surprises up its sleeve as it pushes into the U.S. light-truck market.
Honda's top U.S. designer says the same design sessions that produced Honda's SUT Concept pickup introduced at the Detroit auto show this month yielded drawings for four other concept vehicles.
"We did a series of concepts in which we were just imagining different possibilities," says Dave Marek, chief designer at Honda R&D Americas Inc. in Torrance, Calif. "We're looking at a lot of things."
But the SUT is the second of those five drawings to be approved for North American production, Marek says. The other one - the Model X -already made it into production and is being sold as the Element. The SUT is due for production in Alliston, Ontario, in 2005.
All of the drawings were free-thinking concepts for new models, not merely updates of existing models.
Marek says he is contemplating additional concepts:
Whether any of these concepts makes it into production has not been decided. "I still really like the idea of the two-door model," Marek says.
One of the constraints Honda must work with in generating new truck models is that it does not use truck frames or have any expertise in vehicles built on truck frames, which dominate the North American truck market.