Honda Motor Co. knows that breaking into the U.S. pickup market this year will be tough. That's why the Ridgeline pickup sports a different technology for its cargo bed.
Instead of the standard steel-panel cargo bed, the Ridgeline features a standard rock-hard molded composite box that sits on top of three steel crossbeams.
Gary Flint, chief engineer at Honda R&D Americas Inc., says the bed allows Honda to boast a workhorse cargo area that gives customers features the Big 3 don't have. Among them: corrosion resistance, a nonslip surface, a lockable storage area under the bed and a concealed spare tire.
"If anything, maybe we went a little overboard in overengineering it," Flint admits.
The project was a case of marketing issues driving design, which in turn drove technology.