DETROIT - Honda Motor Co. needs more light-truck derivatives, a senior executive says.
Koichi Kondo, CEO of Honda North America Inc., said more models are necessary to take advantage of Honda's manufacturing skills and participate in the expanding crossover segment.
But he insisted that Honda will not build a traditional pickup.
One of Honda's competitive advantages is its flexible manufacturing expertise. By building three models on one assembly line, the automaker can adjust production swiftly to build more of the model that is selling well. That keeps its lines humming regardless of sales fluctuations.
Honda's limited light-truck lineup means that it has too few models on its light-truck assembly lines, Kondo said at the Detroit auto show last week.
The No. 2 line at the company's Alliston, Ontario, plant builds the Honda Pilot and Ridgeline and Acura MDX. Honda's plant in Lincoln, Ala., builds the Pilot and Honda Odyssey.
Those assembly lines are flexible enough to handle more derivatives, Kondo said.
Kondo predicted strong growth for the crossover segment.
The U.S. market is split about evenly between cars and light trucks.