MOAB, Utah — Without a two-row midsize crossover, Honda figured it was losing as many as 35,000 U.S. sales a year.
But with the 2019 Passport, which goes on sale Feb. 4 and will be positioned between the CR-V and Pilot, Honda thinks it has plugged that hole in its lineup.
"The primary role the vehicle serves is to keep our customers in the family," said Jay Joseph, assistant vice president of product planning at Honda Division. "In 2017, we looked at our customer outflow and we lost about 35,000 customers into this segment of vehicles, into two-row, midsize, generally V-6 powered, but more powerful SUVs."
When Honda asked former customers why they switched to a competitor, they said they were looking for something more substantial, more powerful and more sophisticated than the compact CR-V.
"But they didn't want to drive something as family-oriented as the Pilot," Joseph told Automotive News during the vehicle's media introduction here. "They didn't want that third row. They didn't want the size."