Alabama-built Honda Ridgeline wins 2017 ‘Truck of the Year’ award

Alabama-built Honda Ridgeline wins 2017 ‘Truck of the Year’ award
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline won top honors today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Honda)

The Alabama-built Honda Ridgeline pickup has been named the 2017 North American Truck of the Year.

The award was announced this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Ridgeline bested two other finalists: the Ford F-series Super Duty and the Nissan Titan.

In accepting the award, John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., credited the team behind the Ridgeline for “re-imagining the pickup.”

Honda Alabama employees celebrate the start of mass production for the second-generation Ridgeline last May. (Dawn Azok/Made in Alabama)

“The Ridgeline has been incredible for us,” he said. “Consumers love it. It’s been virtually sold out since we introduced it here last year.”

The Ridgeline, produced at Honda’s $2.2 billion, 4,500-worker Talladega County plant, was redesigned for the 2017 model year and went on sale last summer.

Jeff Tomko, president of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, called the new Ridgeline “a very innovative new pickup truck.”

“I congratulate all of our associates for their commitment to our customers as the Ridgeline returns with new features that will deliver even more of what today’s truck customers want and need,” he said last spring during a plant celebration to mark the start of mass production.

‘Ultimate tailgater’

Honda is hoping to take a bigger bite of the U.S. light truck market with the second-generation Ridgeline, which adopts a more traditional pickup profile than its predecessor.

accepts the 2017 Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Honda)
John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., accepts the 2017 Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Honda)

Promoted as the “ultimate tailgater,” the 2017 Ridgeline has an audio system built into the truck bed, along with a 400-watt power inverter that can energize a blender, flat-screen TV or other gameday gear.

Also this morning, the Chevrolet Bolt EV was named the Car of the Year and the Chrysler Pacifica was named the Utility Vehicle of the Year, a new award category for 2017.

The awards are given annually at the beginning of the Detroit auto show; eligible vehicles are those that are brand new or have been substantially changed.

The winners are chosen by a panel of about 60 automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada, based on innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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