Honda Thinks Inside Box with '09 Pilot

While most auto makers have fully embraced the trend of swoopy car-like unibody utility vehicles, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is driving in the opposite direction. The new '09 Honda Pilot SUV, which goes on sale late in the spring, builds on it original boxy styling, with a more aggressive grille and larger dimensions. We think it gives a little bit of a family resemblance to Ridgeline, which helps, but

While most auto makers have fully embraced the trend of swoopy car-like unibody utility vehicles, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. is driving in the opposite direction.

The new '09 Honda Pilot SUV, which goes on sale late in the spring, builds on it original boxy styling, with a more aggressive grille and larger dimensions.

“We think it gives a little bit of a family resemblance to Ridgeline, which helps, but also it's a little bit unique in that segment,” John Mendel, executive vice president-American Honda Motor Co. Inc. says.

“Everybody's gone to car-based, car-look SUVs. We think the (design) kind of echoes its toughness,” he says.

Admitting the “market has not been kind to the segment the last couple months,” Mendel nevertheless hopes to improve upon current Pilot sales volume in the U.S., which fell 23% in 2006.

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