Associates at the Honda Alabama Auto Plant (AAP) today celebrated the start of mass production* of the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot, which includes the Pilot TrailSport, the most off-road capable Honda SUV ever. To build the fourth generation Pilot lineup, the largest and most powerful SUV in Honda history, AAP associates were challenged with the most changes of any Honda Pilot since the first model was introduced in 2003.
AAP is the exclusive global production source for the Pilot and Pilot TrailSport, continuing the 40- year legacy of Honda’s commitment to build products close to the customer. Since 2006, Honda has produced more than 2 million Pilots in the U.S. The all-new Pilot lineup was designed at the Honda Design Studio in California and developed by Honda R&D engineers at the company’s North American Automotive Development Center in Raymond, Ohio.
“The all-new Honda Pilot is an incredible product that required the determined efforts of each and every associate at the Alabama Auto Plant and I am proud of how our team overcame numerous challenges to create new value for our customers,” said Lamar Whitaker, Plant Lead, AAP.
The largest Honda SUV ever, the all-new Honda Pilot is longer and wider than its predecessor and available in five unique trim levels: Sport, EX-L, Touring, Elite and TrailSport. The mid-sized, three-row SUV is completely redesigned with a new stronger and more capable platform that also provides more passenger and cargo space. Pilot’s new rugged exterior styling is tough and aspirational with a large upright grille and a powerful stance accentuated by flared fenders, wider tracks and larger tires. Available with a new opening panoramic sunroof, the new Pilot is also the only vehicle in its class to combine 8-passenger seating and this desirable feature.
The 2023 Honda Pilot TrailSport represents an important direction in Honda’s rugged light truck product lineup, resulting in a number of additional manufacturing challenges. Engineered to get weekend adventurers even further off the beaten path, the Pilot TrailSport’s special off-road features include a raised off-road tuned suspension with an inch more ground clearance, all-terrain tires, thick steel skid plates protecting the engine and fuel tank and expanded all-wheel drive system capabilities.
The most powerful Honda Pilot ever features an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine made exclusively at AAP. The new dual overhead cam (DOHC) 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 285 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft of torque, yet boasts more complete combustion efficiency to meet stringent emissions requirements. The new engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that is new to Pilot and built at the Honda Transmission Plant (TMP-GA) in Tallapoosa, Georgia.
Manufacturing the 2023 Honda Pilot
As the exclusive global production source for the Honda Pilot, associates at AAP faced a number of significant challenges in bringing the all-new model to market. With a new platform and engine, as well as major new features and components, building the all-new 2023 Honda Pilot required the most manufacturing change points since the first-generation Pilot was introduced in 2003, while also changing to a new global Honda standard for the flow of assembly processes. New equipment and processes were required throughout the plant, including the engine, weld, injection, paint, assembly and final inspection areas. Key changes include:
Honda Manufacturing in Alabama
Honda has been building automobiles in Alabama for over 20 years. Honda’s Alabama Auto Plant in Lincoln began operations in 2001 and is one of Honda’s five U.S. auto plants in America.
Employing 4,500 associates, the facility’s annual production capacity is 680,000 Honda light trucks and V6 engines, using domestic and globally sourced parts. The site is the world’s exclusive production home of the popular Honda Pilot and Passport SUVs, including all TrailSport models, the Odyssey minivan, and the Ridgeline pickup. Honda’s Alabama associates have produced over 5.7 million vehicles and over 5.7 million V6 engines, with total capital investment of $3 billion at the 4.9 million-square-foot facility. Learn more at https://hondaalabama.com/.
Honda Manufacturing in America
Honda has been producing automobiles in America for 40 years, beginning in November 1982 with the start of automobile production at the Marysville Auto Plant.
In 2021, two-thirds of all Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were made in America, using domestic and globally sourced parts. Honda’s cumulative auto production in America now exceeds 29 million vehicles.
Honda established manufacturing operations in America in 1979 with the start of motorcycle production in Marysville, Ohio, and today has one of the largest and most diverse U.S. manufacturing footprints of any international company. The company’s 12 plants employ more than 22,000 associates in America, supporting operations that have an annual capacity of more than 1.27 million automobiles, 1.52 million engines, 500,000 power equipment products and 300,000 powersports products, as well as the HondaJet advanced light jet and GE Honda HF120 turbofan engines.
Cumulatively, Honda has invested $19 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations, including more than $3.2 billion over the past five years alone. The company also works with over 600 U.S. original equipment suppliers, with U.S.-sourced parts purchases of $23.1 billion in 2021 and approximately $470 billion since 1979.
Learn more at https://hondainamerica.com/.
More information about Honda is available in the Digital FactBook.
# # #
* Honda products are made using domestic and globally sourced parts.