Honda says this Pilot is the biggest yet, and it had to make some equally large changes to its facilities.
The Honda Alabama Auto Plant (AAP) has begun production of the latest generation Honda Pilot. Honda is keen to remind us all that production also includes the Pilot Trailsport "the most off-road capable Honda SUV ever." Honda says that the fourth-gen Pilot will be a challenge for its AAP factory employees, as the SUV has the most changes of any Pilot since Honda introduced the popular SUV in 2003.
The AAP is also the only place in the world where Honda will make the Pilot, and the brand itself says over 2 million Pilots have been produced in the US since 2006.
"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.
Honda tells us the new Pilot is the largest Honda SUV ever, which is saying something. We recently drove the Passport Trailsport, and even it felt roughly the size of a small solar system. The Pilot is both longer and wider than its immediate predecessor, suggesting mass will be similar to that of a dying star.
To produce the Pilot, new equipment and processes were needed throughout AAP. Employees also had to be re-trained. To accommodate the car's wider frame, the AAP had to extend its welding operations as well. By far one of the largest changes was the Pilot's new V6, which necessitated freshly-trained employees and the final assembly required more employees than before.
These are just a few highlights, and the changes Honda had to make at the AAP is a very long and exhaustive list. Of course, all that should translate to a totally new Pilot experience, and one which Honda will be excited to share with media and customers alike. The new Pilot comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 285 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and paired to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. That gearbox is assembled at the Honda Transmission Plant (TMP-GA) in Tallapoosa, Georgia.