Honda's Alabama plant building test pickups

LINCOLN, Ala. (AP) - Honda has begun building test versions of the Ridgeline pickup at its Lincoln plant.

Plant officials briefed U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions Tuesday on Honda's flexible manufacturing systems, which are allowing them to add the Ridgeline and Accord V-6 sedan to the assembly lines.

Sessions was impressed with Honda's operations and believes the $1.4 billion facility, which employs 4,500 workers, will be in a good position to capitalize once auto sales rebound.

The Japanese automaker now builds the Odyssey minivan and Pilot sport utility in Alabama.

Sales of both vehicles have suffered this year.

Adding the Ridgeline and V-6 Accord will help Honda keep up local production levels.

It will also free up manufacturing space to build more popular vehicles elsewhere.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)