The Acura division is expected to post bigger gain starting August when its mid-size TLX sports sedan arrives, Mike Accavitti, Honda’s US senior vice president for the brand, told Bloomberg in a phone interview. Acura will start production of the TLX – unveiled by Accavitti in New York last spring -- at Honda’s Marysville site in Ohio this month and is expected to reverse a slump for Acura sedans.
Acura gained only 1.3 percent in the first six months of 2014 – no thanks to a 32-percent slide in sedan sales offsetting a 31-percent surge in MDX and RDX SUV deliveries. Accavitti said that the launch of the TLX sedan will enable Acura to experience the same level of success as with the MDX and RDX.
In April, Honda transformed Acura into a division, providing it dedicated management, marketing and other resources. The brand will focus on the TLX and a promotional push, as it bid to catch up with other luxury marques like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Audi.
Takeshi Miyao, an auto analyst at Carnorama Japan noted that Acura doesn’t have a big lineup, adding that its sedans are not doing well. He said that since the TLX is being positioned “strategically in the volume zone,” he expects the model to help Acura compete with German luxury brands and Lexus.
Accavitti expects Acura to sell faster than the current pace of around 156,000 units in the US this year. Acura sold 165,436 units in 2013, and 77,951 units in first half of 2014.
BMW is leading the luxury car pack in the US with 157,382 deliveries. It is followed by Mercedes (151,624), Lexus (138,689), Audi (84,349) and Cadillac (82,117). Acura will commence promotion of the TLX next month in what Accavitti dubbed as “the biggest marketing campaign we’ve had.”