Honda Motor Co. is creating a new group that will be in charge of planning business development for Acura – the Acura Business Planning Office. It will be headed by Erik Berkman who is set to sit as executive vice president for the North American unit, Honda said in a statement. In December 2013, Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda's executive vice president and current North American boss, remarked that focusing on Acura was a top priority for Honda.
The Japanese carmaker logged a 10-percent drop in combined sales of Acura's ILX, TSX, TL and RLX sedans, offsetting growth for the brand's MDX and RDX sports utility vehicles.
Acura is currently struggling to define its image in the luxury category, according to Ed Kim, an industry analyst for AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif. “Acura for many, many years has been a brand without an identity,” Kim said.
“They are good, solid, dependable, somewhat premium cars that don’t communicate any clear message about what they are. The best luxury brands stand for something.” Honda spokesman Jeffrey Smith remarked that Berkman’s appointment to the new Acura Business Planning Office is an indication of the high priority Honda places on the luxury brand.
Smith added that Berkman "brings very strong and dynamic leadership to the Acura brand." Berkman led the development of the 2004 TL sport sedan, which was considered as one of the most-successful cars in Acura's history. He also served as of North American research and development.