Honda has disclosed that its Acura Division will be going global, after 28 years of being mostly a North American entity. Honda is planning to introduce Acura in Russia and the Ukraine in 2014 and in Brazil and the Middle East in 2015. Honda has already started selling Acura in China, albeit only recently. Honda sold around 176,000 Acura vehicles worldwide – with the United States and Canada accounting for 156,216 and 17,154 units recently.
China and Mexico accounted for the remaining sales. Jeff Conrad, general manager for Acura in the US, remarked during the unveiling of the brand’s MDX cross-over in the country that they have taken a “bigger global footprint,” little by little. He remarked that although Acura’s plans are not grandiose in scale, but “they are rolling out."
Honda executives have disclosed that they target Acura to achieve 200,000 sales in the US in the near term. The carmaker expects its larger vehicles like the MDX, TL and RLX to perform well in terms of sales in Russia and China. The MDX has been considered a gray-market favorite in Russia for several years. Honda’s problem now will be how to badge Acura products – particularly the NSX that is due late 2014 -- in markets where the brand is not present.
The carmaker badged the first-generation NSX a Honda outside of the US. Honda spokesman Sage Marie remarked that the NSX is being developed and built in America as an Acura product is a statement of how significant the brand is for American Honda and for Honda.
Honda’s global expansion plans for Acura, however, pales in comparison to Nissan’s worldwide ambition for Infiniti. Nissan Motor chief executive Carlos Ghosn expects Infiniti’s sales to surge from 170,000 to 500,000 by 2017.