Honda Motor Co. announced plans to roll out its Acura brand in Brazil starting 2015. The Japanese company joins a number of carmakers aiming to market their luxury vehicles in the South American country. Making the announcement at the Sao Paulo auto show was no less than Honda chief executive Takanobu Ito. Carmakers from around the world are racing to take a piece of the developing Brazilian luxury car market, which has grown almost sevenfold in five years.
General Motors\' South American chief Jaime Ardila described Brazil as a place where rich are becoming richer in Brazil, remarking it is now time to consider selling Cadillac in the country. Brazil has become a good place to sell luxury products, primarily because of the rising wages in the country. However, both Honda and GM said that luxury vehicles sales in Brazil are still too faint to consider making the country a production hub for their luxury products.
On the other hand, German carmaker BMW AG, has decided to invest around EUR200 million ($261 million) in a factory in the country. The decision was announced Monday following a meeting between BMW executives and President Dilma Rousseff. BMW’s new factory in Santa Catarina will commence production by the end of 2014 at an output rate of around 30,000 vehicles annually, according to Vice Chairman Ian Robertson.
The figure is double the around 15,000 imported vehicles that BMW sold in Brazil in 2011, allowing the German carmaker to grab almost a third of Brazil\'s high-end vehicle segment. It should be noted that luxury vehicles account for just 1.3 percent of sales in Brazil. In August 2012, Ford Motor Co. announced that would bring its luxury Lincoln brand to China within two years. Ford global sales chief Jim Farley disclosed Monday that Ford has no plans to bring the brand to Brazil.
Acura created the 2013 Acura ILX compact sedan to serve as the brand’s entry-level model, thereby attracting first-time luxury car buyers. In particular, Acura designed the Acura ILX to appeal to Generation Y customers, who are successful people in their 20s and 30s seeking to have a taste of luxury without having to spend so much from their budget.
Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio, remarked that first-time luxury customers have the tendency to consider exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues – all of which are found in the new Acura ILX. Ikeda added that the new Acura ILX is positioned as the first opportunity for many young customers to become a part of the luxury market.
Featuring a sporty yet sleek design, the Acura ILX could be considered as a fusion of performance, efficiency and luxury. As penned, the new Acura ILX boasts of an aerodynamic yet stunningly appealing exterior, even though it comes with a large greenhouse for great outward visibility. Being a five-passenger premium sedan means the new Acura ILX is developed to feature compact proportions while providing a passenger interior for both passengers and their cargo.
As for the engine choices, the new Acura ILX offers three options. For instance, the base Acura ILX is powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers 150 hp of output at 6,500 rpm and 140 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,300 rpm. This engine is mated to a Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic transmission, and allows the entry-level to return deliver an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 24 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
A more dynamic Acura ILX is also available, as powered by a 2.4-liter engine that delivers 201 hp of max output at 7,000 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 4,300 rpm. This powerplant is matched to a close-ratio, six-speed manual transmission and allows the Acura ILX to return an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Aside from these conventional engines, the new ILX could also be powered by Acura's first-ever gas-electric hybrid system.