Honda, the third largest Japanese automaker has been struggling to lift sales and profits at its US-oriented Acura premium brand for years – and following the recent introduction of the NSX supercar the executives plan to quicken the revival strategy.
The press preview days last week at the 2015 edition of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit were packed with media representatives waiting for the arrival of the latest iteration of the NSX sports car. But the struggling Acura luxury marquee was already thinking ahead at its next introductions, mulling the entry of new cars to lift the laconic sales – a coupe and a compact crossover being next on the revival roster. Last year the company premiered its Business Planning Office, headed by Erik Berkman, to revise the model lineup and yield once more positive results on the sales charts. The executive pointed out that some of the larger rivals were represented in categories that Acura has no entries – with the most prominent blank spaces being the coupe and compact crossover segments. On the latter, Berkman believes the market might be ready for a premium version of Honda’s brand new HR-V compact crossover based on the Fit platform.
On the other hand, Honda’s top managers might be hard to convince if Acura wants to invest into new plates as none of the five existing model series reaches sales of 100,000 units annually. Last year, while the premium market was outpacing the overall growth, Acura’s US sales only marginally improved by 1% to just 167,843 autos. Their trials and tribulations might be alleviated by the knowledge that other rivals had problems of their own – such as Cadillac dropping by 6% into fifth place overall with sales of 170,750 autos and Infiniti inching another 1% with lower than Acura deliveries of 117,330 vehicles.
Via Automotive News