Honda is investing $1 billion in its luxury brand Acura to launch a series of new products, including the flagship RLX sedan, an MDX sport wagon and the return of the NSX super sports car, priced above $100,000.
The luxury unit’s goal is to tailor the brand to the tastes of the U.S. buyers. Although Acura’s future was so unclear four years ago that Honda began killing models and stopping product development, currently the luxury brand is launching new models to increase sales.
The product push this year comes after Acura’s U.S. sales have fallen 25 percent from an all-time best of 209,610 in 2005. Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand, but it never reached the peaks of Toyota’s Lexus line, the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. from 200 to 2011.
„Acura’s biggest negative is we are known as a value company in the premium space. What we have to do from a marketing perspective is ramp up the emotional element,” Honda’s U.S. marketing chief Mike Accavitti was quoted as saying by Bloomberg in an interview last month.
Honda’s effort to change Acura shows how important and competitive the luxury segment has become for carmakers worldwide. Luxury sales have increased as the U.S. economy has improved and upscale cars offer generous profits and prestige that serve as a halo over the rest of an automaker’s lineup.