The Japanese automaker has decided to make significant changes to its luxury brand, after Acura saw its US sales fall 10% in 2013, with Honda planning a revamp of the strategy through a business development group.
Honda announced in a statement it has created a new Acura Business Planning Office, headed by Erik Berkman, which changes position from president of Honda R&D Americas to executive vice president for the North American unit and division manager of the Office.
“Acura for many, many years has been a brand without an identity,” said Ed Kim, an industry analyst for AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California. “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.”
“Erik’s appointment to the new Acura Business Planning Office is a clear indication of the high priority we place on Acura,” said Jeffrey Smith, a Honda spokesman. Berkman “brings very strong and dynamic leadership to the Acura brand,” he added.
Acura’s ILX, TSX, TL and RLX sedans sales drop kept the brand from achieving the sales goal and compromised the gains made by the more successful MDX and RDX lines. For 2014, Honda plans to add a new TLX sedan, will have powertrain modifications on its ILX compact sedan, and will follow in 2015 with the return of the NSX high-performance coupe.