US: Acura aims for new luxury increases image

While Japanese premium brands not long ago had been dominating the US market, today the German brands have moved them to lower ranks – which means they need to play catch up now.

Among them stands Honda’s Acura brand, which recently made hit introduction in its SUV line-up, with the new RDX and bigger MDX. Now, the brand has introduced their third sedan, the TLX, which critically slots in between the entry level ILX and the also recently introduced RLX flagship. Also, the model would face tough competition from models like BMW’s 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class and the Lexus GS line.

The new TLX is “critically important,” suggests Mike Accavitti, the long-time Chrysler executive who now heads Acura. “We have to start somewhere,” he adds. “The luxury world has changed since this brand was formed.”

After for many years Honda tried to impose Acura as a true luxury brand with little success, the Japanese made a switch and gave the brand increased flexibility – as it became an independent operation.

In 2013, Acura only increased sales by 5.9%, well below the industry overall increase and also beneath the mother brand’s Honda jump of 7.4%. The brand will rely heavily in the near future on the image capital that will bring the revival of the NSX sports car.