Next years TLX Type S will look a lot like this

Next year's TLX Type S will look a lot like this

Acura just had its best November since 2014 in the brand's number one market, US sales of the light trucks line-up breaking an all-time record at the same time. American Honda will be hoping that the eleven-month total of 141,252, which is flat, might be improved upon by year-end.

As for China, Honda might have taken a long time to launch Acura there but its presence is steadily expanding, even though the number of locally manufactured models remains small.

It's hard to see Chinese market sales reaching the same sort of level that Acura has in the US for many, many years. Nonetheless, as Volvo demonstrates, big numbers can happen eventually from a low base. Acura looks like likely to end 2019 with retail deliveries around the 15,000 units mark, with additional volume from imports well under the 1,000 units level.

Cars

American Honda caused a surprise by giving the ILX a second facelift for the 2019 model year when a new model had instead been expected. The sole engine became a 201hp 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit linked to a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are only minor changes for the 2020 model year. The facelift and a big price cut worked: US market ILX sales are up by 29 per cent to 13,380.

An ILX successor should use the same platform as the tenth generations of the Civic and Accord. It is due out in the third quarter of 2020 for North America's 2021 model year. The life cycle will likely be six years, with a facelift in 2023. The current car will be more than eight years old when it is succeeded by the new model.

A replacement for the TLX is also expected to appear in 2020. We've already had a strong hint of what to expect, thanks to the Type S, a concept which premiered at Monterey Week in August (see pic). The production model could well be a world debut at next year's event. Build at American Honda's Marysville plant in Ohio should start in September.

A new generation of China's special long-wheelbase model may have been cancelled: fewer than 1,500 units of the current car will have been sold by year end, judging by retail sales for 1 Jan-31 Oct. The TLX-L is manufactured by the GAC Honda joint venture, also known as Guangqi Honda.

Even though Acura's largest sedan, the RLX, hasn't sold well, the car will be replaced. The new model have strong links to the Precision concept that was revealed at the 2016 Detroit auto show. So as to distance this car from the current, poorly performing one, the name might switch to SLX. The Legend, which will be the Honda brand's equivalent for Japan, is due to be revealed there during the third quarter of 2020. The RLX replacement will follow soon after.

The NSX is now three and a half years old, which means a facelift shouldn't be too far away. That will possibly come in 2020 or 2021. There are very few changes for North America's 2020 model year (see PLDB for details).

It's been a good sales year for Acura's supercar, volume in the US market being up by 48 per cent to 228 units for the year to the end of November. As for the expected life cycle, Honda may replace the NSX as soon as 2023 but mid-decade seems more likely. Some say the next generation model will be an EV but for now, it's too early to say.

SUVs

The CDX is Acura's best seller in China, the only country where it is manufactured. This Civic-based crossover, a rival for the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40, Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, entered production in June 2016, following its world premiere two months previously at the Beijing motor show. The only powertrain is a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine in combination with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The CDX was the first Acura vehicle to be made in China. It is manufactured by GHAC (Guangqi Honda Automobile Company). There is also a petrol-electric version, the CDX Hybrid. This was added to the line-up in 2018. Both variants should be facelifted in 2022. The next generation model might also be built in the USA or Canada.

The 4,745mm long RDX, new for North America's 2019 model year, uses the same platform as the tenth generation Civic and Accord. The RDX Prototype had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January 2018 and the production model was revealed at the New York auto show two months later.

The USA will likely remain the number one market for this SUV. It was developed there and is manufactured in Ohio, as is its 2.0-litre engine. As with the BMW X3 and X5, the latest model has grown a lot over several generations. The 2DU series RDX is just 43mm shorter than the original MDX. American Honda sees the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60 as the model's competitors.

As well as being built in the USA, it is also made by the Guangqi Honda joint venture. Acura is still a small brand in China (1 Jan-31 Oct imports total was 568 Acura vehicles, and 11,449 locally-built models) but the RDX is finding some traction, 837 cars being sold in October and 4,516 over the first ten months.

The RDX is due for a facelift in 2021 and should be replaced in 2024.

Next year is shaping up to be one full of new models for Acura, with the next generation MDX also expected. The new model will probably premiere at the New York auto show in April. The dimensions should remain just shy of 5 metres, while an extended wheelbase 'MDX-L' which could have its own model name, might be added in 2021.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

This was the second feature in a two-part series which looked at the current and future vehicles for Honda Motor's passenger vehicles divisions. The next OEM to have its future models strategy examined will be Dongfeng Motor.

Expert analysis

just-auto PLDB - vehicle cycle plan database (annual subscription)

just-auto PLDB - vehicle cycle plan database (annual subscription)

PLDB from just-auto.com is a cost effective, vehicle cycle plan database, showing the production life of all major current and future vehicle models produced (or to be produced) globally by all brands...read more

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