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September 17, 2020

Acura future models

Acura has so much going for it yet it can't quite seem to break through with luxury car buyers in the same way that Lexus has, particularly in China, not to mention the big three German makes. And why it remains absent from Japan is an ongoing mystery.

Acura has so much going for it yet it can’t quite seem to break through with luxury car buyers in the same way that Lexus has, particularly in China, not to mention the big three German makes. And why it remains absent from Japan is an ongoing mystery.

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What's next for the Automotive industry?

The theory of the peak car – particularly in the triad markets of the US, West Europe and Japan – and the need for sustainable transportation have driven the pivot to mobility in the automotive industry. Both of these drivers are motivating OEMs to change, while society at large is interested in sustainable transport.    GlobalData’s forward-looking report provides you with insights into the direction that the automotive industry is heading in the next few years. It covers: 
  • The forces transitioning automotive to mobility services 
  • CASE megatrends, and their relationship with COVID-19 
  • The way forward for autonomous vehicles 
  • Sustainability issues in automotive 
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It’s been a mixed 2020 for Honda’s luxury division. US sales fell by 19% to 82,713 during the first eight months, while the brand’s overall performance in China continues to disappoint, wholesale deliveries of the two locally made models, the CDX and RDX, being a combined 804 units in August and 6,655 YtD. That compares to 13,265 for Infiniti’s China-made vehicles. August’s data for imported vehicles is yet to be announced but in July, Lexus, which has no local production, remained the number one brand, selling 21,986 vehicles (+29%) and 119,142 YtD (+7%).

As with the parent brand, Acura remains on the sidelines when it comes to electrification, which Honda Motor would argue is no big disadvantage when the majority of American luxury vehicle buyers continue to prefer gasoline engines in their SUVs and cars.

The line-up has a sprinkling of hybrids yet even when one of these is the greatly admired and acclaimed NSX supercar, that doesn’t necessarily translate into high sales.

So is this brand destined to remain something of an outlier, or can Honda gradually broaden the appeal of the products and expand into new markets? There is at least a new emphasis on edgier styling and the addition of faster and sportier Type S variants, a strategy which worked for Lexus.

Cars

The ILX successor should use the same platform as the tenth generations of the Civic and Accord. It was due to be revealed this quarter but might not appear until year-end, which means the current model will have been in production for more than eight and a half years. There should also be a Type S variant for the first time.

The new TLX was announced in May. American Honda’s 2021 TLX is claimed to be “built on an all-new, Acura-exclusive sport sedan platform”. In reality, this is an adaptation of an existing Honda architecture.

As well as the standard wheelbase model for North America, China may have a replacement for its special long-wheelbase car, the TLX-L. This is manufactured by the GAC Honda joint venture, also known as Guangqi Honda. However, the first generation car has not been a success so there might not a new model. On the other hand, as the new car is 95 mm longer than the former TLX, the same vehicle may be made in China instead of a lengthened one.

The standard engine in the North American region for this 4,943 mm long sedan is a 2.0-litre turbo. This has 66 more horsepower and nearly 100 lb ft more torque than produced by the previous shape model’s non-turbo 2.4-litre base engine. Outputs are 272 horsepower and 280 lb ft of torque (SAE Net). Front-wheel drive is standard and AWD optional.

A 3.0-litre V6 turbo will be added in six months’ time, exclusive to the TLX Type S. This sports variant will also have all-wheel drive. The turbo V6 replaces the old shape car’s naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6. The transmission for both four- and six-cylinder engines is Honda’s own ten-speed automatic.

An American Honda factory in Marysville manufactures the TLX, with its engines also built in Ohio at the Anna powertrain plant. Two further US sits produce other key components. The automatic transmission comes from the company’s Tallapoosa plant (Georgia), and the so-called SH-AWD all-wheel drive system’s front power takeoff unit and rear differential are made at Honda’s Russells Point factory in Ohio. The first cars will reach US buyers by the end of this month.

The mid-life facelift should happen in three years’ time, with the successor due in the fourth quarter of 2026.

With only three examples sold in August, making 73 for the year to date, the NSX continues to be a disappointment, the USA being the car’s best market. Introduced in mid-2016, Acura’s only sports car is built in a low-volume plant in central Ohio. There should be a facelift within the next 12 months and potentially a targa body along with a Type R. As for any successor, that car would likely be a PHEV (the current one is a hybrid).

SUVs

The CDX arrived with much promise yet has failed to live up to Honda’s hopes for a brand breakthrough in the Chinese market. This Civic-based and sized crossover entered production in June 2016, following a world premiere two months previously at the Beijing motor show. This, the first Acura to be made in the PRC, is produced as part of GHAC (Guangqi Honda Automobile Company). There are both petrol and petrol-electric powertrains but no PHEV or EV.

Honda was at one time said to be considering either having the CDX built in the US, Canada or Mexico, or importing it to the North American region from China. Given the age of this model, any sales in North America would likely now have to wait until the arrival of the replacement which should be launched in 2022 or 2023.

The current RDX, new for North America’s 2019 model year, uses the same platform as the tenth generation Civic and Accord. As well as being built in the USA, it is also made in China by the Guangqi Honda joint venture.

The V6 engine of the second generation model was replaced by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine mated to a ten-speed automatic gearbox. Outputs are 272 horsepower and 280 lb ft of torque. Honda’s ten-speed transmission had previously been available only in the Odyssey and Acura RDX.

The USA remain’s the number one market for this 4.7 m long 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 43 mm shorter than the original MDX. American Honda sees the RDX’s competitors as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60.

There should be a facelift for the 2022 model year and a fifth generation model in CY2024. We shouldn’t be surprised either if a PHEV is added in two years’ time.

A fourth generation of Acura’s largest SUV, the MDX, is expected to be revealed in the US, its largest potential market, later in 2020. 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 to the Acura range in 2021. For the first time, there will be a more powerful Type S variant. As with the current MDX, the new one will be manufactured at two US plants: see PLDB for more details.

This, the second of two reports which looked at the current and future models of Honda Motor’s brands, followed an examination of what’s to come for the Honda brand. The next OEM to be have its plans scrutinised will be Tata Motors, including its Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary.

Free Report
img

What's next for the Automotive industry?

The theory of the peak car – particularly in the triad markets of the US, West Europe and Japan – and the need for sustainable transportation have driven the pivot to mobility in the automotive industry. Both of these drivers are motivating OEMs to change, while society at large is interested in sustainable transport.    GlobalData’s forward-looking report provides you with insights into the direction that the automotive industry is heading in the next few years. It covers: 
  • The forces transitioning automotive to mobility services 
  • CASE megatrends, and their relationship with COVID-19 
  • The way forward for autonomous vehicles 
  • Sustainability issues in automotive 
Examine the factors contributing to the future growth of different segments of the automotive industry.   Download the full report to align your strategies for success and get ahead of the competition.  
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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