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Posts Tagged ‘Acura’

Acura Chief Accavitti Unexpectedly Exits

New Acura boss is veteran designer Jon Ikeda.

by on Jul.28, 2015

Mike Accavitti with a prototype Acura TLX at its preview during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

With sales growing well ahead of the industry overall, everything seemed to be going right for Acura boss Mike Accavitti. But the industry veteran has unexpectedly exited the Japanese luxury brand, parent Honda Motor Co. offering no explanation for his departure.

Accavitti will be succeeded by Jon Ikeda, who had served as head of Honda’s U.S. R&D operations and who was trained as a designer before joining Honda in 1989.

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“Jon Ikeda brings tremendous knowledge and talent to Acura,” John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, said in a statement. “From deep R&D experience with the brand, he has emerged as the ultimate advocate for Acura and has built a record of solid achievement and success.”

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Acura Going All-In with New TLX

New sport sedan sees largest launch ever for struggling luxury brand.

by on Jul.14, 2014

The new 2015 Acura TLX targets the performance sport sedan market once a stronghold for the old Legend model.

Acura is playing its new TLX sports sedan like a winning poker hand, going all-in on the mid-range model it is launching for 2014.

It may not have any other choice. Despite the strong reception given the Honda subsidiary’s redesigned MDX sport-utility vehicle this year, Acura has continued to struggle with the rest of its line-up, its sedans, in particular, posting double-digit sales declines. But it’s confident that it finally has the right cards in place to ante up with the biggest launch campaign in its 30-year history.

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“We’re very excited about what the TLX will bring us,” said Mike Accavitti, the executive recently appointed to head Acura, which is gaining more independence from its parent brand in a bid to reverse years of weak sales.  Replacing the old TL model, Accavitti promised that the new TLX “is positioned in the sweet spot of the sedan market. It has the right stuff to put us back in the performance sedan game.”

Acura better hope so.

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Honda, Acura Putting Foot on the Gas with New Plans

New structure provides focus for each brand.

by on Mar.10, 2014

Newly named Acura General Manager Mike Accavitti also retains his title as senior vice president of Honda North America. He will oversee the sales and marketing activities for Acura in North America.

The murky plans to split up Honda and Acura to strengthen the division’s luxury brand in North America became clear with the announcement today of Honda North America’s plan to form a Honda Division and an Acura Division.

The plan calls for a realignment of the company’s sales and marketing organization into the divisions instead of being aligned by function as it had previously. The move follows in the steps of the recent establishment of the Acura Business Planning Office, which is designed to give Acura a more independent path from Honda.

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“The goal is to accelerate the already strong sales growth of both the Honda and Acura brands through a more cohesive strategy that we think will bring even greater focus to the unique needs of our Honda and Acura customers,” said John Mendel, executive vice president, Auto Sales, during a conference call today. (more…)

Acura Fills a Big Gap with 2015 TLX

New model to launch first in race trim.

by on Jan.14, 2014

Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of American Honda Motor, Co., introduced Acura's TLX in Detroit.

Officially, Acura is calling it a “prototype,” but the reality is that the new TLX debuting at this year’s North American International Auto Show will be showing up in Acura showrooms by mid-year. In fact, a racing version of the 2015 Acura TLX will be ready to roll even sooner.

And Honda’s luxury division can’t wait. Though it was the original Japanese luxury carmaker, Acura has been struggling to break into the first tier of upscale brands in recent years.  It’s done a credible job with its crossover-utility vehicles, the strong-selling RDX and MDX models, but it can use a boost on the traditional passenger car side of the sales charts.

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That’s where the 2015 Acura TLX comes in.  Make that “fills in.” The new model replaces the largely forgotten TSX and more precisely delivers the sort of midrange size, performance and features needed to slot between the current entry-lux Acura ILX and flagship RLX sedans. (more…)

Mercedes Lands Luxury Sales Crown as Industry Closes Books on 2013

Ford, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Audi and Subaru among other makers celebrating.

by on Jan.03, 2014

Mercedes-Benz wrestled the luxury car title away from BMW this year.

Mercedes-Benz took away the luxury vehicle sales crown from archrival BMW as carmakers closed the books on a successful 2013 that sets the stage for a continuing rebound.

With the U.S. auto industry recording its best year since before the start of the Great Recession, a number of automakers had reason to celebrate. Honda, Nissan, Audi and Subaru were among those reporting all-time record sales, while General Motors retained its position as the nation’s largest automaker.

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But Toyota finished 2013 with bragging rights for not only having the best-selling passenger car in the country, but also having the industry’s highest retail sales. And Ford’s F-150 retained its crown as not only the best-selling truck, but also the best-selling vehicle overall. (more…)

Acura Places Bet on China – But Remains Focused on U.S.

Maker to open plant in China by 2016.

by on Jul.22, 2013

Honda will revive the Acura NSX for 2015.

Honda’s long-struggling luxury brand Acura reportedly plans to start building cars in China in 2016, targeting what is soon expected to become the world’s largest market for highline vehicles.

But Acura officials insist that even as they look for other opportunities abroad, they are increasing their focus on what has traditionally been their largest market, the United States.  They’re backing that up with an assortment of new products that will soon include an all-new version of the once ground-breaking supercar, the Acura NSX.

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Honda plans to invest about $70 million on its flagship plant in Marysville, Ohio to get ready for the re-launch, late next year, of the revived NSX. The sleek, 2-seat sports car was once a showpiece of Asian automotive prowess and lent a halo to Honda’s Acura division, the first Japanese brand to target the demanding luxury market.  But after a 15-year-run, the NSX was pulled from production in 2005 a move that coincided with Acura’s sharp downturn, leading some to wonder whether it could survive, especially as the automotive market plunged into recession.

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Acura Debuts Sporty 2014 ILX

Second version looks to improve on shortcomings.

by on May.14, 2013

The 2014 Acura ILX received a series of thorough upgrades from last year's model.

After Honda received a lukewarm response to its all-new Acura ILX last year, the Japanese maker elected to revise the luxury sports sedan again this year.

It marks the second time in as many years it has had to go back to the drawing board with a small car. It did the same with the Honda Civic.

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The second-edition Civic received rave reviews from critics when it came out. The company, which also disclosed it is planning a hybrid version of the compact sport sedan, is banking it can strike gold twice.

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Acura Will Update – Then Drop — Slow-Selling ZDX

A grand send-off for a product few will miss.

by on Oct.10, 2012

Fade to black: Acura updates the ZDX before banishing the unloved crossover.

Some makers prefer to let their failures slip away quietly.  Acura, however, is giving a big send-off to the unloved ZDX as it prepares to banish the slow-selling crossover off into oblivion.

The ZDX has been one of the poorest performers in the entire lineup of Honda/Acura products – and one of an assortment of niche products that didn’t quite connect with U.S. consumers, also including the Honda-branded Insight and CR-Z models.

The maker is now looking to either find fixes – as with the updated CR-Z unveiled at the Paris Motor Show — or pare back and, as a corporate statement suggests, “sharpen (the) focus on new models and core products.”

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The Acura ZDX emerged in 2009 as part of a new wave of crossovers that seemed to be trying to find a balance between sports coupe and sport-ute. Perhaps the only real success in the segment has been the BMX X6. For the first nine months of the year, Acura sold just 642 ZDX crossovers, down from an already anemic 1220 during the same period the year before.  By comparison, the luxury maker sold 4692 of its more conventional MDX crossovers in September.

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Acura Pushing For 45% Sales Growth in 2012

Maker betting on new ILX, redesigned RDX for big surge.

by on Mar.23, 2012

The 2013 Acura ILX will be a critical piece of the brand's turnaround strategy.

After years of struggle, Japan’s first luxury car brand is forecasting a 45% surge in demand this year that will help it challenge top-tier rivals.

Acura officials say they’re counting on new and updated models – notably the entry-luxury ILK sedan and redesigned RDX crossover — to provide the moment that will boost sales to 180,000 for the year.  An all-new flagship scheduled to debut at the New York Auto Show next month should also add momentum.

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“This is where we think we would have been” were it not for the impact of last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami, said Acura marketing chief Jeff Conrad.

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Milestones: 20 Years of the Infiniti Luxury Brand

Nissan's “rocks and trees” marque along with Lexus and Acura established upscale Japanese cars.

by on Nov.12, 2009

Twenty years ago, Infiniti opened for business in the U.S. with 51 dealers and two models sharing the decidedly different looking showroom based on a Japanese Zen-like atmosphere that emphasized textures and materials and subdued colors.

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Even though the V8 powered Q45 was a competitive car, sales were slow.

Hence, the “rocks and trees” label that journalists used as shorthand for the new, unusual marketing approach.

The dealerships did have a different feel to them — with a reception desk, open offices and an emphasis on sales and customer service – that  in retrospect, they foreshadowed luxury-retailing concepts that prevail today.

However at the time, rocks and trees detracted from establishing the creditability of the new products, the very core of establishing creditability.

The Infiniti brand has since expanded to the mid-east, Russia and China, 35 nations in all, but in its home Japanese market the cars are still sold as Nissan models.

Infiniti, as were competing Lexus and Acura luxury brands from Toyota and Honda, was actually the product of “voluntary restraints” on Japanese exports to the U.S. market during the 1980s.

The flagship Infiniti Q45 – a huge, V8-powered rear-wheel drive sedan with four-wheel steering was successful with reviewers, including this one. The sales problem, I opine, was that unlike the Lexus LS 400, Infiniti did not just clone a Mercedes-Benz.

The vast majority of the buyers were looking for a bargain Benz, with Japanese quality, which the $35,000 Lexus LS 400 readily provided. So, even though Infiniti was a competitive car, sales were slow. The Lexus surged ahead.

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