Honda is investing $1 billion in its luxury brand Acura to launch a series of new products, including the flagship RLX sedan, an MDX sport wagon and the return of the NSX super sports car, priced above $100,000.
The luxury unit’s goal is to tailor the brand to fit the tastes of the United States buyers. Although Acura’s future was so unclear four years ago that Honda began killing models and stopping product development, currently the luxury brand is launching new models to increase sales.
The product push this year comes after Acura’s sales have fallen 25 percent from an all-time best of 209,610 in 2005. It was the first Japanese luxury brand, but it never reached the peaks of Toyota’s Lexus line, the top-selling luxury brand in that market from 200 to 2011.
Honda’s effort to change Acura shows how important and competitive the luxury segment has become for carmakers worldwide. Luxury sales have increased as the U.S. economy has improved and upscale cars offer generous profits and prestige that serve as a halo over the rest of an automaker’s lineup.