Earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, Acura brand VP Jeff Conrad made an astounding claim, telling the assembled press that the Honda luxury division is forecasting increased sales of 45 percent in 2012. Sharing the stage with Conrad were three models, the NSX, RDX and ILX, two of which are set to make up the bulk of the brand’s growth.
“Looking at the luxury market the segments that are forecast to have the most dramatic growth over the next four years are the entry luxury sedan and SUV,” said Conrad in Detroit. “In fact they are the only two segments expecting double digit growth.”
During a press drive event held this week in Scottsdale, AZ, for the second-generation RDX and all-new ILX small premium sedan, forecasted sales provided by Acura representatives for the two vehicles will account for an increase of 55,000 units. The bulk of that will come from the ILX, Acura believes, with sales of 40,000 units.
Meanwhile, sales of the RDX are expected to hit the 30,000 mark, double that of last year, thanks to a softer and more refined vehicle that unlike the original isn’t targeted at young males, but rather at conventional luxury buyers. Acura is also counting on the well-priced and content-heavy RDX, which starts at $34,320 and includes standard features like a leather and keyless access with a push-button ignition, to win over buyers from segment benchmarks like the BMW X3 and Lexus RX.
With sales in 2011 reaching 123,299 units, a 55,000 unit boost should get Acura close to its 45% gain and projected year-end sales of 185,000. 2011 sales figures were down eight percent over the year before, due in part to limited production as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as flooding in Thailand. With the automaker’s production capacity now back to normal, Acura is counting on the improved supply to help fill in the gap.