NAIAS – Acura, Lexus, Honda Will be Out in Force in Detroit

Acura announced today that it will show three all-new vehicles at the 2012 North American International Auto Show – NAIAS – including a compact sports sedan, a redesigned RDX crossover sport utility vehicle, and a concept version of the next generation Acura NSX super car.

Acura ILX Concept is said to be a study of an all-new luxury compact sedan scheduled for launch in spring 2012, as the least expensive car from the original Japanese luxury brand, with an optional hybrid powertrain. The sedan is going into mass production in Indiana in the spring of 2012 as the strong Japanese Yen continues to force production out of Japan. Acura also will show a prototype of the 2013 RDX, the second gen of Acura’s five-passenger SUV. Acura will debut the NSX Concept, said to resemble the next version of Acura’s sports car. The NSX project has been on again and off again for years. It’s now on again, prompted in part by the success of the $400,000 Lexus LFA and Nissan GT-R? What’s next a return of Honda Formula One racing?

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Lexus will be displaced from its long-standing Number One Selling U.S. Luxury Brand this year by German automakers because of production disruptions. The rematch is next year.

Lexus, the reigning Japanese luxury brand in the U.S, will also unveil a new concept vehicle – I’m betting a two-door performance coupe or hatch – on 9 January 2012. Designed by Calty, the company’s design studio in California, the concept is said to tease a new Lexus design direction.

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    The Prius c - an inside look...

    Toyota will also debut its new entry hybrid, the Prius c.  The five-door, sub-compact member of the growing Prius hybrid lineup is predicted to offer class-leading fuel economy of better than 50 mpg in the city, which – if true – will be the highest city mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle.

While not priced yet, expect the Prius c to sell for around $17,000, which is likely how Toyota will define entry level or an affordable. In spite of fuel economy benefits, hybrids remain a tiny portion of the U.S. auto market – a little over 2% of sales YTD – because mainstream buyers refuse to pay a premium amounting to several thousand dollars over a comparable gasoline-fueled car.  (See 50 MPG Predicted for Toyota Prius c Hybrid)

Honda has also confirmed that the 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept will be at Detroit. The ninth-generation 2013 Honda Accord is due to go on sale in the fall of 2012, barring any other production disruptions at Japanese makers form floods, earthquakes or tsunamis. Thus far the new 2012 Toyota Camry, with its lower price and higher equipment level is outselling not only the Accord, but every other family sedan in the U.S. – Altima, Sonata, Fusion etc, by a wide margin.

About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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