John Mendel, Executive Vice President American Honda New York International Auto Show Remarks
Executive Vice President, Sales
American Honda Motor Company
New York Auto International Auto Show
March 31, 2010
2011 TSX Sport Wagon Introduction
Good afternoon everyone and thank you for coming.
These are certainly interesting times for our industry, wouldn't you agree?
The changes over the past year or so have been absolutely dramatic - and they're not over.
With respect to Acura and our competitors...
The current economic climate continues to drive a fundamental shift in the luxury segment of the automotive marketplace.
The new economic realities - along with a growing concern for the environment -- are definitely influencing today's buyers.
For the most part, excess and extravagance are out - responsibility and value are in.
Luxury is no longer about being the most expensive, the most popular, the most opulent - it's about smart choices.
And we're starting to see a whole new attitude as luxury car buyers are looking to make more intelligent, more relevant purchase decisions.
This new generation of buyers would rather be known for the resourcefulness of their choices, than the size of their bank account
It's a move toward what we at Acura call -- "Smart Luxury."
"Smart" in terms of vehicle size, fuel economy, utility, environmental impact and value for the dollar....
Combined with "Luxury," referring to the full complement of traditional comfort and convenience features.
Add in the very latest technology...
All wrapped in the emotional styling these buyers expect.
Frankly, we welcome this evolving direction - this change in attitude.
Why? Because from day one, the Acura Brand has always been about Smart Luxury.
You could say that Smart Luxury is the primary result of our ongoing efforts to Advance the automotive reality...
To transform elegant, innovative thinking into timely, relevant, real-world solutions.
Now, to advance in a challenging environment - and in a field of fierce competitors - you've got to be smart.
And I think we have been.
At Acura, we've studiously avoided excess - refusing to build behemoth vehicles that exceed all practical needs.
We've championed the development of the high-performance V-6 engine - negating the need for the heavier and more-thirsty V-8.
We've led in the advancement of technology that's not only enhanced the driving experience...
But also increased the overall efficiency and safety of our vehicles.
These innovative safety technologies have led to Acura becoming the first and only auto manufacturer to have all our 2010 models receive Five Star crash safety ratings for both front crash performance and side impact crash safety from NHTSA.
Now, in addition to being one of the leaders in safety, we've consistently developed products that are superbly engineered to deliver lasting value.
In fact, Acura was just named the "Most Valuable Nameplate" by ALG - meaning Acuras hold their value over time better than any other luxury brand.
Because of our intelligent approach, we are now in the sweet spot of the evolving market.
Our products not only reflect this smart new attitude of luxury buyers, they anticipated it.
We've consistently introduced smart new products at the right time - and today is no exception.
That's why we're here this afternoon -- to launch the all-new 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon.
Now, those of you traumatized by 1970's fake wood paneling...
Or who immediately picture Clark Griswold's land yacht in the Chevy Chase "Vacation" movies - you needn't worry.
The emphasis here is on "Sport."
In fact, this newest Acura offers all the virtues of our popular and dynamic TSX sport sedan - PLUS, a healthy dose of added utility.
Once immensely popular -- large traditional station wagons ruled the highways in the ‘50s and ‘60s -- but several things eventually led to their demise.
A lack of fuel efficiency
And the advent of truck-based family vehicles like minivans and SUVs -- which gave people more appealing options for their utility needs.
Well today, in a world of high fuel prices, growing environmental concerns, and increasingly active lifestyles...
Some individuals are looking for yet another appealing new option...
For fresh, new thinking with regards to automotive practicality and utility...
For a fundamental change in how we meet the transportation needs of active individuals and young families.
And that change starts right here, right now.
(VIDEO AND REVEAL)
Ladies and gentlemen, you're looking at the Acura TSX Sport Wagon - the smart solution to an entry luxury buyer's need for everyday utility and practicality.
It offers the added functionality of a wagon, with the style, performance, luxury and efficiency of a well-balanced sport sedan.
Let's take a few moments to explore its impressive attributes -- starting with functionality and utility.
The new Acura TSX Sport Wagon features a generous and highly functional rear cargo area.
There's a hidden compartment under the rear deck large enough to safely store a laptop or other valuable items.
Plus additional compartments on the cargo floor are ideal for storing small personal items
A large side panel can be removed to provide yet another handy storage area...or to accommodate wide items such as golf bags.
Finally, a tonneau cover slides into place to keep cargo safely out of sight.
Now, along with all that utility, the TSX Sport Wagon ALSO offers all the fun and virtues of a TSX Sport Sedan.
The car is nimble and responsive thanks to features like a fully independent suspension, 17-inch wheels and a low center of gravity.
The TSX Sport Wagon is powered by an advanced, 2.4-liter, i-VTEC all-aluminum, four-cylinder engine that delivers the brisk performance of some small V-6 engines.
It's backed by a smooth-shifting, Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Inside, you'll find Acura's traditional high level of luxury with a leather interior, moonroof, power seats, power windows and door locks, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, USB-iPOD connectivity and more - all standard.
Additionally, the TSX Sport Wagon will be available with the latest generation of Acura's hard disk drive based navigation system.
It offers a new full VGA high-definition display, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic and Weather alerts and of course, the stellar ELS Surround Sound audio system.
In addition to being practical, fun to drive, luxurious and technically advanced, the TSX will also deliver outstanding fuel efficiency.
The final numbers aren't in but we're expecting 30 miles-per-gallon highway - one of the best in its class.
And finally, as you can see, everything's wrapped in a bold, sleek, contemporary design.
With its' blend of sporty style and great driving dynamics combined with excellent utility, the TSX Sport Wagon is a perfect complement to the Acura line-up.
Sport wagons have always been popular in Europe where performance and practicality are not mutually exclusive...
And we see growing potential for this type of smart alternative here in the U.S.
Many of our competitors already sell a sport wagon here in the States and while individual models have sold smaller volumes, the luxury wagon market is projected to grow more than 40% between 2010 and 2014.
The TSX Sport Wagon will primarily compete against vehicles like the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3-Series Wagon, and Volvo V50.
However, we expect secondary competition from a variety of sources including premium CUVs, and other wagons
As more buyers come to market looking for a new and different type of family vehicle -- looking for "smart luxury" -- the TSX Sport Wagon will represent an ideal choice.
We expect the TSX Sport Wagon will appeal to the same young, upwardly mobile, entry level luxury buyer who purchases our TSX sedan -
But who now needs more utility thanks to a growing family -- or an active lifestyle that requires transportation of all kinds of equipment.
All with no compromises -- no sacrifice in style, performance or luxury.
The new TSX Sport Wagon will fill that role.
By the way, the TSX sedan has the highest percentage of buyers under age 30 - and we expect the new TSX Sport Wagon to be equally successful in tapping that important segment of the market.
So once again, Acura has come up with the smart solution to changing customer needs and expectations.
A vehicle that embodies a "smart luxury" approach that's definitely in tune with today's evolving marketplace.
We believe the combination of added utility -- with Sport Sedan driving fun and luxury -- will appeal to a growing number of young buyers.
And that this is the vehicle that will entice many of them to the Acura Brand.
Thank you for attending.
And now, if you'd like a closer look of the all-new 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, please join me here on stage.