Thank you for joining us this afternoon.
We have some new product news we're eager to share with you. However, to set the stage properly, I want to briefly discuss the state of Acura business today. As you may be aware, Acura set a new all-time sales record in 2004, selling almost 199,000 vehicles in 2004, a 16% gain over 2003. This success was due in part to the introduction of the new RL with Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive and the strength of other Acura models. For anyone who might have missed it, the Acura TL is now the best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S. These record-setting sales are the direct result of our focus on four brand-defining values for Acura: styling, performance, technology and craftsmanship.
These four principles have guided us well in the complete transformation of our sedan line. Our sedan overhaul began with the all-new TSX in the spring of 2003, followed by the TL later that fall, and lastly, the all-new RL this past fall. Each of these models demonstrates our commitment to distinctive design ... and groundbreaking technology. With the successful renewal of our sedan line-up, we're now focused on the next generation of Acura sport-utility vehicles.
Our MDX has been a growing success for Acura since its launch in 2001. With continuous product enhancements, we've increased sales each year since launch. Today, however, we would like to talk to you about an all-new Acura SUV, positioned below the MDX. In 2002, we unveiled an early design study for this SUV. Today, I'd like to show you a more advanced concept - one that comes closer to the production vehicle that will arrive in the '06 calendar year.
This vehicle was created with a specific customer in mind. A customer who works in a creative field, and who enjoys an active lifestyle. This new Acura SUV is created to put a wide range of possibilities right at his fingertips. Let's take a look.
TOM TURNS TO THE SCREEN. ONCE VIDEO BEGINS, TOM EXITS.
"Ladies and Gentlemen ... the RD-X Concept from Acura."
The RD-X Concept was created to provide full-access to everything that's important to the driver. Let's begin by talking about the confident connection it provides to the road, and the excitement of driving. The RD-X is built on an all-new light-truck platform. It's seven inches shorter than the MDX, which gives it greater agility. Importantly, the RD-X features our Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, which provides added protection in collisions. We're not yet prepared to discuss the powerplant in the RD-X. But I can tell you the engine will produce more than 200 hp ... and that it will be coupled to Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive System, which ensures responsive handling ... and helps the driver maintain precise control in all weather conditions. 19" wheels and tires provide both grip and strong stopping power as do the large Brembo brakes.
Inside the RD-X, our designers created a dynamic and sophisticated environment. The floors are trimmed in polished rosewood to provide a rich, warm feel.
Another architectural touch is the indirect lighting throughout the cabin. This space is seamlessly integrated with a driver-oriented cockpit ... featuring a distinctive six-spoke steering wheel and ...paddle shift system ...a three-pod instrument cluster...and front bucket seats that are closely spaced, rally-car style, for better communication between driver and passenger. Between the front seats, there's storage for a custom-fitted briefcase.
From the driver's seat you have a commanding view of your surroundings. Another innovation is our wiper-less and heated windshield. During rain, jets of air keep the windshield clear. Cameras take the place of side-view mirrors ... and give a more complete picture of the lanes beside you.
The RD-X features an advanced version of our AcuraLink Navigation System - with a simple, multi-function controller that moves from in-car comfort controls, to an array of information and entertainment options. You can find movies and starting times ... Restaurant reviews and locations and concert information. And once you decide, you can quickly find the fastest way to your destination. The RD-X features AcuraLink, our Satellite-linked communication system that displays Real-Time Traffic conditions as part of the Navigation function.
Of course, for the youthful driver, music is vital. So in addition to XM Satellite Radio, the RD-X includes an integrated hard-drive, where he or she can upload, sort and access an entire personal library of music. Rather than being hidden away, the nine audio speakers are an integrated part of its design. Finally, the interior offers ample, flexible cargo space for all recreation, home and work projects.
The RD-X demonstrates our commitment to the qualities that set Acura apart:
The production version of the RD-X will be manufactured at our plant in Marysville, Ohio and will arrive in dealerships in 2006. We feel it will be a powerful and distinctly new competitor to both European and Asian luxury SUVs, and will provide Acura with an even stronger line-up of automobiles and light trucks.
Now, I'd like to invite you to take a closer look at the RD-X Concept. I, and members of the RD-X design team will be around to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for joining us!