Mike Accavitti – Acura Division Senior Vice President and General Manager
Good morning everyone. It's great to be with you today.
Perhaps you noticed that we recently announced U.S. sales of the 2 millionth Acura vehicle made in this region. That milestone speaks not only to the success of the Acura brand over the past three decades but the fact that we have been developing and building Acura's in America for 20 years.
Today, we're going to introduce a redesigned version of one such vehicle is our popular Acura RDX entry premium SUV which has been built in Ohio since the launch of the first generation 2007 model. More on that in just a moment.
First, I want to speak to the tremendous momentum that continues to power the Acura brand.
We're coming off our third straight year of increased sales and our best performance since the recession. We finished the year flexing our muscles with the MDX and RDX declaring loud and clear they're status as the strongest 1-2 punch in the luxury SUV game.
In fact, with all-time record combined sales of more than 110,000 vehicles, MDX and RDX knocked out the competition in 2014, clocking in nearly double the combined sales of the Audi Q5 and 7 and more than 25 percent higher than the BMW X3 and 5.
And last month that success continued with both MDX and RDX setting January sales records, with RDX sales up a whopping 29 percent. Yesterday, U.S. News just validated our leadership with the announcement that both MDX and RDX were named Best Luxury 3-Row SUV and Best Luxury Compact SUV.
And while I'm at it, I'll add that the Acura TLX was named Best Upscale Midsize Car. To accelerate our momentum moving forward, you're going to see us focus even more intently on our core brand values and Acura DNA.
The ILX commercial you saw a moment ago speaks to these core values and our heritage as a challenger brand doing the unexpected to create new value for luxury buyers. That means Acura will place even greater emphasis on Prestige, Proportion and Performance, with products that focus on a premium luxury experience dynamic design and super-handling capability.
This was never more evident than with the new NSX... which is more than just a new Acura supercar it's a pinnacle expression of our commitment to deliver more strongly on these timeless Acura values in every new product. That includes the RDX that we're debuting here today.
The Acura NSX and the Chicago auto show have a shared history. It was 26 years ago at this very show that Acura launched the first generation NSX forever changing the world of supercars. The next-generation NSX supercar will be here on the show floor tomorrow and during public days. And it's sure to be a crowd favorite.
We're investing incredible energy in our performance cars and that began with the launch of the TLX last fall, when we took a major step forward in the remake of our sedan lineup. Since going on-sale in August, the TLX has quickly become a top selling model for the brand. We're really excited about what a full year of uninterrupted sales will bring in 2015.
And the all-new TLX is now being joined by a reborn ILX sedan which went on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide on Tuesday with more features, more leading-edge technology, and a major shot of Acura DNA.
We're excited about the great reviews we're starting to see based on our launch event last week. This 2016 ILX is more than just a normal mid-cycle refresh. Changes include everything from styling to interior refinement and cabin quietness to leading edge AcuraWatch safety technologies. Mostly though it's about thrilling sports sedan performance courtesy of its new 2.4-liter direct-injected engine and 8DCT transmission. ILX is now a true gateway to what it means to be an Acura sports sedan.
And just last week, the TLX and ILX were joined on the showroom floor by a significantly upgraded 2016 MDX that hits the road with a new 9-speed automatic transmission, and an enhanced Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
This is the same twin-clutch unit that we introduced on the TLX last fall. Further MDX gets an expanded suite of available AcuraWatch safety and driver-assistive features including Road Departure Mitigation and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor.
MDX was not only the sales leader among 3-row luxury SUVs last year, it's the best-selling 3-row luxury SUV of all time. We have strong expectations for the MDX again in 2015 as the volume and image leader in our SUV lineup.
So the announcement this week that we will add a second U.S. production location for MDX expanding from Alabama to the East Liberty Plant in Ohio that's already home to the RDX is great news. Which brings me to our story of the day, and the bigger change coming this spring with the launch of the 2016 RDX.
The second-gen RDX has been an incredible performer for Acura since its fall 2013 launch, coming out of the gate with 25 consecutive months of sales records and it resumed that pace with all-time sales records in each of the past two months.
But again, we're not resting on our laurels. The 2016 RDX gets a major infusion of Acura brand DNA, including styling, driving performance, and exciting new luxury feature content.
So without further ado, let's take a look ladies and gentlemen. The 2016 Acura RDX!
The first thing you'll notice about this new RDX is a more aggressive stance with a new wheel design, and sportier front end.
This is highlighted by signature Acura Jewel Eye LED headlights which are complemented by a more three-dimensional grille and rear LED taillights with light-pipe design.
Under the hood, there's a new more powerful and responsive 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine with VCM that offers more power and a fatter torque curve across the full rev range while helping RDX pick up 1 mpg in EPA highway fuel economy.
And under the skin, our engineers have further strengthened the RDX body to make RDX the only vehicle in its segment to earn top NCAP and IIHS safety ratings.
In fact, with the ILX and RDX upping their safety performance, we expect EVERY model in the Acura lineup will soon achieve an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating, which would make Acura the only luxury marque that can make this claim. So, when you think safety leadership and luxury think Acura.
The RDX safety story includes the expanded application of all of these AcuraWatch technologies. A number of these features benefit from the application of Acura sensor fusion technology, which expands the scope and fidelity of the RDX's safety sensing and response capabilities, including pedestrian sensing.
And that's not all. Every RDX adds a heat and air conditioning system for backseat comfort and a power tailgate for all models.
And we've upped prestige and refinement with a host of new features and a new top-of-the-line Advance grade.
Both Tech and Advance grades get a host of new entertainment, safety and comfort features. And the new Advance Package adds even more premium content.
All this new style, advanced technology and engineering goodness will ratchet up the RDX's emotional quotient.
We also believe it will make RDX even more competitive than it is now and strengthen its position as a class-leading entry-luxury SUV.
So with the launch of the highly anticipated next-gen NSX supercar later this year, TLX firing on all cylinders, a reborn ILX gateway sedan, and now major upgrades to the best 1-2 punch in the luxury SUV game, 2015 is shaping up to be one truly Xtraordinary year for Acura.
Thanks for your time and attention. Now please join me on stage for a closer look at the 2016 Acura RDX!