Toshiaki Mikoshiba, President & CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Good morning, and thank you for joining us today for the global debut of the third-generation Acura RDX Prototype.
This new RDX is the most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade and a powerful indication of things to come. It is the first in a new generation of Acura SUVs and Sedans based on our original brand promise, Precision Crafted Performance.
We reflected on our path, and step by step began working to rekindle that same sense of purpose, setting Precision Crafted Performance as the torch for all to follow.
We have an incredible blueprint for Acura in the success of the Honda automobile brand. Over the past four years, we introduced a strong cadence of best in class products leading to a record number of new customers.
And this morning, for the third straight year, the Honda brand was honored when the new Accord received the Car of the Year award. I would like to thank all of the North American Car of the Year jurors for honoring Honda with this award.
Now, our goal is to realize this kind of success with the Acura brand.
We have made a major commitment to Acura, to bring each element of Precision Crafted Performance to life through a new generation of products. This effort began with the introduction of our definitive brand halo, the NSX.
It continued with our commitment to grow Acura Motorsports through the NSX GT3, and now the Daytona Prototype race car that we will debut with Team Penske in two weeks.
We set our design direction with the creation of first, the Acura Precision Concept, followed by the Acura Precision Cockpit, establishing an upscale and distinctive design direction for all future Acura products. This was followed by the refresh of three key models featuring the diamond pentagon grille, which has been very well-received.
Now, our next generation of products will take an even bolder step forward. With this new generation, we will fully implement the new Acura design direction inside and out. And we will pursue a unique powertrain strategy that underscores our rightful place as the performance division of Honda.
Today, I'm pleased to announce that we will introduce an all-new dedicated V6 turbo engine in the coming years exclusively for future Acura products.
And building on the success of our TLX A-Spec, moving forward, all future core models will offer an A-Spec variant. This will include a new 2.4-liter A-Spec TLX model launching this spring, joining the well-received V-6 TLX A-Spec.
Our customers and brand advocates have also been calling on us to bring back the Type-S, the name used for high performance Acura models for much of our history.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we will re-launch Type-S in the next few years. This will serve as another key element of Acura's commitment to performance.
Another critical new value of our product direction is the transformation of Acura interior design. Starting with this all-new RDX, we will revolutionize Acura interiors around breakthrough ergonomic design, technology and sophistication of the Acura Precision Cockpit.
Acura's new user interface will be a huge leap forward for our customers. But this is just one aspect of an incredibly rich and premium new cabin experience.
Our engineers conducted thousands of hours of research to create a driver-centric approach that is the first of its kind and distinctly Acura.
This will be the third generation RDX but the first RDX designed and developed in the U.S. And it will continue to be built in the U.S. for the North American market.
In fact, all but one Acura model in our lineup is now produced in Ohio.
Moreover, as the Acura brand has expanded to China, we will also produce RDX there for the first time to meet growing demand in the Chinese market.
In the U.S., RDX has achieved three straight years of more than 50,000 units in sales, something only RDX can claim in this segment. So, we're starting from a position of strength.
Now, we are recreating RDX from the ground up as a pure expression of Precision Crafted Performance. What you're about to see is not just the right product for where we are taking the Acura brand, it's the right product at just the right time for today's market.
Presenting the first in a new generation of Acura products, it is my pleasure to introduce the all-new 2019 Acura RDX Prototype.
Jon Ikeda, Vice President & General Manager of the Acura Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Well here it is, the new RDX Prototype, a generational new product from top to bottom, inside and out.
30 years ago, it was Acura's Precision Crafted Performance DNA that attracted me to this company. Intelligent design, innovative technology, a human-centered relationship between car and driver, with a focus on performance and a racing spirit.
Now, from top-to-bottom, we've refocused the brand around these values. And we're taking a huge leap forward with this all-new 2019 RDX.
Let's dive in, starting with the exterior styling.
Our team at the Acura Design Studio in California started with the fundamentals of performance, bolder and more distinctive design with a low and wide stance, wheels out wide at the corners, and short overhangs to maximize the performance proportions.
When you look inside this RDX, you'll immediately get a sense of its upscale nature and design inspiration from the NSX.
This spacious cabin includes an all-new sport seat and steering wheel, as well as a high-deck floating center console and prominent drive mode selector in the center stack.
There's also a new ultra-wide panoramic moonroof that creates an incredibly open and airy feel. And it will be standard on every new RDX.
Like every new Acura from here on out, performance is a top priority.
So, underneath the skin is an all-new Acura-exclusive platform, a ground-up design that has been dramatically stiffened and insulated for sharper, more nimble handling, and superb ride quality and comfort.
The chassis features a new, multi-link rear suspension with Adaptive Dampers that are tied into the RDX's Integrated Dynamics System and new on the RDX and similar in design to the NSX with four distinct drive modes.
Additionally, the steering system utilizes a variable gear ratio rack for better performance, greater confidence at high speeds, and precision at low speeds.
Under the hood RDX gets a powerful new engine, a 2-liter VTEC Turbo, offering the most power in its class with 40 percent more low-end torque than the outgoing model.
It's mated to a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission that responds quickly to the will of the driver with crisp and refined shifts that capitalize on the turbo engine's flat torque curve.
For all-wheel-drive models, 2019 marks the return of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive to RDX in next-gen form with a 40 percent increase in maximum torque capacity over the current SH-AWD system. This is quite simply the most advanced and capable torque-vectoring all-wheel drive technology in the game.
Combine it with our new powertrain, the stiffer body and chassis, and the improved steering and you have hands down the quickest best-handling RDX ever! But we didn't stop there.
We've loaded this new RDX with next-level content that elevates it to a new position among top premium brands. There are five key areas that I want to call to your attention.
First, materials. Going forward, if it looks like metal, it's metal. If it looks like wood, it's wood. For RDX, we're applying brushed aluminum and open-pore wood in a way that is understated, yet contemporary.
Next is the most sophisticated and premium seat in any Acura keyed to our pursuit of performance in every aspect of design. The foundation is a seat frame made from high-strength-steel wrapped in full-grain Nappa leather with 16-way power adjustability and lumbar support for both the driver and front passenger. It's an incredible design, providing outstanding comfort conceived around the human body.
Next is the hi-fidelity audio experience we call Acura ELS Studio 3D. This new system literally provides a new dimension of sound not just from left to right or front to back but top to bottom. It's a true three-dimensional listening experience with four speakers mounted in the roof directly above the occupants!
We're also taking a huge leap forward with an all-new Acura user interface, which we debuted in concept form last year after studying conventional approaches. A traditional touchscreen approach is intuitive, what you see is what you press. But the placement of the screen is out of the driver's natural line-of-sight and usability while driving is compromised. A display screen positioned high and forward with a remote interface solves this problem but the interaction is usually clumsy.
The RDX's unique touchpad is precisely mapped one-to-one with the action on the 10.2 inch center display. It's the world's first application of absolute positioning in the driving environment.
A tap on the bottom left of the touchpad corresponds directly with the action on the bottom left of the display. The operating system, also new from the ground up, features beautiful graphics and simple, clean menus designed to work hand-in-hand with the touchpad. So, simply we've combined the usability of a touchscreen with the clean design of a remote.
Our research has proven drivers become acclimated with the operation in just a matter of minutes. And on top of the new True Touchpad Interface, we've given the RDX a new natural language speech recognition system.
Feeling like Pad Thai? Just say "Nearest Thai Food" and it will take you to the closest restaurant.
And for our tech savvy customers, RDX also has an interactive, 10.5 inch, color head up display and 4G LTE WiFi.
The final key point, our AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies is standard on every new RDX. It's an incredible value that competitors bundle in their most expensive packages.
I want to give a quick shout out to the U.S. design and engineering team, led by chief engineer Steve Hansen that has elevated RDX to a whole new level. They're sitting up front and available for your questions in just a moment.
Thank you, team, for your incredible hard work and passion.
And one final piece of news for you today, when this new RDX comes to market mid-year, it will launch with an A-Spec model. Stay tuned for more details in the months ahead.
With this all new 2019 Acura RDX, we will fulfill the promise we began more than three decades ago.
It's not just a great new entry in the hottest segment of the market. The Acura RDX is a powerful statement about who we are and where we're headed as a brand. The very definition of Precision Crafted Performance.
Thanks, everyone, for your time and attention and following a couple of quick photos, I'd like to invite you on-stage for a closer look.
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