Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s Acura luxury division plans to add another sedan to its lineup for the ‘04 model year, Ward's has learned.
Based on the smaller European Accord, it will be marketed under the TL, Acura's lower-luxury sedan. A 4-cyl. engine, tuned similar to that in the RSX sport coupe, will power the new luxury performance sedan.
Built in Japan, the sedan will fill a void in Acura's model range. The Integra had come in both 2- and 4-door variants, but the RSX, which replaced it this year, comes only as a coupe.
Acura has weathered economic conditions on strong RSX and MDX SUV sales. But its sedans — the TL, RL, and CL — have not met internal expectations.
At 32,072 units for the year's first half, TL sales are down 11.1% year-on-year, while RL sales of 4,538 have fallen 13.7% from like-2001 and CL sales of 6,808 units mark a 32.4% decline.
There are no plans to take anything from the lineup. The TL is refreshed for ‘03 and CL gains an optional 6-speed manual. “Reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated,” says an Acura spokesman.
Acura says it will focus on styling and performance to further differentiate the luxury vehicles from the Honda brand.