Acura to give each dealer 2 RLX sedans ahead of launch
Acura's 2014 RLX flagship is scheduled to arrive beginning in March.
ORLANDO -- Acura plans to give each of its 265 dealers two 2014 RLX flagship sedans on Friday, a month before the car goes on sale March 15.
Having the new RLXs on hand will help salespeople learn more about product specifics, let shoppers see the car before it goes on sale and enable dealers to offer test drives to customers, Honda Motor Co.'s luxury brand executives told dealers at Acura's make meeting today during the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.
"We want to make sure our people know the product inside and out," Acura General Manager Jeff Conrad told Automotive News after the meeting.
About 5,400 consumers have shown interest in the car, Conrad said. The RLX price will start at $49,345 including shipping.
"We're getting everyone schooled up," said Mac Churchill, president of Mac Churchill Acura in Fort Worth, Texas. "This gets everyone familiar with the car before it gets here."
Churchill said the early RLX deliveries are partly a dealer-led initiative on how to launch the car. He said dealers must now make the launch successful by getting loyal customers behind the wheel for test drives.
Another dealer-led initiative discussed at the meeting was Acura's decision to offer the redesigned MDX crossover with optional two-wheel drive. The vehicle, which goes on sale this summer, had been offered only with four-wheel drive, so this change will help boost sales, Churchill said.
"That's real important, especially in the South and the smile states" of the East and West coasts and Sun Belt, Churchill said. "We don't have a need for a four-wheel-drive vehicle in our area and it was priced for four-wheel drive."
Conrad said after today's meeting that the brand wants a 19 percent increase in year-over-year U.S. retail sales in 2013. He's counting on sales of the RDX crossover and ILX entry-level compact luxury sedan to help spur sales.
Last year, Acura sold 156,216 vehicles in the United States, a 27 percent gain in a market that gained 13 percent overall.
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