Honda to introduce redesigned Fit, Acura TLX in Detroit

A glimpse of the redesigned Honda Fit.

Photo credit: HONDA
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DETROIT -- American Honda is counting on two new-generation cars debuting next month at the Detroit auto show to boost U.S. sales in 2014.

Honda will unveil the third-generation 2015 Fit subcompact at the show, the company said today.

Acura will show a prototype of the 2015 TLX performance luxury sedan, which will replace the TL in the luxury brand’s lineup in the second half of 2014.

“We’ll go hard on the throttle next year,” Mike Accavitti, senior vice president for automotive operations at Honda, told journalists.

American Honda’s U.S. sales are up 8 percent so far this year, matching the industry average. Honda brand volume has climbed 8 percent, while Acura deliveries have jumped 7 percent.

Accavitti said the automaker has recovered fully from two natural disasters in 2010 that disrupted global production: an earthquake and tsunami in Japan and massive flooding in Thailand.

“We were forced to make a pit stop,” Accavitti said, drawing on Honda’s Formula One sponsorship. “We spent two years getting back on the lead lap.”

New models and several new Earth Dream engines and transmissions that provide better performance and fuel economy mean American Honda can go on the offensive in 2014, Accavitti said.

The new Fit is more spacious than the old model and will feature improved, more fuel efficient powertrains.

It will be built in North America at Honda’s newest plant in Celaya, Mexico, instead of being imported from Japan.

The Mexico plant’s 200,000-unit capacity is dedicated to assembling the Fit and a Fit-based crossover that will be launched in the United States in the second half of 2014.

The crossover is called the Vezel in Japan; the name of the U.S. version hasn’t been announced.

Acura’s TLX will replace the outgoing TL, and the brand expects the TLX to anchor the middle of the brand’s car lineup, between the entry-level ILX and the flagship RLX.

Acura will discontinue the sporty TSX in 2014 after the TLX is introduced to simplify the brand’s car offerings, Accavitti said.

The TLX prototype was designed in Acura’s Los Angeles Design Studio. Acura engineers developed the production model at the Ohio r&d center. It will be assembled at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, plant.

The TLX will offer two all-new direct-injection gasoline Earth Dreams engines and an all-new transmission and will be available in either front-drive or all-wheel-drive configuration.

You can reach Jesse Snyder at jsnyder@crain.com.

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