LAS VEGAS -- After a year in which their sales were limited by a devastating earthquake in Japan, Acura dealers were told here that production of Acura vehicles is back to normal and the distribution pipeline should be full by March.
But Acura has ambitious goals for sales and customer satisfaction in the coming year that will require dealers' involvement.
Acura wants to sell 180,000 vehicles in 2012, up from 123,299 in 2011, and wants to return to the top spot in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. It placed third in 2011 at 89 problems per 100 vehicles, behind Lexus at 73 and sister brand Honda at 86.
Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Acura Division, said inventory shortages from the March earthquake forced dealers to "get creative" to get the vehicles customers want.
"It required them to do many more dealer trades than they usually do, but they got through it and cooperated with one another," Conrad said.
Acura will have fresh product to offer dealers in 2012, including the NSX that was featured in its Super Bowl commercial this year and the ILX compact sedan, on Honda's global Civic platform, scheduled to arrive in spring.
"They're still very focused on reaching 180,000 sales this year," said Mac Churchill, vice chairman of the Acura National Dealer Advisory Board and owner of Mac Churchill Acura in Fort Worth, Texas. "They showed us the advertising they'll use to achieve it, and dealers really liked the ads."