NEW ORLEANS -- Acura says the new TLX sedan can become the brand's volume leader, a role once occupied by its predecessor, the TL sedan.
Recalling the days when annual TL sales consistently topped 60,000, John Mendel, American Honda's executive vice president of sales, said after Acura's make meeting here: "We can clearly see TLX adding that kind of volume to the Acura franchise."
Acura showed a prototype of the TLX mid-sized sedan at the Detroit auto show this month. It will replace both the TL and TSX sedans this summer. Acura sold 24,318 TLs last year, third in its lineup behind the MDX (53,040 units) and RDX (44,750) crossovers.
Mendel said the TLX launch will be "a real opportunity for Acura to grow" and predicted that the brand's sales would increase this year. He declined to give a volume target.
A dealer who attended the meeting said that factory officials cited a 175,000-unit target. That would match the 6 percent growth that Acura posted last year, when it sold 165,436 vehicles, trailing the market's overall 8 percent growth. Most forecasters predict industrywide sales growth of 3 to 5 percent this year.
"I think they're looking for sustained growth or maybe a little bit better," said Art Wright, chairman of the Acura Dealer Advisory Board and owner of Lehigh Valley Acura in Emmaus, Pa.
Many questions from dealers at the meeting centered on launch plans for the TLX, Wright said.
"I think it's going to be a sizable launch, probably one of the biggest launches Acura has ever had."
In April, dealers will be briefed on launch plans for both the TLX and the NSX sports car, Wright said.
He added that Acura also wants to increase certified-used sales this year by as much as 10 percent.