SAN FRANCISCO -- Acura dealers should prepare for an uptick in U.S. sales and service orders this year, executives told dealers at the NADA convention.
Dealers expect to benefit from redesigns of the ILX entry-level sedan and RDX compact crossover, as well as a restructuring of Acura's leasing program to compete with German luxury automakers.
"We've changed the structure of our incentives to make leasing more attractive," Acura General Manager Mike Accavitti told Automotive News. "People who lease come in more frequently."
Acura said leasing accounted for 34 percent of its deliveries last year, significantly less than at BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Acura said it's having dealers train salespeople to tell consumers about the benefits of leasing.
Executives also encouraged dealers to institute the Acura Accelerated Service program or another type of quick-service lane to meet increased demand in the service department as sales grow. Acura Accelerated Service dedicates certain lifts to services that can be performed in less than an hour.
Dealers have high hopes that the new ILX sedan, which reaches showrooms next month, will be a strong seller in Acura's five-model lineup. Crossovers -- namely the RDX and larger MDX -- continue to lead the brand, while Acura has struggled with deliveries of its cars, which fell 15 percent last year.
Overall, Acura's U.S. deliveries edged up 1 percent to 167,843 in 2014, in a market that advanced 6 percent.
"The ILX is going to really increase our sales, and it's what customers are asking for," said, John Connelly, president of Acura Columbus in Dublin, Ohio. "We need volume, and this is a volume car."
Acura also said it will begin taking orders for its much-anticipated NSX sports car this summer but hasn't yet decided which dealers will carry it.
Acura didn't say when it would finalize the dealer network carrying the NSX, but, Accavitti said, "We want to make it sooner rather than later."