Designer in charge
Parent Honda Motor Co. installed design director Jon Ikeda as general manager of the Acura brand in July, following the abrupt departure of Mike Accavitti. Ikeda, who has been with Honda since 1989, led the design team of the 2004 Acura TL sedan.
“Acura has found a more successful formula for its SUVs than its cars,” IHS Automotive Senior Analyst Stephanie Brinley wrote in a Detroit show preview.
“With Ikeda having come to lead the division through the design side of the house, we may see the brand continue to elevate its focus on design going forward.”
The Precision Concept sits low and wide, with a planted athletic stance the brand says conveys performance and prestige. The short front overhang, swelling rear wheel arches and deeply sculpted side paneling further propagate a sporty aura. Meanwhile, a blacked-out B-pillar creates an airy transition between the car’s interior and exterior.
Longer, wider, lower
The concept is longer, wider and lower than all three Acura sedans: the RLX, TLX and ILX.
Inside, Acura aims to inspire with a compact, racing-style steering wheel with paddle shifters, a floating center meter, a head-up display and a wide, curved center display.
The curved display screen tries out a new human-machine interface operated, the company says, by a “floating touch pad suspended on the cantilevered center stack.”
It envisions an ultra-personalized ride in which sensors scan each occupant upon entering the car and individually tailor such features as maps and audio accordingly.
The Acura Precision Concept was created at Acura’s California Design Studio under Marek’s direction. Exterior design was led by Michelle Christensen, while John Norman led the work on the interior. Both had a hand in designing the NSX sports car, which foreshadows some of the new concept’s jagged creases and angular sheet metal.
Need for rebalancing
Acura’s U.S. sales climbed 5.6 percent last year to 177,165 units. Car sales surged 19 percent, while truck sales ran contrary to the industry trend by slipping 1.2 percent.
Its two-nameplate truck lineup -- the MDX and RDX crossovers -- accounts for nearly two-thirds of total volume, while the remainder is spread over three sedans. The hot-selling TLX sedan accounts for nearly 70 percent of the car total.
Speaking to Automotive News in August, Ikeda said a top priority is rebalancing the portfolio. “We should make sedans that people get excited about,” he said. “That will be one of my first challenges.”
David Undercoffler contributed to this report.