TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co., which is already outpacing industry growth in China, aims to spur sales by tapping the shift to crossovers with two new entries at this month’s Beijing auto show.
The Honda brand will introduce the production version of a new crossover developed for the China market. The vehicle is based on the ruggedly sculpted Concept D shown as last year’s Shanghai show.
At the time, Honda said the production version will be a top-end crossover positioned as the brand’s “new flagship model” in China. It will feature high-quality driving dynamics and a spacious cabin.
The vehicle is expected to be sold through the carmaker’s two local channels, Guangqi Honda and Dongfeng Honda. At the Beijing show, press days for which begin April 25, the vehicle will be displayed on the Guangqi Honda stand, Honda said.
Meanwhile, Honda’s premium Acura brand will amplify the crossover theme with its own new compact crossover.
Acura did not disclose its name or details. But the vehicle is expected to be developed for China, possibly sharing some underpinnings of the Honda HR-V compact crossover.
The company says it will be the first Acura vehicle manufactured in China, the world’s largest auto market.
Gaining traction in China is key to generating the volume needed to support development of Acura’s pricey, technology-heavy lineup. The brand is sold mainly in the U.S. and spreads limited resources across a six-vehicle lineup, including the r&d-intensive NSX sports car that went on sale in February.
The Acura entry is expected to showcase the brand’s new “precision crafted performance” design language. The styling debuted in the Precision Concept at January’s Detroit auto show.
At the 2013 Shanghai show, Acura unveiled the Acura Concept SUV-X which possibly foreshadows the upcoming crossover. That marked the first time Acura premiered a concept model outside of North America. The company said then that a production version of the SUV-X would go on sale in China in about three years.
Honda Motor Co. is among the Japanese auto companies booking solid sales gains in China, despite cooling demand there.
Honda brand passenger vehicle sales climbed 40 percent to 139,015 units in the first two months of the year, thanks partly to its solid crossover lineup, according to LMC Automotive. The overall passenger vehicle market rose only 7 percent.