LOS ANGELES -- Acura's new NSX is the brand's long-awaited halo car. So now that the wait is over, where's the halo?
Honda's luxury division has been working to inject more performance identity into its lineup. And it has long hoped that having a 573-hp all-wheel-drive hybrid supercar might help put an exclamation point on the rest of the brand's performance chops and, in turn, sell more vehicles.
That hasn't happened yet. Sales for the year are down 9.3 percent through September, thanks largely to a tepid take rate for its sedans (down 17 percent).
Despite this poor showing, Acura is encouraged by its online data that show one in four visitors to the NSX's Web page goes on to view other Acura models, a number Acura says is well above average.
"That's definitely something we hope to translate into sales later down the line," Jon Ikeda, Acura's general manager, told Automotive News. "As soon as possible is our dream point."
Acura is already using the NSX to bolster the image of its other models. Several spots in a slick new TV ad campaign for the freshened 2017 MDX feature a cameo by the NSX.
But linking a mainstream model to its halo car could be trickier for Acura than most other brands.
The problem is the massive price gulf between the NSX and anything else in Acura's lineup. The NSX starts at just under $158,000 and can easily pass $200,000 when loaded with options. The next model down is the RLX, which starts at around $55,000.
"A halo car is most effective when it's at least somewhat relative to the rest of the lineup," Ed Kim, vice president for industry analysis at AutoPacific, told Automotive News. "A person in the market for a $200,000 supercar isn't the person who will be tempted into buying a $40,000 TLX."