American Honda doesn't come readily to mind as an automaker with big plans for Detroit. The Honda and Acura brands don't garner a significant amount of market share in the region, and their U.S. headquarters is in Southern California.
However, the Japanese automaker had very big plans for Detroit's first summertime auto show. Its product cadence suggested two big debuts.
On the Honda side was the 11th-generation Civic, the most popular compact car in America last year. The Civic is, in fact, a car line: sedan, hatchback and coupe in a variety of trims, including the moderately sporty Si and the track-ready Type R. Honda controls a big chunk of the car market, and the next-generation Civic is meant to vigorously defend that territory. The Civic is also a critical entry point to the brand for younger buyers.
But perhaps an even more anticipated model was the Acura MDX, mostly because it has taken the brand so long to redesign the three-row crossover. It's also a big moneymaker for Acura and helps fund the coming generations of its sport sedans, the ILX and the TLX. Indeed, the TLX is overdue for its next-gen debut following the postponement of the New York auto show to August from March.
American Honda won't comment on future product plans. The automaker could show up at the New York show if the coronavirus is under control. Or in Los Angeles in the fall. It would be a shame if the vehicles are rolled out in virtual presentations, given their expected stylish new designs.