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Acura not coming

NS-next: The Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept points to the next NSX.

Doubt over next NSX and new MDX as Acura not likely in Oz until at least 2012

16 Feb 2007

HONDA’S premium Acura brand will not come to Australia in the short-term, according to Honda Australia chief executive Toshio Iwamoto.

Mr Iwamoto outlined the minimum volume and dealer network numbers needed to make launching the brand viable in Australia.

On current projections, the Japanese manufacturer must sell more than 100,000 vehicles minimum in Australia before it can tackle launching Acura here.

This makes 2012 the earliest time that we will see the Honda luxury marque here, providing that Honda meets its target of 80,000 units by 2010.

Honda recently announced that it was separating all Honda and Acura vehicles, essentially barring the "badge engineering" of a Honda as an Acura, and vice-versa.

 center imageLeft: Acura MDX concept.

This could potentially thwart the Australian prospects of forthcoming models such as the long-awaited NSX supercar, which has been developed as a flag-bearer for Acura.

In January, Honda displayed its Advanced Sports Car Concept, a front-engined V10 4WD supercar that strongly points the way to a similar production model due inside the next 18 months. The original NSX was a mid-engined, aluminium-bodied, rear-wheel drive two-seater coupe built between 1989 and 2005.

However, Honda is understood to be developing a ‘Corvette’-style lone-model strategy that will allow the new-generation NSX to be sold in non-Acura markets as a stand-alone model, without Honda badges.

Barring Honda-badged Acura models also means that the next-generation MDX, to be rolled out in North America this year, will not come to Australia. Built in Canada in left-hand drive only guise, the MDX Mk2 will be larger and much more refined than the model that Honda sold in Australia between 2003 and 2006.

Hybrid Insight
HONDA will show off a "small hybrid sports concept" – dubbed the Concept-H – at the Geneva motor show next month that highlights its latest work in hybrid technology and points to the forthcoming replacement vehicle for the Insight hybrid car.

The latter will be a more practical and mainstream vehicle than the first generation, which was unrelenting in its commitment to saving fuel.

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