Acura will start building cars in China by 2016, the first of which may be a small crossover based on the Concept SUV-X shown at the Shanghai Motor Show.
Although Honda has been building cars in China since 1988 with local partner Guangzhou Automobile Group, the Acura luxury brand will only start producing cars in China from 2016. The brand announced that it, like Honda, will build vehicles through the Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. partnership. Acura has imported cars to China since 2006; models currently sold there include the MDX and RDX crossovers, and the ILK and RLX sedans.
The first vehicle to launch at the Chinese production site will be a small crossover based on the Acura Concept SUV-X that was shown earlier this year in Shanghai. Acura says the Chinese-market car will be ready in about three years, or when production begins in Guangzhou. The concept looked like a scaled-down Acura RDX, with prominent LED headlights, a deep V-shaped front grille, sweeping character lines, flared rear fenders, rounded shapes on the liftgate, and turbine-style wheels. Notably, the SUV-X marked the first time Acura had ever introduced a concept car outside North America.
Honda officials have expressed enthusiasm about expanding the offerings of Acura products in China, where luxury cars continue to be a growing market. Lincoln plans to launch in China next year, and General Motors already sells both the Cadillac and Buick brands there.
“With the hope that our Chinese customers will more closely feel the values offered from Acura, we will begin preparing for the start of the local production,” Honda CEO Takanobu Ito said in a statement at the Shanghai show. “In China, where dynamic growth continues, both Acura and Honda will keep up our efforts to enhance products and technologies.”