Last updated: January 14. 2014 6:06PM - 1613 Views
HEATHER RUTZ hrutz@limanews.com



AP photoMike Accavitti, senior vice president of automobile operations at American Honda, kneels next to the Acura TLX prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Tuesday. Much of the new vehicle will be built in Ohio.
AP photoMike Accavitti, senior vice president of automobile operations at American Honda, kneels next to the Acura TLX prototype at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Tuesday. Much of the new vehicle will be built in Ohio.
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DETROIT — In a flurry of other luxury debuts Tuesday, Acura sought to stand out with the unveiling of its 2015 TLX prototype.


The midsize sports sedan was designed in Acura’s Los Angeles design studio, and the production model is being developed by Acura engineers at the company’s Ohio research and development center. It will be produced at the Marysville auto plant, using domestic and globally sourced parts. The Marysville plant already produces the Acura TL, which will go out of production with the introduction of the TLX.


Full details of the powertrain production will be shared closer to the launch of the TLX later this year, the company said. The region includes several Honda plants, including the Anna Engine Plant and Honda Transmission Manufacturing of America Inc. in Russells Point.


The TLX gives the company’s sedan lineup “a shot of adrenaline,” with “luxury comfort, advanced technology and incredible performance,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Acura’s parent company.


“As you would expect from an Acura, this completely new model will offer innovative technologies that break down the barriers between the driver and the machine to deliver a more intuitive, connected and personal driving experience,” Accavitti said.


With the production TLX in the second half of next year, Acura will discontinue sales of the TSX model in 2014, as it clarifies its sedan lineup with a clear hierarchy of three distinct models: an entry-level luxury ILX, the midsized TLX and flagship RLX performance sedan.


Acura also unveiled its new 2015 TLX GT race car, which will be used in a few weeks by Acura Motorsports.


Acura announced plans to move up to the GT category of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship, facing competition that includes the Audi R8 LMS, Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Corvette, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes SLS, Porsche 911 and Ferrari 458. The TLX GT will be campaigned by Wisconsin-based RealTime Racing, the most successful team in Pirelli World Challenge history. Established in 1987 by owner/driver Peter Cunningham, RTR has raced and won with both Honda and Acura products.


On Monday, Honda unveiled its redesigned Fit in Detroit. The subcompact car will go on sale in the United States this spring.


Company officials promoted increased interior space, performance and fuel efficiency with leading safety and vehicle connectivity.


“The Honda Fit is a small car with big aspirations. Faster, more fuel-efficient and more fun, it’s a subcompact with larger-than-life-capabilities,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of automobile sales for American Honda Motor Co. Inc. “It’s simply the best Fit to date and, we believe, a new benchmark in the small-car category.”


All 2015 Fit models will be equipped with class-leading standard features including Bluetooth connectivity, a multi-angle rear view camera, and expanded view driver’s mirror.


The 2015 Fit marks the U.S. debut of an all-new direct-injected 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine. It is anticipated to have class-leading EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 33 miles per gallon city and 41 miles per gallon highway.


The 2015 Fit will be manufactured for the first time in North America at the new Celaya, Mexico, plant, Honda’s eighth and newest assembly plant. With the move, 98 percent of Hondas sold in North America are being built in North America, Mendel said.


In 2013, Honda had its second-best sales year ever, Mendel said, even as many Hondas remain on the road: 75 percent of Hondas sold in the last 25 years are still being driven today.


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