Acura unveils trio of vehicles, including 2013 RDX

DETROIT (AP) ? Acura has unveiled a trio of vehicles, including a redesigned version of its RDX crossover SUV that’s set to go on sale this spring, as it tries to rebound from a difficult 2011.

Honda Motor Co.’s luxury division put the 2013 RDX, the ILX compact sedan and the NSX Concept supercar on display Monday at the Detroit auto show, all three part of its effort to regroup after the earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand disrupted production.

The five-passenger RDX will be built at Honda’s plant in East Liberty, Ohio, and pricing will be announced later. The old version has been built in Marysville, Ohio.

Within three years, a vehicle based on the NSX Concept will be in global production, Honda President Takanobu Ito said. It will be developed by Honda R&D Americas and built in Ohio, he said, as Acura works to make the U.S. a hub for Acura worldwide.

“NSX will make the driver one with the car,” he said.

The ILX on display in Detroit also is a concept version, but one for a vehicle that’s scheduled to make its debut this spring. It’s aimed at being an entry-level car for the Acura brand, with pricing expected to start below $30,000. The ILX will be built at Honda’s plant in Greensburg, Ind.

Acura’s U.S. sales dropped about 8 percent in 2011 to about 123,300. In an interview Monday, American Honda President Tetsuo Iwamura said Acura hopes that the introduction of the RDX and ILX this year will help boost sales more than 45 percent to 180,000.

“We are much more ambitious for the future,” he added.

Last year, Honda brand sales in the U.S. fell 7 percent to about 1.02 million. This year, the automaker aims to sell about 1.25 million vehicles in the U.S. Honda’s North American plants got back to normal production in November, but the company still is working to restore full production in Asia.

“Our production is not going to fully recover until March,” Ito said in an interview.

Here’s what’s new with the RDX:

POWER and SPEED: The RDX comes standard with a 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder engine that produces 273 horsepower. That’s 33 more than the model it’s replacing. A version with all-wheel drive is offered. And a gasoline-electric hybrid version ? Acura’s first ? will be sold.

MILEAGE: The front-wheel-drive model of the RDX is expected to get 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

LOOKS: The RDX exterior incorporates a sleek, more aerodynamically efficient body, changing from the appearance of a compact SUV.

CHEERS: The new RDX makes a lot of improvements and the plan from Acura is that it will be priced around where the old model was priced: Starting under $33,000.

JEERS: The new RDX looks a lot like other luxury crossover SUVs and is competing in a segment where a number of automakers are going after sales.