Honda China announced that it signed an agreement with GAC (Guangzhou Auto) on Wednesday to jointly manufacture Acura-brand cars in China. Aiming to roll out the first local-built Acura in 2016, the two sides are working on details of the production plan.
Earlier this year, Acura launched at the 2013 Shanghai motor show the "Concept SUV-X," which targets specifically the Chinese market. The production version of the concept SUV will be the inaugural model in the upcoming Acura line from GAC-Toyota.
Below: Acura Concept SUV-X
Acura landed in China ten years after its founding in the US in 1986. Due to ineffective branding and bad management, its sales have remained a small fraction of those of other major luxury makes. Last year, local deliveries fell to 2,300 units, compared with 326,444 from BMW and 64,000 from Lexus.
GAC-Honda, established in 1998, currently produces Honda- and Everus-brand cars. It sold 316,000 units in 2012.
Dongfeng, another Honda partner, reportedly competed again GAC over the Acura project. A main advantage GAC has is that anti-Japanese sentiment, which often leads to boycott of Japanese cars, is much weaker in Guangzhou and neighboring regions–in comparison with Wuhan, where Dongfeng is based.