Jeff Conrad, Vice President and General Manager, Acura Division
March 27, 2013 - Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.
We're thrilled to be with you for the world debut of the 2014 Acura MDX, a first look at the production model we will be launching at Acura dealers nationwide in a few short months.
Acura continues to build on the momentum we established in 2012 with great new products, signature Acura technologies, and enhanced client services through our Acura Concierge program at dealers nationwide.
Last year, we focused on gateway Acura models with the introduction of a redesigned RDX, which has since enjoyed 10 consecutive months of record sales and the new ILX entry-luxury sedan that has attracted a new generation of customers to Acura showrooms. In fact, according to J.D. Power and Associates, ILX ranks 4th in terms of the percentage of sales coming from younger, Gen Y buyers. This has helped make Acura the only luxury brand on the top-ten list of Gen-Y shoppers.
This year, we're focusing our energy on the other end of the Acura lineup, flagship models that take luxury, prestige and excitement to the next level. Earlier this month, we launched the all-new RLX flagship sedan, the most powerful, luxurious and sophisticated sedan in the 26-year history of the Acura brand.
The RLX was designed around Acura's promise to deliver models that focus on the synergy between man and machine. That means design, dynamic performance and advanced connectivity all working together to deliver a driving experience that performs at the will of the driver.
Last month, our Destination RLX program gave Acura clients a first opportunity to put our new flagship sedan through its paces -- weeks in advance of its March 15 on-sale date. The program helped generate nearly eight thousand hand raisers for our dealers.
But the RLX with Precision All-Wheel Steer is just the starting point. Late this year, we'll be launching the RLX with Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. It will go head-to-head with V-8 sport sedans and will offer more than 370-horsepower while achieving an EPA fuel economy rating of at least 30 miles per gallon city, highway and combined. And with our torque vectoring, three-motor Sport Hybrid system, the RLX will deliver dynamic performance unlike any other luxury sedan on the road today.
Speaking of performance and luxury, in January at the Detroit show, we gave the world a first look at our direction for the new MDX. This included the news that MDX will be available for the first time in a two-wheel drive configuration, offering special appeal in warm-weather markets.
Today, we want to share the rest of the story on this all-new, third generation MDX. With Gen X and Gen Y beginning to reach the family stage, the family population in America is booming and rapidly becoming the biggest driver of luxury vehicle sales. The all-new MDX was created to take advantage of this trend and represents Acura's move upscale to a higher level of luxury, comfort and quietness while also delivering a big boost in fuel economy and segment-leading dynamic performance.
Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the 2014 Acura MDX.
REVEAL VIDEO AND LIVE REVEAL
More sport, more utility, and a big dose of added luxury, the 2014 MDX raises the stakes in the very competitive luxury SUV segment. With a sleek and aerodynamic exterior design, lower by an inch and a half, the new MDX is like an executive class family jet, advanced, intelligent, fast and efficient.
The foundation of this 2014 MDX is an all-new platform with a wheelbase that's nearly 3-inches longer, all-new multi-link rear suspension mounted for increased cabin isolation and Amplitude Reactive Dampers to enhance ride comfort and handling control. To that we added a lighter and more rigid chassis and body, utilizing more than 55 percent advanced lightweight materials, including high strength steel, aluminum and magnesium. Vehicle weight is reduced by 275 pounds, making MDX the lightest vehicle in its class.
And as the first vehicle developed in our new wind tunnel in Ohio, the MDX has 17 percent less aerodynamic drag, making it a highly efficient highway cruiser. How efficient? With its light and slippery body and new direct-injected 3.5 liter V-6 engine, with an expanded-range Variable Cylinder Management system, the new MDX takes a big jump in fuel economy. It's up 22 percent to an EPA-estimated 18mpg city and 27highway for the all-wheel drive model. And the new two-wheel-drive model ups the ante even further, with an expected rating of 20/28/23 city/highway/combined.
We also improved MDX's class-leading dynamic performance. Low- speed engine torque has been raised by roughly 8 percent, and with 275 pounds less mass, Zero to 60 is improved by about half a second. But my favorite performance stat is how well the new MDX does on the infamous Nurburgring, where again, it was both tuned and tested. The 2014 MDX lapped the ‘Ring 8-seconds faster than the already spirited 2013 MDX.
But not all drivers want that kind of white knuckle experience, so we designed the 2014 MDX with a new 3-mode Integrated Dynamics System, with Sport, Normal, and Comfort settings, allowing the driver to customize steering effort, throttle response, torque vectoring, and even the Active Sound Control to allow a little more engine growl into the cabin.
LED lighting highlights the exterior, front to rear, including Acura signature Jewel Eye headlights, as well as LED taillights, license plate and puddle lights. And we continue this theme on the interior. There is LED lighting for both overhead and accent lighting; even the Shift Selector features a new LED indicator.
The spacious MDX cabin is perfect for kids or clients. Made easier by the MDX's terrific new One-Touch walk-in feature with buttons that are illuminated for easy night use. The more compact rear suspension and longer wheelbase also provide third-row access that's more than three inches wider and two inches lower. And second row seats have a new extended slide feature that provides almost two-inches of added legroom.
A new larger center console stows all kinds of personal items – with a cavernous hidden storage box that can accommodate a purse and even a couple iPads. This kind of flexible interior storage space is unique in the segment.
Luxury SUV owners also have high expectations for their in-vehicle information and entertainment experience. Enhanced connectivity is made possible by our new AcuraLink system with thousands of entertainment channels available with Pandora, HD radio and Aha mobile, all delivered via the customer's smartphone. There is also a host of optional safety, security and convenience features all delivered via built-in cell technology.
Taking advantage of MDX's ultra-quiet cabin is a more powerful Acura/ELS studio sound system which enhances the entertainment experience. So does an available ultra-wide DVD entertainment system with HDMI and 150-watt power outlets for video games. Parents will call this, "the Silencer!"
And it's all controllable from the dash-mounted 7-inch On-Demand Touch Screen, cutting the number of hard buttons on the center console from 41 down to just nine.
Now, whether they're into dynamic performance or family fun, we know buyers of luxury SUVs place great value on safety and security. And the MDX will not be surpassed in this area, with a comprehensive suite of advanced safety and visibility technologies. What you see here is more than just "an alphabet soup of Technology." These are important features for a luxury family vehicle like the MDX.
And with the next-generation ACE 2 body structure we expect the new MDX to earn top-level ratings from NHTSA as well as a TOP SAFETY PICK PLUS rating from IIHS, including the highest possible "GOOD" rating in its new small overlap frontal collision test.
Like the previous two generations of MDX, this all-new model was designed, developed and engineered in America. And with us here today is the Chief Engineer who led the development, Jim Keller.
Next month, MDX will go into production for the first time at our light truck plant in Alabama.
The 2014 MDX will go on sale this summer. We'll announce pricing as the on-sale date approaches.
Rest assured, the MDX will offer the smart comfort, connectivity and performance that every luxury customer wants, at a price no other luxury brand can match.With luxury in abundance, this all-new 2014 MDX is the quickest, quietest and most confidence-inspiring MDX we've ever made.
This is more than just another luxury SUV. It's the 2014 Acura MDX.
Now I'd like to invite the photographers to snap a few photos … then please join me on stage for a closer look at the all-new MDX. Thank you.