USA TODAY - Honda will debut an all-new Fit subcompact and an Acura TLX concept next month at the North American International Auto Show.
First introduced in 2007, Honda sold 48,896 Fits this year through November, about equal to the year-earlier sales.
The new Fit will have more interior space and rear seats that fold up for added cargo space. A new engine and a continually variable transmission will improve fuel economy, but Honda has not released miles per gallon figures or prices.
Mike Accavitti, Honda's chief marketing officer, said the company will begin building the Fit next year at a new plant in Celaya, Mexico, where it also is building a plant to make 350,000 CVTs per year, beginning in 2015.
Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda, said last month in Los Angeles that the Celaya factory will ship cars throughout North America and export to other regions.
In addition to the Fit, the plant will produce a subcompact crossover about the same size as the Fit that Honda unveiled last month at the Tokyo auto show as the Vezel.
Acura will introduce a production version of the TLX concept after it halts production of the TSX next year. The TLX will offer two high-performance and direct-injection engines, each mated to an all-new transmission - potentially an 8-speed dual clutch transmission - and an all-wheel drive option.
Acura's car lineup will include the compact ILX, midsize TLX and flagship RLX performance sedan.
First introduced in the mid-1980s, Acura has lagged behind Toyota's Lexus brand. Through November, sales of the Acura brand increased 7% to 149,685 while Lexus' sales rose 12% to 239,030.
"Re-strengthening a luxury brand like Acura takes a sustained effort over a period of years," Accavitti said. "With each new model we are increasing the performance prestige and technological sophistication."
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