August 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

Acura pulling out all the stops to promote new sedan

American Honda Motor Co. Inc’s Acura brand is rolling out its most expensive marketing campaign ever to help sell its new 2015 Acura TLX sedan and build awareness for the luxury brand.

The new midsize TLX sports sedan, arriving in dealers now, is replacing the outgoing TL and TSX cars. Acura hopes to help clarify its sedan lineup that also includes a smaller entry-level ILX and larger RLX.

Mike Accavitti, Acura senior vice president and general manager, told reporters Friday that the launch is “critically important for Acura” and it starts “the renaissance of our sedan lineup.”

“This is the biggest launch in Acura’s brand history,” he said.

Acura brand sales are down 1.8 percent this year through July; the carmaker’s sales were hurt in July by low supply of the TL and TSX. Acura delayed the launch of the TLX by a few months to ensure all the new technology was right, Accavitti said.

“We decided as a team to hold back on that launch because we wanted to make sure that car was perfect when it launched,” he said.

Acura would not say how much it is spending on the campaign. But Accavitti said it is “significantly” more than the MDX campaign, which a year ago Acura said was likely its biggest campaign ever.

“This launch is critical, so we’re not going to spare expense,” said Ed Beadle, national manager of media strategy for Honda and Acura.

Beadle said Acura has momentum on the SUV side, but has ground to make up on the sedan side in the highly competitive luxury segment. Accavitti said Acura has a 40,000 strong sales lead for the car, about double what it had for the new MDX.

The marketing campaign uses the tagline: “It’s that kind of thrill.” An anthem ad set to run on 25 cable networks and online beginning Aug. 17 tells the story of making the TLX. Acura also will use billboards in major markets and digital homepage ad takeovers on websites such as Yahoo, plus advertise on Facebook and Twitter. The TLX also will be integrated into part of ESPN’s SportsCenter, sponsoring college football highlights.

The new TLX is built in Marysville, Ohio. It starts at $30,995, plus a $895 destination fee. The sedan features two all-new engine offerings, and two new transmissions including one with a dual clutch. It is available in all-wheel drive.

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Acura unveiled the all-new 2015 TLX performance-luxury sedan at the 2014 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). / Acura