Honda plans to debut two new models at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit — the new version of its Fit subcompact car and the Acura TLX sport sedan, which replaces the automaker's TL model.
The Fit is one of those cars that gets good reviews from critics but doesn't sell as well as competitors such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Nissan Versa.
"Honda finds itself in an interesting position with the new Fit," said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst at car price information company Kelley Blue Book. "At one time, that subcompact segment was owned by Honda with the Fit. But as you look to 2014, the competition has really increased. Honda needs to keep the Fit above water."
This third-generation Fit will have a new platform — one that Honda is also using to build a tiny crossover — and a new engine. Honda said one of its goals was to have the Fit top other subcompacts in safety ratings.
For the first time, Honda will build Fits for the U.S. market at a North American factory, an all-new plant in in Celaya, Mexico.
The Acura that Honda is bringing to Detroit will be the TLX prototype, basically a full-size model of what the production car will look like.
It will be a mid-sized design that Honda says will be sportier than the outgoing TL.
When Honda starts making the new Acura at its Marysville, Ohio, factory next year, it will end sales of the TSX model. Honda wants to focus its Acura sedan lineup on three distinct models — the entry-level ILX, the mid-size TLX sports sedan and its flagship RLX sedan.
The TLX prototype was designed in Acura's Los Angeles Design Studio.