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Auto blogWed, 26 Feb 2014 10:00:00 EST
Honda and Acura North America have announced a major restructuring of operations in hopes of turning around Acura's flagging business. For 2013, sales for Acura's sedans dropped 10.4 percent, while its CUV sales grew by 21 percent. The newly formed Acura Business Planning Office will attempt to right the ship.
As part of the restructuring, Acura is promoting Erik Berkman from President of Honda R&D Americas to lead a new division called the Acura Business Planning Office. Berkman has been with Honda since 1982 and led development of the 2006 Accord. He was also the first US engineer to head North American research and development and has been head of Honda Performance Development since 2008. "Erik's appointment to the new Acura Business Planning Office is a clear indication of the high priority we place on Acura," said Honda spokesperson Jeffrey Smith to Automotive News.
American Honda Motor President and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura is also going to be working to improve the business. He has been elected chairman of American Honda's board, and has simultaneously taken the new position of Corporate Brand Officer to improve the management of the company's brands.
Nine years separated the arrival of the original Acura NSX and the Honda S2000. By that time, the NSX was closer to the end of its fifteen-year production cycle than it was to its beginning. The latest word has it that not only is Honda planning a successor to the S2000, but it's not about to wait that long after the new NSX arrives before it's rolled out.
While the S2000 was a front-mid-engined roadster, its successor will, according to the latest from Auto Express (which we are taking with a grain of salt), be a mid-engined coupe - closer, in other words, to the NSX than the S2000. Power would come from a more potent version of the 2.0-liter turbo four developed for the upcoming new Civic Type R, possibly as part of a hybrid system derived from Honda's upcoming Formula One powertain to develop over 400 horsepower.
Whether the new sports car would revive the S2000 nameplate, and whether it would wear the Honda or Acura badge in the United States, remain to be seen. As does its potential production site: while the previous S2000 was built at the same Takanezawa plant in Tochigi as the original NSX, the new NSX will be built at the new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. The new S660 roadster, meanwhile, is set to be assembled at the same Yachiyo plant in Yokkaichi as the original Honda Beat.
On Sunday, August 4th (yep, that's tomorrow), a prototype version of the all-new Acura NSX will make its public track debut ahead of the Honda 200 IndyCar race. Acura has already given us a short video snippet to enjoy, but now it's added one more to get our hearts racing just a little more.
Before you watch it, make sure your speakers or headphones are turned up, because what the low-resolution video lacks in visual quality, it more than makes up for with its audio of the NSX's exhaust screaming as the car tackles Mid-Ohio. And at the end of the video, the caption reads "watch the NSX racing prototype take a lap."
Acura isn't joking either. From what we hear, the car is expected to take one lap before the race and then disappear for the weekend. Scroll down to see and hear the NSX in action.