Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us. As you just saw, 2011 marks Acura's 25th anniversary.
From day one, we've succeeded by offering premium luxury vehicles that deliver an appealing blend of sophisticated style, outstanding performance, rich content and the very latest in automotive technology, all at a compelling value to our customers.
Over the years, our strong suit has been innovation, and if you need proof, just look at our track record. As I'm sure most of you know, Acura was the world's first Japanese luxury brand. And over the past 25 years, we've continually added to our list of "firsts" – especially in the area of advanced automotive technology.
Just a partial list of the innovations Acura has introduced to U.S. buyers over the years includes: VTEC – for an extra shot of horsepower at high RPM, drive-by-Wire electronic throttle control, in-dash navigation systems and Bluetooth as standard. You'll find these features on virtually every luxury automobile today, but again, Acura was the first with the vision and the capabilities to develop and introduce them.
In addition, Acura was the first brand to have every vehicle in its line-up achieve a five star safety rating.
These innovations and accomplishments have contributed to an impressive line-up of Acura vehicles. And in just a few minutes, we'll introduce you to the latest addition to our line-up, the 2012 Acura TL. Or as we like to call it – Innovation Refined.
Now, I have to say that we're starting this landmark year with an exciting new car – and with a high degree of optimism.
Automotive sales are starting to come back and the industry outlook is much better today than it was a year ago. The premium car segment is forecasted to return to near 2007 levels by 2012.
For Acura, in 2010 we enjoyed 11 straight months of double digit sales increases compared to 2009 and we finished out the year with a strong 27 percent sales increase. We're starting 2011 just as strongly, as our streak of consecutive sales increases continues.
We think a lot of Acura's recent success can be attributed to a couple of things. First, a more rational approach by buyers in the luxury car market since the economic downturn. Strategic vision data indicates that three of the top five purchase reasons for luxury vehicles are: value for money, quality of workmanship and reliability. All three happen to be core strengths of the Acura brand.
The second reason for our recent success can be attributed to our philosophy of "smart luxury." Smart luxury refers to a pronounced shift in the luxury market away from the idea of excess and extravagance, and to vehicles offering useful and relevant technology, rich content, premium quality, environmental sustainability and lasting value, all wrapped up in a sleek design.
Those attributes define the Acura brand and certainly the newly refined TL you're about to see. But first, some TL history.
In 2004, the TL was introduced, taking the entry luxury segment by storm with its combination of sporty performance and style.
In 2009, the TL again took a step forward, introducing Acura's most powerful engine ever. Features like Acura's first hard drive-based navigation system and our innovative torque vectoring SH –All Wheel Drive system, made the TL one of best performing cars in its class.
In addition, the TL was recognized for excellent quality, finishing second in its class in the JD Power and Associates IQS study and for long-term value as ALG's 2011 top choice as the entry luxury segment leader in resale value.
However, the 2009 TL launched at the worst possible time…literally as the economy crumbled, and its aggressive styling may have been a bit too bold in the evolving market. So how did we respond?
For the 2012 model year, we focused on taking the already innovative TL and refining it even further to ensure it remains a leader among luxury sports sedans, an automobile that will continue Acura's legacy of ground-breaking style, performance, refinement and value.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 Acura TL.
Bold, yet, refined. Sophisticated. Beautifully proportioned. Certainly first impressions count – and from any angle, this latest TL makes a powerful first impression.
But when all is said and done, a luxury performance sedan has to provide everything its buyer expects – and the newly refined TL does. By delivering, performance refined, technology refined and luxury refined.
Let's start with performance. The 3.5 and 3.7 liter V6 engines found in the TL already deliver excellent performance. But now, they deliver that performance with even more impressive fuel economy because of reductions in engine friction – along with aerodynamic enhancements and an all-new six speed automatic transmission.
The added transmission gear and optimized ratios further improve fuel economy while actually boosting the TL's acceleration. The TL now delivers 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. This is an improvement of 3 highway Miles Per gallon over the current model. All while retaining the TL's speed and responsiveness.
And, all that refined performance is available in the TL Advance which you see here, as well as the TL, and the TL Tech --all available in front wheel and Super Handling All Wheel Drive configurations. And not to worry, the 6-speed manual transmission will continue to be offered on the TL Super Handling All Wheel Drive model.
But, performance is just the start. The new TL is also luxury refined. Upgrades to interior styling and quality provide an executive class cabin, regardless of trim.
And extraordinary efforts have also been made to reduce noise, vibration and harshness resulting in a three decibel improvement in cabin noise at higher speeds.
Naturally, all models offer the amenities you'd expect in a car of this caliber.
The TL Tech features an impressive new 60 GB hard drive system powering and controlling the improved navigation, entertainment and phone functions.
The TL with Advance package further adds to the TL's comfort level with new ventilated front seats offering heating and cooling.
The TL Advance also offers a radar-based blind spot information system to warn the driver when another vehicle is in close proximity.
Put it all together and you've got a tantalizing blend of superior performance, progressive technology and first-class appointments highlighted by outstanding levels of quality and craftsmanship all at a moderate price. In other words, innovation refined in a sleek and striking sports sedan.
That's the newly refined 2012 Acura TL -- and at this time I'd like to invite you all to come on up for a closer look.
For more information about Acura vehicles, please visit www.acura.com. For additional media information, please go to www.acuranews.com.