SHANGHAI, China (AP) — Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. launched sales of its Acura in China on Wednesday, targeting China's growing upper class in its first expansion of the model outside North America.
Honda opened its first Acura dealership in the southern city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong. Its wholly owned subsidiary Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., plans to have 10 Acura dealerships within a year.
Honda says it expects to sell 3,000 Acuras in the first year of sales in mainland China.
The imported Acura RL flagship sedans are priced at $86,000, while Acura TLs will sell for $54,400, Honda said in a statement.
Honda, which earns 80 percent of its revenues outside Japan, is one of several world automakers looking to China for robust growth not seen in more mature markets such as the U.S. and Europe. Most are targeting both highly profitable luxury sales and larger volume smaller car buyers.
''The introduction to China of the Acura brand will become the first step for the brand to expand from North America to the world,'' Atsuyoshi Hyogo, regional chief operating officer for Honda, said in the statement.
In the first eight months of 2006, Honda Motor sold 193,582 vehicles in China, up 17 percent from 165,270 units in the same period last year.