Acura MDX Production Moves North; Acura Is As Much of an Ohio Car Brand As Can Be

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
acura mdx production moves north acura is as much of an ohio car brand as can be

With production of the three-row Acura MDX joining the Acura RDX at American Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant in East Liberty, Ohio, Acura has become a profoundly Buckeyed automobile brand.

Still stealing some production space at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant where the Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, and 2018 Honda Odyssey are also built, production of the MDX has shifted to Ohio in order to free up capacity for both Honda’s and Acura’s top-selling model.

As a result of the MDX’s relocation, Acura now builds five of its six models in the state of Ohio.

And the one Acura that doesn’t hail from Ohio? That’d be the RLX, which forms less than 1 percent of the Acura brand’s volume.

Also assembled in the East Liberty plant is Acura’s second-best-selling model, the RDX two-row crossover. Combined, the two utility vehicles account for nearly two-thirds of Acura’s U.S. volume.

American Honda’s East Liberty factory is a utility vehicle haven. The Honda CR-V, America’s top-selling SUV/crossover in each of the last five years, is also produced in East Liberty, Ohio, albeit not exclusively.

Nine miles away at Honda’s Marysville assembly plant, Acura builds its two core sedans: the ILX and more popular TLX. Acura revamped the TLX for the 2018 model year. The ILX continues on the ninth-generation Civic’s platform, nearly two years into the tenth-generation Civic’s tenure.

Also in Marysville, Ohio, Acura builds the NSX at the Performance Manufacturing Center. Roughly 100 NSXs are assembled in Ohio each month.

The oft forgotten RLX sedan, the brand’s flagship in a sense, is the lone import in Acura’s U.S. lineup. Acura is barely managing to sell more than 100 RLXs per month in the United States.

Five-sixths of Acura’s U.S. lineup is thus Ohio-derived. But in one of Acura’s few other markets, China, the Honda HR-V-based Acura CDX is assembled in Guangzhou, China. There’s still no official announcement that would cause the CDX to make its way across the Pacific, but American Honda’s Acura vice president, Jon Ikeda, says, “We have our R&D guys looking into the possibility.”

That leaves Ohio-built nameplates as the foundation for 99 percent of Acura’s sales in the brand’s largest market.

Go Buckeyes.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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