Detroit 01/07/2007 --
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. And thank you for joining us. Last year, we marked the 20th anniversary of the Acura brand by topping 200-thousand units in sales for the second straight year. But we did so with a focus on the future. With a commitment to advanced technology our goal is to help our customers get where they're going more quickly, more efficiently, and more connected to the world.
This commitment can be summed up in just one word, "Advance." This is a statement about Acura's commitment to always be ahead with customer relevant technologies and products that add to the quality of life. As you know the Acura brand was born in the U.S. Many Acura products also are being born here in America. And these products are key to the continued growth and success of the Acura brand around the world.
The next big step for Acura and our U.S. R&D operations is the opening of another design studio this summer, the Acura Design Center. We have been designing Acura products in America for more than a dozen years. With this new design center the Acura brand will have an even sharper focus on creating products that meet the needs of a new generation of luxury consumers.
We are also following a similar strategy with R&D in Japan. Beginning last April, we separated Acura design and development activities. Now, an Acura design studio in Japan supports global Acura design efforts. We also began the global expansion of Acura with sales in China. And we are now preparing for the launch of the Acura brand in Japan.
The Acura TL, exported from America, is one of the first Acura vehicles sold in China. And this year we will begin exporting the new MDX to China as well. Because we have the capability to develop all-new vehicles from the ground up ... this all-new MDX was conceived, designed and developed in America. But the key is not where these operations are based. The key is what we create for our customers. The role of the new Acura design centers in both America and Japan is to set the tone for the Acura brand through emotional design.
I must tell you that my own passion is performance. I spent much of my career in racing, and I continue to follow it closely. We won a Formula One race last year. But the desire to win every race burns inside of me, and our engineers. This same kind of burning desire for performance can be found in Acura products. That is why the MDX that was developed in America was tested and refined on the Nurburgring in Germany.
It is why we have added Super Handling All Wheel Drive to three different models - including two sport utility vehicles. The Acura brand will always be a home for people who love to drive.
The first generation NSX is another example of this burning desire for performance. It set new standards in many areas, from its advanced technologies to its incredible performance. Today, we want to show you a new concept car that hints at the design direction of the successor to the NSX. This design was created by our Los Angeles-based team. In a few months, this team will move into the Acura Design Center. But they have already created an exciting Acura Advanced Sports Car concept.
Before I show it to you, I want to emphasize that this vehicle is about more than just great styling. As we advance toward building a car like this, I can tell you it will feature advanced technology matching our passion for performance. This will include an all-new V10 engine that is Acura's most powerful ever. This front engine vehicle will also feature a new high performance, rear wheel drive version of Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Our direction is clear. We plan to Advance, in technology, in design, and in overall performance. This fall, at the Tokyo Motor Show, we will showcase the next stage in our advancement. But today, we have an exciting idea for the next Acura super sports car. I hope you like this exciting new concept, and the direction for the Acura brand. Thank you.
Good afternoon, everyone. After almost 20 years of designing vehicles I can honestly say that I can't remember being as excited about a car as I am about this Advanced Sports Car Concept. When the team and I designed the latest generation TL, we had to be concerned with all the practical aspects of a production car, but with this concept we could really let our imaginations run wild. We could break free of conventional design theories and explore whole new styling concepts and design languages, and with good reason.
Over the past few years, automotive designers have faced a growing challenge. Like all of you, we want to embrace the incredible new technology that's currently being developed at an accelerated pace, especially here at Acura. But at the same time, we don't want to lose the emotional appeal we all love about the most striking and evocative automotive designs. In other words, designers must find a way to allow technology and emotion to co-exist; to creatively fuse precision engineering with passionate execution.
This is especially important for us, as technology and emotion have been the two main tenets of the Acura brand since our beginning more than 20 years ago. With all that in mind, we embarked on an aggressive new approach to design. And we developed this, the Acura "Advanced Sports Car Concept."
It's a bold and provocative design execution that attempts to define the concept of "Advance" which Mr. Fukui mentioned earlier. It's our idea of what an exotic high-performance sports car can look like in the not so distant future, while retaining some subtle design cues from our first generation NSX.
In the exterior styling, you'll see definitive design elements that communicate that fine balance of technical precision and emotion I spoke of a moment ago. For example, laser-sharp edges throughout the vehicle represent a powerful sense of engineering precision. The side of the car and the dramatic hood surfaces feature what we call sheer, machined, surfacing, again, to convey a feeling of technical exactness.
This precision is subtly balanced by more natural design elements. Free-flowing directional lines, like the one here on the car's flank, appear and then disappear into the body to mimic the random patterns found throughout nature. These taut lines and unexpected surface transitions also add an element of tension and suspense, contributing to the strong emotion of the overall design. Together, these three design elements create what we call "Keen-Edge Dynamic". They represent the Precision, Technology, and Emotion inherent in our styling.
The long, powerful hood, low slung cabin and short wide deck work together to create a powerful sense of anticipation - almost like a slingshot pulled back and straining to be released. And with a V10 engine and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive power-train it will be a very powerful and precise slingshot. We even pursued the direction of "Keen Edge" styling in the wheel design. They are 19-inches at the front, 20 at the rear and in my opinion, are the most visually striking we've ever designed at Acura.
By the way, you can see the initial production application of the "Advance" design direction in the latest generation MDX, which has sharper, more precise lines than its predecessor. And it will be even more pronounced in future Acura products like the next generation TSX and TL. We want the design statement we make to embody both the emotion of a dynamic driving experience, along with the advanced technology that is present in every Acura vehicle. We believe this aggressive and innovative approach does all that and more.
This "Advanced Sports Car Concept" was designed here in the United States, and you can anticipate more forward-looking, ground-breaking, designs from us as our new Acura Design Center in California comes online in just a few months. It will drive the development of distinctive and cutting edge designs that will further strengthen the appeal of our products both here and around the world. And will ensure that Acura continues to push the envelope in developing highly advanced automobiles that appeal both to the intellect and to the soul. On behalf of Mr. Fukui and myself, thank you for attending. Now, I'd like to invite all of you to take a closer look at our new Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept.