The performance and luxury brand will start taking reservations for the ZDX and ZDX Type S later this year. And while customers can make all of their purchasing decisions online, dealers will remain part of the process.
Honda is restructuring its business as it looks ahead to achieving 100 percent electric vehicle sales by 2040. As such, the company announced that all of its Acura-branded EVs will be sold exclusively online, starting with the ZDX SUV, due out next year.
The company is shaking up its leadership roster and creating a new division to handle sales, marketing, and communications for its budding EV business. And it is positioning its luxury and performance brand Acura as the “tip of the spear” in its shift to EVs, which includes improved software services and, most notably, e-commerce.
That’s all starting with the RDX and RDX Type S, presales of which begin later this year, with customer deliveries expected in 2024. The Acura ZDX, a luxury SUV with many of the same styling and themes presented as part of the Precision concept car last year, will be the first model sold exclusively online, said Honda’s senior VP Mamadou Diallo, who was recently promoted to oversee all sales for American Honda.
“What we see is providing clients [and] consumers the convenience of transacting where they wish to transact,” Diallo said, noting that Honda’s network of dealers will remain part of the process.
The auto industry has been slow to adopt online sales, with traditional dealers remaining the most typical entry point for buyers. Some carmakers, like Tesla, eschew the dealer model in favor of direct-to-consumer sales — but not without fierce pushback from dealers, who have enshrined their primacy in legislation in most states in the US.
“Whether that process starts in your living room, and then continue at the dealership, or starts at the dealership where somebody wants to touch and feel a car on the showroom floor, you will still have to input that information,” Diallo said.
Honda’s EV strategy so far has been defined by its partnerships with other manufacturers. Both of the automaker’s initial EVs, the Acura ZDX and Honda Prologue, will be built on General Motors’ Ultium electric architecture thanks to a partnership with the Detroit-based automaker. Meanwhile, Honda is helping launch Sony’s first vehicle brand Afeela, the first of which is said to go on sale in North America in 2026.
The company, which was caught off guard by the rapid rise in demand for EVs, has been struggling to catch up to its rivals in Europe and North America. And it has a lot of irons in the fire, betting not only on pure battery-electric vehicles but also electric motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, and battery-swapping technology.
As such, Honda announced Tuesday that it will create a new division called the Electrification Business Development Operations to consolidate all of these offerings. It will also shrink the number of regional operations from six to three: North America, China, and “Associated Regions.”
“Specifically, Honda will strive to further accelerate its electrification business and create new value by leveraging its broad and expanding range of mobility products and services,” the company said in a press release.
The company says it will release 30 hybrid battery-electric fuel-cell vehicles by 2030. And it’s targeting aggressive sales of its first EVs: 60,000 Prologue SUVs in the US in 2024; 70,000 units in 2025; and 300,000 in 2026. More broadly, the company says it wants 40 percent of its sales to be comprised of battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles by 2030, 80 percent by 2035, and 100 percent by 2040. Late last year, Honda announced it would build a $4.4 billion battery factory with South Korea’s LG Chem in Ohio.