Retail in Asia

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The “near luxury” car buyer, myth or reality?

Honda Motor Co.’s newest sedan has an efficient four-cylinder engine and its marketing plays up features like Internet radio, not power or speed.

This isn’t the new Honda Civic. It’s the Acura ILX, a car built on a similar foundation as its parent company’s Civic that Acura hopes will give it a head start in the market for diminished luxury.

The Acura ILX, and rivals such as the Buick Verano and Lexus CT 200h represent a bet by some auto makers that demand is pent up for cars that are small and frugal like economy models, but come equipped with some of the comfort features, flourishes and badges of a luxury brand.