LOS ANGELES – Honda’s U.S. executives have pledged for years to make Acura a top-tier luxury brand, on par with Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. Dealer Dave Conant is gambling $20 million that this time Honda will succeed, according to Automotive News. That’s how much Conant spent to upgrade his Acura dealership in suburban Los Angeles. The renovated store opened in May.

Jeff Conrad, vice president of American Honda Motor Co.’s Acura division, said Acura is working to improve its vehicles, marketing, and retail network. The redesigned 2009 Acura TL, a compact sedan that emerged from the brand’s new design center in Torrance, Calif., is competitive with better-selling luxury models in styling and performance, he added. The TL has a 3.5L, V-6 engine, and offers all-wheel drive as an option. It went on sale this fall with a base sticker price of $34,955, including shipping.

Acura dealers say they like the revamped TL, according to Automotive News. But T.Y. Lai, COO of the Western region for DCH Auto Group, said sales of the redesigned model have been disappointing.