“ILX Total Control” takes drivers on a 360-degree virtual drive that responds to the motions of a smartphone. Read more…

Source: Acura

Acura’s ILX was among its models to show a decline in American sales last year as car buyers continued to show a preference for various SUV models. The ILX’s sales fell 4.1% to 11,273 units in 2018 from the prior year, while the Acura division’s overall sales rose 2.8%. Acura saw the strongest growth from RLX/RL sedans, up 56% to 1,931 units, and its RDX crossover, up 24% to 63,580 units, according to Honda. The U.S. automotive industry saw an 8% gain in truck and SUV sales to 11,786,069 units, while passenger car sales slumped 13% to 5,488,181 units in 2018, according to MarkLines.

United Airlines updated its frequent-flyer app to give members more ways to earn miles, including the new United Visa Rewards loyalty program with offers from merchants like Sam’s Club, Wayfair and StubHub. Read more…

United and American Airlines this year increased the annual spending requirement to earn high-level elite status in their loyalty programs by 25% to $15,000 from $12,000 in 2018. Budget travelers may have a harder time qualifying for the top tier, but business travelers that travel frequently likely will enjoy fewer crowds at exclusive airline lounges. Delta Air Lines previously increased the annual spending requirement to $15,000 and 125,000 flown miles for its top-tier membership, Skift reported.

United parent United Continental pushed past Delta to become the No. 2 carrier behind American in terms of passenger traffic last year. United has aimed to gain back market share at its hubs in Chicago, Houston and Denver by boosting flight connections at its busiest airports. United racked up 230.2 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs), an industry metric, compared with Delta’s 224.2 billion to take the No. 2 spot for the first time since 2015. American likely will keep its title as the world’s biggest carrier when it discloses full-year RPMsBloomberg reported.

Dr. Scholl’s partnered with startup Wiivv on personalized 3D-printed shoe insoles that customers can order for home delivery through a smartphone app. Read more…

Bayer plans to sell its consumer brands, including Dr. Scholl’s and Coppertone, as the German company seeks to focus on higher-margin pharmaceuticals. Bayer in November also announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs and sell its animal-health business to regain investor trust, The Wall Street Journal reported. Bayer’s over-the-counter sales have fallen in the past few years as consumer health products face greater competition from Amazon and private-label brands at drugstores, Bloomberg reported. Bayer acquired Merck’s consumer health brands in 2014.