Acura apparently has admitted that they are not up there with the likes of Mercedez, BMW, or even Lexus at a recent dealer meeting. Starting next year, Acura will make a huge “shift” to tier 1 although I suspect that this shift will probably just the start of something big, not necessarily the “it” factor, so expect results in 2-3 years time. Here’s the summary of what Acura shift will be. Articles and witty commentary after the click.
- Shift to tier 1 (the thing that I mentioned).
- One new vehicles for each year (models including refreshed of the existing one, the RL refresh counts as 1).
- Product details at coming dealer meeting at New Orleans in April.
My take on this is that Acura does nothing significant with the announcement. We all know that this year Acura is introducing three new models, the TSX, the TL and the RL refresh, and for next year probably the RDX refresh because it is due for its 3 year refresh cycle (typical refresh time for Honda products), and the year after that is the MDX refresh + Acura RL next generation + V10 Supercar. So, the new vehicle each year is given. What irk my interest is the move to tier 1 comment… What is that?
Acura has been the butt of all jokes for luxury automotive marquee. I’m planning to write an article about that, but currently I have no spare time to write it, but here’s the rundown. As a luxury marquee, Acura is the only brand which doesn’t have a big engine (V8 or anything) as an option, even the available option for their cars are basically limited. The TSX for example, it only came with 1 engine option, the 2.4L, compared to gazzilion (well, around 5 or so) on the BMW 3 series. So does the interior, you only get… Leather and navigation unit as an option, compared to smörgåsbords of interior options for BMW 3 series.
Rich people, the one that Acura aims for are weird people, they want to express their individuality more than the average guy (pending further research, just my hypothesis). It’s the principal of things, and Acura fails to take this into account in my opinion. Well, after all, I suspect that Honda still meddles in Acura daily business by dictating what it should do. Because from Honda point of view, the one size fits all concept works, while Acura’s target market is not like that. I admit that Acura design studio creates good cars, cars such as MDX, RDX, and TL are designed and built in America… Bet you didn’t know that. However Acura should go the distance and make available options for each cars.
You probably will argue that Acura cars doesn’t need bigger engines. D’oh! Off course they don’t, Each car’s engine is perfect as is, the bigger V8 only there for the halo effect. This halo effect will benefit that particular product because people could aspire to an existing product. For example, BMW 5 series has what people called the uber family sedan, the M5, a 5 series with 5000cc of naturally aspirated V10 engine producing in excess of 500hp. A 500hp family sedan! A freakingly fast family sedan! But does it sell? Not really, people mostly buys the 530i, using a puny 3000cc in comparison of the freaky 5000cc. However people aspires to the M5 easier because it’s basically the same car, only with different options. How about Acura? Acura used to have NSX for the pinnacle of automotive design and technology… Yeah, I bought a TSX, but I have a hard time aspiring to the NSX because for sure I couldn’t buy it, and I couldn’t even dream it, not to mention technologically it is never updated for more than a decade. How about Lexus? Well, you have the IS250, and there’s the upcoming IS-F, an IS with V8, then there’s the LS series, available in 3.5L V6 and 4.6L V8… Options, and more options.
I believe Acura will turn for the better, off course Honda wouldn’t allow its successful (early years) branch to luxury market hit rock bottom in the near future. They only need to understand the market better, and giving them what they want.