Acura Planning New Model

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
acura planning new model

Acura sources tell Automotive News (sub) that the Honda luxury brand will add an all-new model to its lineup in 2010. Earlier reports suggest that this model could be a four-seat coupe to replace the CL which was cut in 2003. With a $50k target price and a possible folding hardtop version, the new vehicle will almost certainly occupy a niche spot in the market. According to the Acura corporate office, this new model is what it will take for Acura to assume its rightful position as a "tier one" luxury brand like BMW or Mercedes. But according to to Acura dealers, a new model is needed simply to pep up showroom traffic. Not that you can blame Acura for wanting to try something; June sales were down a staggering 25.7 percent. "We need to start creating more buzz about our products," says an LA Acura dealer. "I'm going to keep Acura in my prayers because they need it." But the NSX will create plenty of buzz before this new whip even arrives, so why go for it? Acura dealers currently sell only three cars and two crossovers, compared to Lexus' four cars, one crossover and two body-on-frame utes. And there are even more models from the true "top tier" luxury brands. But adding two-door and convertible TLs doesn't exactly banish Acura's rep as a seller of tarted-up Accords or launch it anywhere near the German teeth of the market. Which brings us to an interesting question about Acura's place in the market. With the economy flopping about an gasping for air, are "tier one" luxury buyers going to downgrade to Acuras, or are entry-level luxury buyers going to be squeezed out of the Acura dealership and into a Camcord? My guess is the latter.

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  • Edgett Edgett on Aug 05, 2008

    Three words: Rear Wheel Drive.

  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on Aug 05, 2008

    It is important to remember that the second generation Legend was such a success because it had the correct proportions and looked like a RWD car. This was due to its North/ South engine placement that left little front overhang on that design. Unless you knew your cars you would have to ask if the Legend was FWD or RWD until you drove one. I believe the first WTF product from Honda/ Acura was the RL which came right on the heals of the last Legend GS model which was actually more powerful, sleeker, and simply better looking. IIRC the RL came out around the same time that Infiniti wreaked the Q45. Both mid 90s RL and Q45 did a great deal of damage to these brands. These cars killed the momentum that the Acura and Inifinti brands had built up during the early 1990s. The RL was a "what is it" type of car! In a move to make their flagship more competitive with the Lexus LS Honda created a car that turned-off most previous Legend owners yet did not have the good to appeal to LS owners or aspirers. Another Honda product that "missed the mark" was the (much loved HERE) NSX. While fine in concept the NSX was easily outdone (in the real world) by the 1990s Supra TT, 300zx TT, and RX7 TT. All excellent sports cars built with reasonable affordable steel bodies. The NSX was always serverly over-priced for was it was. IT also lacked any type of "edge" over the players that Honda was aiming for. At the end of the day the NSX is best described as a novelty. Put into perspective, at the end of its run the NSX was a $93,000 car that was easily outclassed by a $60,000 CaymanS. By aiming for the sky with the NSX Honda built a car that was out of reach for even most "well to do" Honda fans. The irony is that while Honda had a hard-on for the 911 Porsche was in the process of creating the extremely successful, company saving Boxster. Image the success the NSX could have been IF honda decided to be smart and make a $40,000 to $45,000 sports car back then.

  • MgoBLUE MgoBLUE on Aug 05, 2008

    There aren't only two rungs on the ladder, there are at least four: Good, Better, Best and Exotic. Back in the day, Volvo and Saab defined what it was to be "better". Now, Ford and GM have bastardized them back to "Good", leaving Infiniti and Acura in the Better category (others?), while Lexus has made the jump to Best. From the comments here, it seems as though Acura's position in the Better class is being threatened by its own designs, while Infiniti's position has been strengthened by the success of the G sedan and coupe and M sedan. To that end, I don't buy the "Acura is Mercury/Lincoln" bit. But I'm biased, so I'll spare you the rant.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Aug 05, 2008
    Why does Acura always gets the blame for FWD lineup when a pseudo luxury German car maker with unreliable FWDs goes scots free? +1 I've always wondered why Audi gets a pass for selling gussied-up Volkswagens, but Acura doesn't. Every Audi except the R8 originates from a front-drive platform, and the only advantage Audi really holds over Acura is engine size--which actually results in most Audis being pretty nose-heavy as a result. If given the choice between an RL and V6 A6, I'd take the Acura. I'd probably still take the Acura if it was a V8 A6. God knows it handles better and isn't nearly as likely to be a maintenance princess as it ages Acuras are nice cars. Remember the nice car? Saab and Volvo also made "nice" cars, too. The problem is that the Camry XLE and Accord EX-V6 are very nice cars, too, and the BMW 323i, IS250 and C230K, while not quite as nice, have shiny badges on the nose that make them more attractive. Acura (and Saab, and Volvo, and to a lesser degree VW and Subaru) don't have a lot of room to play with between XLE-level Toyotas and basement-trim Mercedes. All this "must be RWD/V8/etc" is just window dressing for badge snobbery; a good luxury car doesn't need such a thing to sell in masse (and, from the number of C230s, E350s, 323s and A6 3.2s I see, this is valid). Acura makes very good cars, but there's nothing special enough about them next to their low-end competition to sell in bulk. If they had four rings instead of a compass on the grille, they might do better.