By on October 18, 2016

Acura NSX Halo car, Image source: Acura

The halo effect isn’t working for Acura with its NSX.

That, governments in Canada and those of states in the U.S. are still looking to make Volkswagen suffer for crimes against nature, Ford decides to stop producing the F-150 for a bit, Subaru reconsiders its headquarters in New Jersey, and VW could be forced to buy back all its vehicles sold with defeat devices … after the break!

2017 Acura NSX, Image: Acura

The NSX may not be the halo vehicle Acura had hoped

Bringing back the NSX as a way to remind consumers of Acura’s grandeur and majesty hasn’t worked as intended. Acura’s overall sales year-to-date are down 9.3 percent thanks to sedans taking tanking hard with a 17-percent hit over the same period.

But the NSX still garners a lot of attention for Acura: it’s prominent in media and featured in ad campaigns with other Acura models. Additionally, the company claims its data shows one visitor in four to the NSX page on the Acura website also views other Acura models — but those views aren’t translating to sales.

“That’s definitely something we hope to translate into sales later down the line,” Jon Ikeda, Acura’s general manager, told Automotive News. “As soon as possible is our dream point.”

Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, isn’t so sure that Acura can translate NSX exposure into increased sales for its other offerings. “A person in the market for a $200,000 supercar isn’t the person who will be tempted into buying a $40,000 TLX,” said Kim.

The spread between the NSX and the next model below it, the RLX, is over $100,000, which is still a wide gulf.

Volkswagen logo badge (Francis Storr/Flickr)

Canada and the state of Missouri want their own pounds of flesh from Volkswagen

The Canadian government is punishing investigating Volkswagen for violations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act because of its importation of vehicles that cheat emissions testing procedures.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) told Automotive News Canada it “may recommend to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada that charges be laid” if there is sufficient evidence of the violations.

South of the border, Missouri just threw its hat in the ring and became the 17th state to take direct legal action against the German automaker over the emissions scandal.

“Volkswagen’s actions demonstrate a flagrant disregard for Missouri’s environmental laws, as well as the health and welfare of Missourians,” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said in a statement on Monday.

2017 Ford F-150 Dallas Cowboys Edition, Image: Ford

Kansas City F-150 production takes a knee, among others

Ford is temporarily suspending F-150 production at its Kansas City assembly plant, in addition to other plants, to curb the effects of bulging inventory and slowing demand.

Roughly 9,000 hourly workers in the United States and 4,000 in Mexico will be laid off during the temporary shutdowns. F-150 production at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan will continue without interruption, however.

The suspensions also impact two sport utility vehicles, the Ford Escape and the Lincoln MKC, at its Louisville Assembly Plant for two weeks. The Escape is the company’s second best-selling U.S. model after the F-150, but U.S. sales were down 12 percent in September.

According to Reuters, U.S. workers with over one year of experience will get about 80 percent of their normal paychecks during the shutdowns. Ford did not give details on compensation for the workers in Mexico.

2016 Subaru Outback

Subaru reconsiders its move to New Jersey

After New Jersey governor Chris Christie scrapped income tax agreement between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Subaru of America is reconsidering its plan to move into a headquarters being constructed in Camden.

“We are concerned for the long-term future of the city of Camden if this legislation comes into play as it will significantly affect the available labor and talent pool by creating an extra tax burden for those people living in Pennsylvania and working in New Jersey,” Tim Doll, COO for Subaru of America, said in an email response to Automotive News.

Subaru didn’t say whether it would sell the building or hold out for further incentives and grants from New Jersey.

VW logo

VW seeks final approval of emissions deal — without a fix

Volkswagen is asking for a sign-off on its $14.7 billion settlement while it continues to seek regulators’ approval on a fix — which Volkswagen has still yet to figure out — for the 482,000 emissions cheating diesels now on American roads. Without a remedy for the dirty diesels plying American roadways, the VW might be forced to buy back every single car equipped with a defeat device.

According to Bloomberg, VW has already agreed to spend as much as $10 billion to buy back the 2.0-liter TDI models in question and compensate drivers. The company also plans to pay $2.7 billion to federal and California regulators to fund pollution-reduction projects and $2 billion to be invested in clean tech.

A court conference on Volkswagen Group’s 3.0-liter diesels has been scheduled for November 3.

[Images: Acura; Francis Storr/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0); Ford Motor Company; Subaru of America; Volkswagon]

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28 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: The Acura NSX is No Halo Car...”


  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Subaru could’ve moved to some nice place like Atlanta or Dallas, but eh… After Boeing’s move to Chicago, it’s clear that suits think different.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Atlanta and Dallas? Places that force you to sit in traffic for an hour to get anywhere practically no matter where you decide to live?

      I’ll take a place where I can drive for recreation and not in two hours of the same stop and go every day.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        To be fair, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined so it takes more than an hour to drive across it at a steady 70 mph. There is open farmland north of US-380 about 25 minutes north of Toyota’s new headquarters and the Plano/Frisco boundary.

        Maybe Subaru could get a good deal on Toyota’s temporary office space in Plano.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m not in the car industry, but to me a “halo car” should be something that a normal upper-middle-class person could aspire to. It wasn’t unusual for me to see the original NSX on the road. Not every day, but a few times per year. Every time I saw one, I though about Acura.

    It was priced such that I could actually own and DD one. Same with the R8, GTR, and Viper when they were first announced.

    But at $150,000 (likely over $200K with dealer markup), the new NSX is destined to be a very limited edition garage queen. I’ll never see one on the road. Sure, I spent a few minutes reading articles when it was first announced but it quickly lost my interest as I’ll never own one.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Acura, when it was doing well, had a kind of reverse-halo: the Integra/RSX.

      It was a nice, sporty, reliable and capable car that someone getting their first real job could afford. You bought an RSX (in Canada, you could get the EL/CSX, and many did) and then, when you had to buckle down and be serious, get a TSX, TL and/or MDX.

      Honda got cocky, though, and thought that they could get people into more profitably crossovers, and that RSX intenders would buy the Civic Si instead. What actually happened was that RSX intenders signed leases on Minis, 3-Series, etc, etc and totally avoided the RDX and TSX, and the stream of buyers—and not just RSX people, but future TL and MDX buyers as well—just dried up as people just went on the German Lease Express.

      Honda has a real problem with admitting they’re wrong, though, so instead of fixing the mistake, they double-down: you get an even less appealing entry-level sedan (the ILX, in place of the TSX, which itself was gimped) and the ZDX, which sucked at everything the MDX sucked at, while not being good at what the MDX was.

      So now we get the NSX, which is nice enough, but is totally not going to move the kind of Real Estate Agent specials that constitute the rest of the Acura lineup. The NSX would make some sense if Acura still sold the RSX.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        The other problem with Acura is before there was a bigger difference between Honda and them. Now… not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          @JMII:

          You’re quite right. Back in the day you could make a compelling case for an Integra over a Civic, or a TL over an Accord.

          Now I’d be hard-pressed to recommend anything Acura makes over the equivalent Honda, what with the Hondas being quite good.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        @psarhjinian – Great analysis! I remember when the Integra was affordable to a new grad, but still had some entry level yuppie street cred, and the other Acura models were desirable and asipirational.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        “Acura, when it was doing well, had a kind of reverse-halo: the Integra/RSX.”

        That was key. The original NSX introduced V-TEC and electric power steering (the good kind), which eventually showed up in “regular” models such as the Integra. The idea was that there is a bit of NSX DNA in every Acura.

        The new NSX is too far removed to relate too.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The 1991 NSX, after luxury tax (a thing at the time) but before dealer markups which were happening then as well, cost $64,800. That is equivalent to $114,600 today. The difference is there, but it’s not huge.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The ’91 NSX was competing against some utterly terrible Ferraris and Lamborghinis: cars that couldn’t make it across the street without a $2500 service of some type. The performance gap wasn’t nearly as huge, while the price gap was astronomical.

        The new NSX might be more reliable, but the competition is cheaper, faster and, while not reliable, at least won’t shed parts and fluids on a weekly basis.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The NSX is still the cheapest car in its performance class, but if you could get it down to $115k it would be a steal and impossible to pass up. Probably too much cutting-edge tech to get it that “cheap,” though.

          • 0 avatar
            carguy

            @dal20402: How do you define its performance class? At $200k its playing in entry level Maclaren and Porsche turbo territory.

          • 0 avatar
            andyinatl

            Um… Nissan GT-R would be comparable, and it’s quite a bit cheaper starting at $110K.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Halo cars are complete, utter BS. Even affordable ones. Biggest case in point, Nissan GT-R. 370Z sales have been in the tank since it came out (for unrelated reasons), and Nissan’s profile as an aspirational or driver focused brand is probably at its lowest point since the late 90s.

      Why?

      Nissan’s lineup sucks!

      Halo cars, especially unprofitable ones, throw good money after the bad, in the hopes that a spiffy car nobody can afford will fool people into buying mediocre product. A much better and more logical approach is that of Mazda or even Honda, who just make all their cars as good as possible, with clear objectives and demonstrable value. Acura’s problem is like most of the mid-tier brands… it has no idea what it wants to be, and it’s working with very limited resources.

      Honda should have taken the money they spent on the NSX and put it into… no, NOT a RWD chassis nobody cares about…. better interiors across both brands. Lexus’ interiors make Acuras look like a Mazda from the mid aughts. That and maybe spreading the NSX’ dual clutch & hybrid action much further down the line. As is they have a sports car nobody can afford and a bunch of sedans nobody really wants.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “I’m not in the car industry, but to me a “halo car” should be something that a normal upper-middle-class person could aspire to. ”

      That pretty much requires a society much less stratified than the current one. Once 1% of the population has 99% of the discretionary purchasing power, with the remaining 99% begging the former to take their daughters for a ride in exchange for a bus ticket, the concept doesn’t work anymore.

      You notice the effects in other parts of culture as well. “Keeping up with the Joneses,” is largely moot. Instead, the peons are relegated to pick “their” avatar amongst the 1%, and cheer when “My Rush” says something snide about “Your Obama” or vice versa…. In that kind of climate, the purpose of the Halo Car, is to appeal to one or a few popular avatars, in the hope that the badge will rub off on her followers tasked with doing the picking down at the plantation.

  • avatar
    incautious

    “We are concerned for the long-term future of the city of Camden” lol Camden been on the list of most dangerous cities for what the last 50 years or so. A big black hole of wasted taxpayer money.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “VW seeks final approval of emissions deal — without a fix”

    As I’ve been predicting for a while, there will be no fix – not for 2.0, and not for 3.0 TDIs. They’re all going to be crushed.

    VW is simply working out the financial details so they can write some checks and put this problem behind them. They do NOT want road tests, consumer reviews, or any lingering warranty claims on any ‘fixed’ vehicles.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    I saw a new-gen NSX on the street for the first time the other. It looked nice and relatively sporty…but it didn’t make me necessarily lust after one. I still get hot under the collar when I see an original…it just has that exotic presence that the new one lacks. It also didn’t make any particularly exciting sounds (although we were in traffic, so not a lot of opportunity perhaps).

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Not having driven an NSX, I’ll not comment on its qualities. What I will say is it got very tiring how Honda dragged it on for years with the “will we or won’t we?” “What will it be?” vaporware that I just got bored with the idea of the car.

  • avatar
    Reuleaux

    The new Supra will suffer the same fate as the new NSX. Too far divorced from the rest of the model line to be a halo car and too far towards the supercar end of the spectrum for anyone but the 1%. The NSX, Supra, RX-7, and 3000GT were obtainable for successful professionals and the Integra, MR2, Miata and Eclipse were obtainable for many others.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The NSX is an excellent car, but it’s overpriced. Dealerships are pricing them at or near $200k, but it seems to compete more closely with the Nissan GTR. Like the original NSX in adjusted 2016 dollars, this is a great $100k car, not $160k+.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Yuck! It looks like a Vette from the front! Needs moar Jetsons.

  • avatar

    Are they building enough NSX models so every dealer has one in stock to sell, one for a demo, and one on the showroom floor? A car or truck can’t work as a halo vehicle if the general public can’t see them at dealers. That’s why I wouldn’t call the new Ford GT a halo vehicle. As cool as it is, with builds in the hundreds, it ain’t gonna draw any traffic to showrooms.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Halo cars are meaningless if they’re the only car worth owning in the lineup.

  • avatar

    Subaru could get some nice incentives in Vermont I bet, it’s already the unofficial state car. The team rally cars are also built up in yonder hills of VT, along some good back roads to ‘test’ as well.

  • avatar

    I saw a new NSX on the road today. I’ve actually seen more McLaren, but again in the four counties around NYC, you expect bizarro cars in the real world.

    The back is not exciting, but the front is unique profile.

  • avatar

    VW’s take no prisoners scorched earth conquer all strategy backfired big time. Perhaps the German attorney general should look into the possibility of prosecuting VW’s higher management that should have been held accountable in the first place. Fine and jail whoever is found guilty. Otherwise this could drag on for years to come.

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