QOTD: Alternative History of Missed Automotive Opportunities?
Today marks the first entry into a two-part Question of the Day series where we’ll step back in time. The purpose of the journey? To fix the mishaps committed by automakers. First up are the missed opportunities.
Think back to any historical time period you desire, and pick out one instance where an automaker really messed up and missed an opportunity. A decision which would affect the company’s fortunes and/or product offerings in the years to come; if only they’d done that One Simple Thing! Your author volunteers to go first.
1986: Honda offers a V8 in the Acura Legend
Honda sold Acura vehicles beginning 1986, when they beat Lexus and Infiniti to market by four full model years. Perhaps they were quicker on the front end than Toyota and Nissan because they didn’t put in as much effort as their Japanese competition. In ’86 Acura had a single car — the Legend sedan. It was joined in 1987 by the coupe version, which donated its larger 2.7-liter V6 (161 hp) to the sedan version for 1988. The Legend marked Honda’s first full-size entry into the North American market, as well as the first production car from the brand with a V6. It wasn’t enough.
Legend development was in conjunction with Rover, who jointly created the same-yet-different Legend called the Rover 800 (and Sterling). It was probably daring of the small engine people at Honda to develop a V6 for their new luxury car — but they should’ve dared harder. Coming to market with a front-drive V8 full-sizer (common in the Eighties) would’ve put the brand in a better position to compete with American luxury brands, and made Acura more of a threat for Lexus and Infiniti. The other Japanese premium marques came to market with V8 engines and rear-drive for their full-size sedans, which were also more full-size than the Legend.
That first offering set the stage for the relative floundering Acura stands for today. Apart from the occasional bright spot in the form of an Integra here and an RSX there, the Acura brand has never been a real threat to Lexus, or really any other luxury brand. It’s now a crossover company, and its largest sedan (the RLX) is very sad indeed. Quite a missed opportunity then, in those hazy, smoggy early Eighties. Even a borrowed V8 would’ve been better than nothing.
Let’s hear your selections for automotive missed opportunities.
Eng_alvarado90 on Jul 25, 2019
Alternative reality #99 Ford added a Crew Cab to the Ranger by 1998 just like it did globally and beat the competition by at least 2 years. The next decade it was significantly updated with a new platform, powertrains and improved capabilities, It remains the best selling pickup in its class. Dodge updated the Nitro and Caliber based on the new Cherokee and Renegade respectively. Dodge is posting healthy finances Chrysler put better materials and thriftier engines inthe Aspen. In 2011 it was updated like the Durango. Chrysler is posting healthy finances
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