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Old 07-19-2004, 12:57 PM   #1
igor@af
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Acura Regains Momentum

SUMMARY: <font size=3><font size=2>After a year of being upstaged by Japanese rival Infiniti and it’s hot-selling FM platform models (the G35 sedan &amp; coupe and the uniquely styled FX SUV), not to mention the constant product rollout by Lexus, Honda’s upscale Acura division is getting back into the swing of things.</font> </font>

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Old 07-21-2004, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: Acura Regains Momentum

An interesting article, not living in the US I hear almost nothing of many Acura models.

The TSX, and RSX are obvioulsy sold globaly under the Honda name as the Accord Euro, and the Integra.
But cars like the CL, TL and MDX have never made it outside of the US.
(there old Legand however was sold globlay in 4dr form, and in Japan in coupe form).

It would be nice though to see some of the Luxury Honda models made in RHD. The previous model Legand proved to be very popular, and only limited avliablity and a high cost stopped it being a BMW and Merc competitor here in NZ. (for some reason it's still avliable new here in NZ, depite being outdated by the new Accord V6).

Adopting the US only Acura models to RHD and selling them as Honda's in other world markets would give Honda an international bite of the luxury market, the accpetance of the old Legand and NSX proving it can be done.

It would be nothing new for Honda North America, the previous generation Civic coupe and Accord Wagon were both designed and built in America, but sold new in Japan and Australia.
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Old 07-21-2004, 10:23 PM   #3
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Hey Moppie,
Thanks for the comments on the article. It would be interesting to see the Acura models sold worldwide. I believe the MDX is sold in Japan, though, as was the previous 3.2TL. With Toyota pushing it's US-born Lexus line global (well, they've been global for a while, just not really competitive and not sold in Japan) and Nissan taking its Infiniti arm global as well, Honda & Acura may not be far behind.

However, I think the same debate that rages about Acura in the US would follow Acura worldwide. That is, would FWD be competitive enough for a luxury brand. With the death of the I35, Infiniti will have effectively banned it from its lineup and the Chrysler 300/Dodge Magnum have proven it can be popular on a large scale.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the TSX (as you said, the Euro Accord) and the TL. I just get the feeling the Acura lineup, as a whole, might not fare so well with the European press.

Anyways, thanks again for checking out AA. Hope to see ya around.
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Old 07-21-2004, 10:36 PM   #4
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Re: Acura Regains Momentum

Iv seen one 3.2TL here, they badged them as Legands in Japan. Very nice cars to.

The intire Lexus range has been sold in Japan, only badged as Toyota's, there are then Toyota models that are badged as Lexus's, just to make things confusing. For example there is a Camry base, with some pretty paint, lots of leather and soft suspension that is sold in Japan as the Lexus GS300. Same thing with a luxury version of the LandCruiser.
Here in NZ, we get most of the same Lexus models sold in the states, as well as the Toyota badged models as used imports.
Its not uncommon to see a Lexus IS300 parked next to a Toyota Altezza, or a Lexus RS200.


FWD in the luxury world is point of contention, as is the lack of a V8 engine.
However, both Rover and Jaguar in the UK have FWD V6 only models that have had some limited success in the market. And SAAB and Volvo have been making FWD only luxury cars for decades.

Honda's problem will be there somewhat understated approach to marketing. They are quite capable of building a FWD V6 car that is the equal, or better than the BMW 5 series/E class merc, its just a matter of whether or not they are capable of convincing the rest of the world that its better.
Here in NZ, the Honda badge on its own is quite well respected, cars like the Accord, Legand and Prelude have given it a market image here above that of an Econobox manufactor. If they can create that same image on a global scale they can be successful at taking on the big Europeans.
VW did it after all. The new peoples car for the rich elite.


And Honda tried the Acura name in Japan briefly in the mid 80s, there some Integra's new sold in Japan badged as Acuras.
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Old 07-22-2004, 05:33 PM   #5
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Yeah, the whole Lexus Japan thing is confusing. I should have said that Lexus, as a brand, really hasn't been officially sold there until Toyota's recent plans to do so. You're right, however, that they've all been sold in Japan as Toyotas. I have to wonder what Toyota will do with the models that are rebadged as Lexus models once Lexus gets fully established in Japan. For example, will they sell the Altezza as an Altezza and a Lexus IS...or will they totally seperate them (at least design-wise)...or will they kill off the Altezza? It probably would have been easier for them to have just launched Lexus in Japan when they did it in America.

Wasn’t the last 3.2TL sold as the Inspire or some name like that? I know it was replaced with a version of the US-market Accord rather than the new TL we got.

You’re right that Saab and Volvo have been successful for years with FWD, but the European press tends to be pretty harsh in regards to the Japanese at times. At least, much more so than the press in America. I think that Acura could have a hard time convincing them with FWD-only sedans. Though I do think V8s are less important to that market than they are to the American luxury market. Still, I think Acura’s easiest way out of this may well be AWD. VW & Audi have been using it for years, and it seems the system coming in the new RL could be very good. It is kind of funny, though, that almost all of Acura’s models are based on the Accord platform in some form or another. Personally, as long as it’s a good platform, I don’t really care.

Still, the idea of a RWD compact/midsize sedan from Acura with a V6 (or even a V8 option) would be VERY interesting.

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Old 07-26-2004, 07:11 AM   #6
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Re: Acura Regains Momentum

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcervantes
It is kind of funny, though, that almost all of Acura’s models are based on the Accord platform in some form or another. Personally, as long as it’s a good platform, I don’t really care.
...

Take it back a step further.
Since 1973 every mainstream Honda has been based on the Civic Platform.
They just stick the plans in a photocopier and hit the enlarge button everytime they want a new Integra, or Accord or Odyssey.

Well its not that simple, but if you ever get to work on a variety of models from the same generation, they all share the same basic structure and design patterns.

I think its one reason why we have never seen a mass produced RWD Honda, and why we are not likely to. It goes against their design and enginering philosophy.
Its ok to make it in limited sports orintated models that are ment to up the brand image, and give the enginers some freedom of expresion to show the public just what lies underneath thier comuter wagons, but I doubt we will see RWD in any form of passanger orintated Honda for some time.
However I also belive they can make a FWD Luxury model work, they just have to want it badly enough, and be prepared to stick it to the press. After all in the world of marketing any publicity is good publicity, and if the press give a car a bad enough image, but the manufactor keep on countering it then interest in the car is automaticly generated. Normaly its enough that people will drive the car, and hopefully buy it.


But I don't think Honda has ever been interested in the Hype, you only have to look at thier success in F1, and thier almost lack of promoting it compared to other manufactors. They are more about building extremly well enginered cars that people enjoy driving and owning. They certianly don't please everyone, but then they don't aim to. They keep thier model ranges small and they keep a strong family similarity between them all, and it works.
I think if any Japanese manufactor is capable of taking on the Europeans and equaling the likes of BMW its Honda. They have the passion, they have the skill, all they need is the desire.



And yes the Inspire was the previous generation Legand Coupe, or TL.
But I believe the Legand was orginaly a Japanese only model, that then found its way into the US, and from the US back into Japan.
I know the very first generation Legand was offered with a Turbo V6 in Japan, an option that certianly never made it to the US. They are a rare and valuable find here in NZ, and as you can imagine very nice cars.



At the moment it looks as though Lexus is undergoing an intiantion process into the Japanese market. As new models are released they get badged as Lexus's instead of Toyota.
So I think the Altezza will stay a toyota for as long as the model range exists, then when its replaced (if its replaced) it will be with a Lexus badged model range.
But the Japanese are like us here in NZ with the whole Lexus, Acura infiniti bading thing. To us they are still just Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans, and we don't need differnt badges on them to make us believe they are something more special. We know they are special, or not based on the model.
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Old 08-05-2004, 12:28 AM   #7
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Your point about Honda’s use of a similar platform throughout their entire history, it seems, is a good one. I think it’s interesting that a company with so little was able to surpass Nissan and others as it has/had. Nissan, on the other hand had 3 million different platforms (okay, so I exaggerate a bit) from FWD compacts, to RWD large sedans, to trucks, yet it still couldn’t stay ahead of Honda in volume.

When it comes to FWD vs. RWD and its “necessity” in the luxury/sports market, it’s such a complicated issue. As you said, Americans are a bit more brand/image focused than the rest of the world. I honestly doubt the general buyer gives a damn about which wheels drive what, but BMW’s allegiance to RWD has allowed the press to essential crown them “God of all performance vehicles” and consumers here must have the “best” to one-up their neighbors. As long as Acura sticks to FWD, they’ll likely never be taken seriously by the press, and that DOES hurt their image. Even if people don’t understand why, they just know that an Acura doesn’t have the reputation of a BMW and that could ultimately hinder Acura’s ability to compete head to head with the “best” and charge as much money for their vehicles as BMW and Mercedes does.

Take Infiniti, for example. Even though Acura handily outsells Infiniti, Infiniti’s image is on the rise. Fast. That’s largely because many in the press have picked the G35 sedan and coupe over the BMW 3 Series (Motor Trend, for example) and the FX 35/45 over the Porsche Cayenne. That could, in the end, allow Infiniti to charge more money per vehicle and become more profitable than Acura.

Again, it’s all about image, in my opinion. Lexus sells more trucks per month than the entire Infiniti brand. If people really cared about RWD dynamics, I doubt that would be the case. While it’s admirable that Honda sticks to FWD based on its principles, leaving RWD to its “halo” cars, one could argue is the easy way out. It’s one thing to allow your engineers to go nuts and make an exotic vehicle with a price tag to match and sell it in very low volumes. It’s another to make a dynamic, flexible RWD platform to underpin volume products that are available at reasonable prices.

You have to be at least a little bit interested in what Honda/Acura could do. I sure am.
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Old 08-11-2004, 10:00 PM   #8
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All Honda has to do is create one V8 engine and supercharge it to fit it's models. One reason some people look at Honda(Acura) then at BMW is because of the Horsepower. Americans love power[especially horsepower]! 2.4L 160hp is not enough.

As for the RWD, Honda would eventually have to produce that platform. In saying that, switching to AWD will only make them have to price cars higher(say AWD TL is 35k RWD TL would only be 33k).

The smaller than MDX Luxury SUV is coming out in 07 named the RD-X, based off the 3rd generation CR-V(new Civic platform).
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:38 PM   #9
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Re: Acura Regains Momentum

An interesting article,
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