Honda’s struggling Acura brand wishes to reverse its fortunes by developing a credibility for sporty hybrid vehicles that provide smart performance.
The best advice for a high-end brand is, “Be who you are,” Acura general manager Jon Ikeda stated over dinner as he prepared to present the brand’s freshened TLX sedan.
The renewed focus on performance and hybrid technology harken back to Acura’s origins and Honda’s short status as the market’s hybrid leader.
It’s a difficult proposition, particularly knowing Acura’s over-reliance on sedans in a market declining them in favor of SUVs.
“We are a performance brand,” not a high-end marque, said Ikeda, who moved into Acura management after 26 years as a designer.
There’s some reality to that, but Acura has didn’t had a focused image for most of the brand’s 31-year presence. Honda created it to be Japan’s very first high end brand, offering cars just in the United States Acura now likewise present in China, and Honda anticipates it to eventually be an international brand.
However there’s a lot of work to be done. Acura’s U.S. sales have dropped as the majority of luxury brands increased, and its sedan-heavy model line runs out touch with the pattern to SUVs.
The brand’s blurry identity comes from the fact that while it initially rebadged performance automobiles from Honda, the primary brand also coveted those high-profile designs.
It was a sibling competition the smaller and younger Acura was destined to lose. Honda’s philosophical focus on efficiency further limited the brand by keeping it from establishing the rear-wheel-drive and V-8 luxury and performance that assisted nouveau luxe brands Lexus, Infiniti and Genesis make their mark.
“Acura got puzzled regarding what the brand represented and fell off people’s consideration lists,” IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley stated.
Acura’s local nature worsened the situation. In addition to competing with Honda for the hottest vehicles based upon high-volume platforms, Acura’s flagship NSX cars offers as a Honda in much part of the world, denying Acura the chance to utilize the advanced exotic hybrid to generate excitement and demand.
Although the NSX is the design template for the image Acura wishes for. It looks like a million dollar and is a relative bargain at $156,000.
Its extremely advanced innovation consists of an aluminum chassis and body, mid-engine V-6, zero to 60 miles per hour times of 3 seconds or less and all-wheel drive with 2 electrical motors driving the front wheels. The only equivalent unique cars came from Ferrari and Porsche and expense from $845,000 to $1.4 million.