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Acura, realizing that its sedan sales suck, has announced the less-than-romantically named "Acura Business Planning Office". Sounds like a room full of people doing 50+ page Powerpoint presentations (bleech!).

I hope Acura realizes that their products are the problem and not their "business planning".
Does this announcement mean that Acura has not had some sort self-contained product development and planning group before today?

Honda has created a new business planning office for its Acura brand in a bid to shore up sliding sedan sales at the luxury division.

Acura announced on Monday the formation of the Acura Business Planning Office, which will be led by Erik Berkman, president of Honda R&D Americas. Berkman, who joined Honda in 1982 and helped develop the 2004 Acura TL, will be charged with drumming up demand for Acura's luxury sedans.

Tetsuo Iwamura, Honda's North American head, has previously stated that the company needs to focus on improving sales of its Acura line of vehicles. Acura's SUV lineup, which includes the compact RDX and larger MDX, has been selling well, but deliveries of the brand's ILX, TSX, TL and RLX sedans have slipped by 10 percent.

One of Berkman's first chores as head of the ABPO could be to give Acura a better brand identity.

"Acura for many, many years has been a brand without an identity," Ed Kim, an industry analyst for AutoPacific, told Bloomberg. "They are good, solid, dependable, somewhat premium cars that don't communicate any clear message about what they are. The best luxury brands stand for something."

Acura recently released its all-new RLX flagship sedan and a totally revised TLX - which will replace both the TL and TSX - will hit showrooms later this year. Honda has vowed to update the slow-selling ILX by next year. A high-performance NSX coupe is also on tap for the near future.

Read more: http://www.leftlanenews.com/honda-creates-new-office-to-oversee-acura.html#ixzz2uO8mQPhV
 

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My two cents as a nobody:

1. TLX looks promising- but no manual transmission which is a crime coming from Honda. Release a Type-S model with a 6 speed manual + some sport additions.

2. RLX sport hybrid is too 'blah' for being the top model. Acura should make a V-Sport equivalent of the car, a little more pizazz.

3. ILX = goner
 

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Acura's management and product planning for sedans is ass backwards. They need to figure it out. The MDX and RDX are done right.

1. Drop the V6 FWD RLX as the V6 FWD TLX is going to make it obselete, just like the 2009 TL SH-AWD did to the RL. (How the hell do you screw that up two times?)

2. Fix the ILX; it's not going to require that much work. I believe this is coming for 2015.

3. TLX has to be a knockout and I have high hopes for it. I'm interested in the FWD model with the 8 speed DCT and 4 wheel steering. Should handle even better than the 1st generation TSX and could give RWD competition a run for it's money.
 

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i think they get better brand recognition ..... media / advertisement blitz

they scored very high in reliability

http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/25/consumer-reports-brand-report-cards-lexus-tops/


This 2014 Brand Report Cars edition is the first of a new format in which sub-brands have been broken out from their parent brands, with Acura using this year to move up the leaderboard into second place with a score of 75 for its "reliable, well-finished and somewhat sporty models."
 

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Acura's management and product planning for sedans is ass backwards. They need to figure it out. The MDX and RDX are done right.

1. Drop the V6 FWD RLX as the V6 FWD TLX is going to make it obselete, just like the 2009 TL SH-AWD did to the RL. (How the hell do you screw that up two times?)

2. Fix the ILX; it's not going to require that much work. I believe this is coming for 2015.

3. TLX has to be a knockout and I have high hopes for it. I'm interested in the FWD model with the 8 speed DCT and 4 wheel steering. Should handle even better than the 1st generation TSX and could give RWD competition a run for it's money.
I think they need to restyle the ILX in addition to offering better engine options. It's just awkward and bland looking.

I recently saw the RLX at the autoshow and it was an extreme snoozefest on the exterior. It's insane how bad they can **** up the exterior but totally nail the interior design. It looked and felt really upscale and it was a very enjoyable place to be. The drivetrain options on it are excellent as well. Why can't they design an exciting looking car?

Saw the TLX "concept" as well but couldn't get as close of a look as it was on those spinning displays that was blocked off. I thought it definitely had presence and it looked pretty good but it still didn't have the same effect as the 2004-2008 TL did with me. I still think that is one of the best designed sedans in the last 30 years. Very timeless design. Still looks pretty fresh today. I don't think the same thing will happen with the TLX.
 

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I think they need to restyle the ILX in addition to offering better engine options. It's just awkward and bland looking.

I recently saw the RLX at the autoshow and it was an extreme snoozefest on the exterior. It's insane how bad they can **** up the exterior but totally nail the interior design. It looked and felt really upscale and it was a very enjoyable place to be. The drivetrain options on it are excellent as well. Why can't they design an exciting looking car?

Saw the TLX "concept" as well but couldn't get as close of a look as it was on those spinning displays that was blocked off. I thought it definitely had presence and it looked pretty good but it still didn't have the same effect as the 2004-2008 TL did with me. I still think that is one of the best designed sedans in the last 30 years. Very timeless design. Still looks pretty fresh today. I don't think the same thing will happen with the TLX.
I'll tell you that the current 2014 IS probably won't be a timeless design either. In 10 years we'll probably look back and think "what the hell is that?"

The ILX's biggest issue isn't it's styling. The car is a terrible value and the engine choices are lackluster. As for the RLX; it's understated in appearance and looks good on the road IMO. The Hybrid will be the only one worth going for though.

The TLX looks just like the 3rd gen TL to me which is a good thing. I think it will look good for a long time.
 

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1. Return the RSX as an upscale coupe/convertible only.

2. Bring back the Type S to all models and make it mean something like it did a few years ago when you got power, styling, all the things that make it an S.

3. Restyle the nose on all cars. Although I will say the 2010/11 TSX styling is growing on me as of late. Great CPO car potential.

4. Bump the 4 cylinder motor to something more than 215. Join the turbo crowd and get som FI in your cars.
 

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Just kill Acura.

Offer upmarket and sporty vehicles under the Honda label.

- ILX should die. It looks good but it doesn't fit Honda design language.
- The upcoming TLX should be chaulked up as a business loss and scraped. Take the powertrain and offer a real Accord Sport with the torque vectoring hybrid drivetrain.
- The RLX can become an upmarket Honda model. Keep the hybrid only powertrain and just sell it as the Legend.
- Replace the Pilot with the MDX and offer a lower market stripped model to keep it budget friendly.
- Carry the V6 in the RDX and offer an upmarket and more powerful CRV trim level.
- Let the ZDX stay dead.
- NSX can be a Honda. Price it the same. Nobody buying one will care about the badge.
 

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Just kill Acura.

Offer upmarket and sporty vehicles under the Honda label.

- ILX should die. It looks good but it doesn't fit Honda design language.
- The upcoming TLX should be chaulked up as a business loss and scraped. Take the powertrain and offer a real Accord Sport with the torque vectoring hybrid drivetrain.
- The RLX can become an upmarket Honda model. Keep the hybrid only powertrain and just sell it as the Legend.
- Replace the Pilot with the MDX and offer a lower market stripped model to keep it budget friendly.
- Carry the V6 in the RDX and offer an upmarket and more powerful CRV trim level.
- Let the ZDX stay dead.
- NSX can be a Honda. Price it the same. Nobody buying one will care about the badge.
I agree with this. Kill Infiniti and Lexus while you're at it too. :screwy:
 

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Just kill Acura.

Offer upmarket and sporty vehicles under the Honda label.
This won't happen, but I'd love it if it did. I'd rather they focus on creating awesome Hondas instead of half-hearted fake luxury cars. The GT-R is badged as a Nissan and not an Infiniti, after all. Basically, I think Honda has the engineering talent to become a premium brand in it's own right -- not like BMW and Mercedes, but more like how in Europe BMW can sell diesel 1-series hatchbacks, M3s, and 7-series under the same brand. I'd like to see Honda sell Fits and Civics in America while at the same time stealing Cadillac/Hyundai Genesis/Lexus sales with a technological tour-de-force Honda sedan.

Then again, Americans might not be willing to pay such a price for a "mere Honda", no matter how great the product is.
 

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I agree with this. Kill Infiniti and Lexus while you're at it too. :screwy:
Toyota has proven it can built a luxury brand US consumers take seriously. Lexus also does better than the other Japanese luxury brands in Europe and China. Better being perhaps an all too generous statement :D

Infiniti has a list of issues to be sure but the basic recipee is there. Engines and drivetrain configurations that are not cut & paste from an Altima or Maxima. I'm sure having several less than useful CUV models in the lineup doesn't help with sales.

Acura has pretty much come to depend on the CUV market. The MDX is the only product I'd call anywhere near class leading. The RLX might be interesting and more popular if it was built here in NA and sold for thousands less on all trim levels. Otherwise Acura global presence is lackluster. The unique factors that make Acura better than Honda are not there. The few true technology leaps in the Acura brand are being killed off (no more SH-AWD for the RDX) Models like the NSX can be sold as a Honda (Just like in Europe). Vehicles designed to please enthusiasts don't need an Acura badge.
 

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I think Honda has to realize that it cannot sell "sufficient" cars in a luxury brand. Sufficient is fine for mainstream stuff but it doesn't work for luxury cars. It probably doesn't help that Acura's sufficient cars of the 90s and early 2000s were so head and shoulders above the rest that their sufficient was beyond the pale for other luxury brands. I think that success was a blessing and a curse.

Even if their I4s an V6s are sufficient, they need turbos and such to draw people in. When you're buying luxury, you're buying excess. Even if it's not "in your face" Rolls Royce Phantom excess, you're going for excess when you sign on the dotted line for something with the three-point star or four rings or a roundel or stylized L.
 

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Acura has pretty much come to depend on the CUV market. The MDX is the only product I'd call anywhere near class leading. The RLX might be interesting and more popular if it was built here in NA and sold for thousands less on all trim levels. Otherwise Acura global presence is lackluster. The unique factors that make Acura better than Honda are not there. The few true technology leaps in the Acura brand are being killed off (no more SH-AWD for the RDX) Models like the NSX can be sold as a Honda (Just like in Europe). Vehicles designed to please enthusiasts don't need an Acura badge.
The problem I have with this theory is that Acura really only began struggling with sedans in 2009 with the introduction of the beak. They were doing fine before that. I can't name one brand that has ever not gone through a period of time when one or more of their cars weren't exactly class leading. BMW is going through it now with the F30 3 series and F10 5 series, Mercedes went through this in the early 2000's, Lexus didn't have anything more interesting than Acura up to 2013, and until 2003 Infiniti was 10X worse off than Acura.

The answer to Acura's problems isn't to close down the brand and sell Acura's as Honda's. I know plenty of people who would never in a million years pay $55,000 dollars for a Honda, but they sure as hell would for an Acura (MDX). Hell, I know people who would have issues paying $35,000 for an Accord Touring, but they would pay that for a TSX or TL. Acura has more prestige than we give them credit. Honda is a respected company and people know Honda and Acura are related so they have no qualms buying their cars.

As for Acura's global presence. They're working on moving into Australian and Chinese markets right now. This is no different than Infiniti.

The SH-AWD RDX was designed to please enthusiasts and it was a sales failure. I believe Acura's choice in making it appeal to the mass market was a wise one. Most people buying Acura's aren't enthusiasts and it's the same for Lexus and besides, why would an enthusiast need a Mercedes, BMW or Audi badge?
 

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Just kill Acura.

Offer upmarket and sporty vehicles under the Honda label.

- ILX should die. It looks good but it doesn't fit Honda design language.
- The upcoming TLX should be chaulked up as a business loss and scraped. Take the powertrain and offer a real Accord Sport with the torque vectoring hybrid drivetrain.
- The RLX can become an upmarket Honda model. Keep the hybrid only powertrain and just sell it as the Legend.
- Replace the Pilot with the MDX and offer a lower market stripped model to keep it budget friendly.
- Carry the V6 in the RDX and offer an upmarket and more powerful CRV trim level.
- Let the ZDX stay dead.
- NSX can be a Honda. Price it the same. Nobody buying one will care about the badge.
HUH????

Thats what Acura already is. Why kill it to do the same thing?

Despite what some of TCL thinks Acura is still doing okay. Yes they have some challenges ahead, but it nothing they cant fix with the proper leadership.
 

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As for Acura's global presence. They're working on moving into Australian and Chinese markets right now. This is no different than Infiniti.
Acura isn't anywhere close to Infiniti in global expansion. Infiniti has planned and is actively opening stores worldwide in most markets, aspiring to become global premium brand as Lexus has done.

Acura on other hand has made no such aspirations known - making it clear that they will still be primarily a regional brand. They're still primarily a North American brand, seeking to compliment that with a few other places like China - a place every manufacturer and premium brand is going.
 
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