Acura dealers are assured that its primary plan to become a Tier 1 luxury brand – able to hang with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – is still underway. But according to Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., the key to playing with the big boys isn’t limited to what’s on showroom floors. Colliver told Automotive News, “Having a premium luxury brand is not just about product. It’s the way dealers handle customers. You’ve got to earn your way into the segment. It’s not necessary for you to have a $90,000 sedan to get there.”
Inspite that formula which seems to have been working for Lexus, Acura has different plans. The recently released TSX, RL and TL have set the goal for the next few years, and another crossover, designed to slot in between the RDX and MDX, is currently under development.
It was also confirmed by the Colliver that work on the NSX replacement is “mostly done,” so even though Honda shelved the V10 supercar to cut costs and keep an even keel during the economic downturn, the NSX could be pulled out of the corporate garage, dusted off and brought to market once conditions improve.
Acura’s entry-level image could help the automaker impact the economic downturn better than its rivals from Germany and Japan, but when the market firms up, Acura will need products (with high-output engines and RWD) at the ready to compete with the stalwarts of the luxury set.