Sunday, February 8, 2009

Acura! Are you guys crazy?

One time my brother and I decided to have a couple friends over to our house. While I had gone to bed, out little gathering, without gaining any new guests, had morphed our house into a dance club. I think everyone was having a great time but the music was too loud and carrying over to the neighbors. The racket only stopped when a friend came in uninvited and screamed, "Are you guys crazy."

Acura has lost its way and is desperately in need of the same savior we had that one night. The directors of product development must have developed amnesia (or suffer from a lack of creativity) because with news of v6 power for the TSX, their range has more overlap than a health car provider. Do the product planners really see a niche for a v6 TSX, when Acura already has their work cut out marketing the new cheese-grater TL. What Acura needs is someone to interrupt the party by screaming; Are you crazy? As we did, Acura will realize they most certainly are.

There is only room for so many similarly equipped front wheel drive cars in a model range. The RL was initially well received, yet has now been usurped by the imposing new TL. This v6 TSX will undoubtably serve as the cast cow, taking buyers from the base TL. This also begs another question, will the 280 estimated horsepower of this new engine be coupled will available AWD, further diminish the need to purchase a TL? I am willing to be so. When you only have three sedans, that all are nearly indistinguishable from on another in features, options, and style, no idiot is going to walk into the showroom and pick the most expensive on to take home. Its like saying here are three coffee machines, they all do the same thing, all are made by the same company, only that one of the left costs half as much as the one on the right. You don't even have to shop around to find a bargain at an Acura dealer now, because the product planners have already done that for you.

The current Acura slogan is "Advance." The million dollar question is where are they advancing? Without RWD, Acura can never be uttered in the same sentence as Lexus, Infiniti or BMW. (Even Cadillac) Right now, it appears the only company Acura appears to be advancing towards is Lincoln. Could Acura be becoming the Lincoln of Japanese automakers? I think so. Look at the similarities between their respective model ranges and their entire corporations. Lincoln has evolved into a Ford trim badge (and with the new Taurus adopting the Kinetic language I wonder if this badge even had any merit). The same much can be said for Acura if you ignore SH-AWD, all the models are based off of FWD platforms with roots in economy cars. Granted Hondas may have a better start to life than Lincolns.  The MDX is a Pilot with a serving plate for a grill and one less seat. The TSX is a Honda Accord (transplanted from Europe), and the TL and RL are both gussied up Accords. With news of the cancellation of the NSX replacement and the RWD RL, it appears that this advance is not going anywhere.

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