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Acura in the 21st Century

Acura started to turn things around at the turn of the millenium. Based upon the 6th generation Honda Accord, which debuted in the 1998 model year, the 1999 TL was a strong seller that offered solid performance, a nice list of luxury features and a rock bottom price. In 2000, Acura launched Honda's first fully home-grown SUV - the 2001 MDX. This was an instant success and suddenly Acura dealers had a big-ticket item that was in huge demand. Next up was the replacement for the ancient 3rd generation Integra - the RSX. While the RSX is a good car, in the grand scheme its introduction was a relatively minor event. In early 2003, the TSX (essentially a rebadged 7th generation European Accord) was inserted into the lineup. It was an instant hit with both the motoring press and the target market. Closely following the TSX was the 3rd generation TL, which transformed the image of the TL virtually overnight. It too has enjoyed very strong sales. Unfortunately, the Paleolithic 3.5RL would not be put out of its misery until 2005. It had been rotting on the vine for so long it was beginning to fossilize, yet prior to the arrival of the '05 RL, little was known about what lay ahead for the RL.

Considering the long and painful history of the first generation RL's sales performance, a logical person might conclude that Acura has been taking an improper approach to the luxury market. Honda's full of bright people, and Acura's been on a pretty good roll lately, so surely the new RL would be a dynamite seller, right? Maybe not. Take a look at the graphic to the right. Sales of the 2005 RL started out at a decent pace, but they begain trending downwards in the third quarter of '05, with sales dropping precipitously in the 4th quarter of 2005 and on into the first quarter of 2006. In the first two months of 2006, the numbers look particually appalling - 782 units sold nationwide in January and 712 in February 2006. Uh-oh. The target for the RL is 20000 units annually, and while the RL only fell about 1400 units shy of target in its first 12 month selling period, at the current selling pace, 2006 may see fewer than 10000 RLs sold. In related news, sales of Maalox in the greater Torrance area are through the roof.

Is the RL really that bad of a car? Absolutely not. In fact, we think it's quite a superb car. So what's going on? Where are the sales? Well, on the following pages we will examine some of the contributing factors.



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Subject Thread Originator Replies Last Post
  Well written, good analysis, don't agree
danielgr 6
  Maybe Honda's a LEADER and all the rest of you are FOLLOWERS
Prox Enmity 16
  It's a brand problem too ...
fortan 2
  If Audi can do it....
Dhaas 0
  Where would HMC get the V8s?
civic_cx_92 35
  Heres the fix Jeff, whats your thoughts?
HONDA AFVM 1
  Decision makers in Honda...
notyper 4
  if Victoria secret had mediocre models....
Acuradrian 0
  Interesting article in Edmunds
nourvtec 1
  The cure
osaze 0
  Great article! How about the FR layout in S2K
vtecrocks 2
  generation and demographics
canuck-in-NY 0
  What about a Hybrid V6?
stevemk 0
  And yes.. dump the onstar.
rkn 0
  I want to stay with Honda Motors
nourvtec 0
  BIGGER BETTER THINGS TO COME...
Acuradrian 9
  I think FR layout is possible!!!!
magueto 3
  Lux market is not easy
Oldjack 2
  How to fix the RL
6SPDTL 4
  V10?
Honda-D 5
  The Arrogance of Honda
akal50 4
  As the Quote Says...
honda_freak 0
  The disaster that was the first-gen RL
dampflok 1
  The consumer Reports effect
6SPDTL 2
  RL's profile is a HUGE problem
Great_Tubimi 3
  SH-AWD letdown
6SPDTL 14
  Beautifully Written Article
Obsessed 15
  Now I get to say: "I told You So!"
Paul Perakos 1
  Question for Jeff
BB25 4
  Another classic case of TC Mits
Mr-914 6
  funny
iNteGRaz92 4
  GIVE THE RL POWER, POWER, POWER
fortan 0
  Excellent Article!
James Robinson 5
  ??MUGEN??
LOUDERMIKE 1
  my take
SoR 0
  What the RL needs for MMC
ducmnguyen 0
  On the dot.
alisperling 0
  excellent analysis
zapata 0
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TOV First Drive: 2018 Honda Accord
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2018 Honda Accord Specifications and Features (FINAL)
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2018 Honda Accord Hybrid PR Photo Gallery
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2018 Accord Touring 2.0T PR Photo Gallery
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2018 Accord Touring 1.5T PR Photo Gallery
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2018 Honda Accord Sport 2.0T PR Photo Gallery
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