Date: February 23, 2004 13:21
'NSXNV' sent the following link to me this morning:
This is an editorial by Dan Lienert entitled "Why Acura Isn't Keeping Up"
Resembling many of the discussions found here in the TOV's news section and discussion forums, the story attempts to explain why Acura's currently "struggling" to keep up with its rivals. To illustrate its point, the piece enumerates several reasons for Acura's identity crisis, including: "Acura's weaknesses are an unexciting image fueled by boring designs, a limited range of vehicles and an underperforming dealer network."
If I can offer my own opinion here, I only partially agree with this particular statement. It's a bit unfair to call Acura's current designs "boring", and I believe the sentence's second point is almost entirely responsible for the third point. I agree that Acura's limited range of vehicles is probably hurting it to some extent, but this is exactly what's leading to "underperforming" dealers - fewer models means fewer sales and less profits per dealership. By not addressing as many segments of the market as their competitors, Acura's not going to be attracting as many shoppers. Plain and simple. This has been a shortcoming of Honda and Acura for a while - they do a great job addressing and capturing young buyers, but when young buyers mature and graduate into ever higher tax brackets, the mostly mainstream offerings from Acura and Honda lose their appeal.
Later in the piece, several questions are posed, with the following series catching my eye: "From a performance standpoint, why are there no eight- or ten-cylinder Acuras? Why is the NSX, which has a volume in the 200s, the only Acura with rear-wheel drive?" This question is ages old by now, and for a while the answer seemed relatively simple: Acura wasn't interested in playing in that space. Now with a new CEO (Takeo Fukui) driving HMC, the possibility exists for some changes to be made. Since he's only been holding the title for less than a year now, it's a little difficult to gauge precisely where Acura's headed, but Mr. Fukui has made several statements indicating that he's not interested in fielding non-competitive vehicles, and that he understands the expectations of the market. Whether that means HMC will see fit to take on the likes of Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc.. on a full-range basis remains to be seen.
Last edited by JeffX on
February 23, 2004 13:31