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  TOV News > Forbes.com article: "Acura: The Honda That Didn't" > > the "luxury" car paradox

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sooperman12
Profile for sooperman12
eight-tenths [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 11:08
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i tend to read all the responses to threads that bash hondas, because, not only do i want to see and hear what people have to say, but also get a good chuckle in the morning by some of the utterly ignorant responses. true, they are your opinions, as this is mine. of course, i expect some hate from this post.

there is some truth to the forbes article. i think acura had a lot more brand loyalty when they had full names to the cars, i.e., legend, integra, etc. although you cannot seriously fault the lack of sales to a name, as the rsx is selling like hot cakes eventhough its no longer "integra." the rl just got lost in the fold probably because of styling and it being out-dated.

however, i submit this to you: do you really think toyota/lexus would really take a hit if they began offering the ls430 in a v8/FRONT-wheel drive? i thought some responses brought a very interesting point: how about the es300? or the i35?

face the facts: honda/acura are not going to build a v8 for any of their car line-ups. so, to rant and rave about "why wont honda just build a v8 in the rl," is pointless. theyre not going to do it. it will be more like what is going around the news/rumor mill - its going to be something like a v6/IMA+AWD.

i think we should try to understand what honda/acura is doing and back the brand that we love. i know that if im buying a car, im going to buy the best car available. to me, nothing beats honda reliability. this will always beat another brand, hands-down, over performance. why? for a couple of reasons:

1) id rather be driving than waiting for my car to get out of the shop. id rather keep the money from a car thats low maintenance than spend the money on a part i have to have shipped from somewhere-burg, germany.

2) when am i going to take my luxury boat of a vehicle, or any vehicle for that matter above 8/10ths driving to even feel the benefits of things like RWD or 300+ hp from a honking v8?

i think most of the haters here on vtec fail to realize the promise that honda makes to its loyal customers and those smart enough to switch brands to honda/acura. they will get:

1) a green car, no doubt. lev, ulev, sulev, and, in the future, nev (no-emission vehicles).
2) honda reliability (hands down, hondas are the most reliable, even over toyota).
3) safety (more on this later).
4) fun-to-drive: hondas are fun to drive. if anyone has taken out an itr for a spin, or even an rsx-s, cl-s you know that honda makes, hands down, the best performing front wheel drive cars in the world. is it a wonder why the real-time racing itr, and now rsx-s, provide the smack down over their 3-series competitors? hondas are fun to drive, and the tsx will prove the same.

i mentioned safety, earlier. one of the things people dont remember is the front-wheel drive cars are generally safer than rear-wheel drive cars in slippery conditions (the whole idea of whats more stable - santas sled being pushed by reindeer or pulled by reindeer). i think one of the reasons honda/acura have been so stout on fwd cars is the simply, for the majority of people, NO ONE is going to drive their cars at 8/10ths or even 6/10ths, that they would see the benefits of rwd. in that case, safety over 8/10ths performance, give the public fwd cars that 80% of them can handle. for those 5-10% of people that want to race on public roads, well, thats a whole other story.

so, i submit to you guys, AGAIN, the ones that are bashing hondas decision making... like this forbes guy, know and see the full picture of what honda is doing. they arent stupid. they didnt become the second largest japanese car maker and the maker of the top-selling cars in america because they are dumb. they market smart vehicles to a population of people who appreciate those vehicles. trust me, as a past honda dealer, i cant tell you how many thanks i receive from people who i have helped switch brand loyalty over to hondas. none of them have regretted switching to honda - why?

simply, honda makes great cars. period.

for those who fault the nsx - yes, its an old design, but remember that its the sole remaining japanese supercar in north america and europe, and still holds it own in japan. what other car can do a 0-60 sprint in under 5 seconds with a naturally aspirated v-6? not many and thats a testiment to hondas racing experience and technology.

my two-cents...

cksi1372
Profile for cksi1372
Re: eight-tenths [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 11:37
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Good post sooperman12. I'm with ya. Can Acura improve some areas in their lineup? Sure, but it's hardly as bad as the article or others make it sound.
DangerDog
Profile for DangerDog
engineering for engineering sake [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 11:41
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I totally agree that Honda makes great cars.

But keep in mind, Forbes isn't a car magazine. It's a business magazine. It doesn't care if the car does 0-60 under 5 seconds, or if it's a naturally aspirated V6 engine under the hood. It cares about the bottom line -- is it good business.

Honda makes great cars. But some times it feels like it's a company run by engineers. Nothing wrong with at for those of us who cares about how many horse power we can squeeze out per liter. But it doesn't always hit the bullseye when its time to maximize business potential -- the all mighty profit figure, which is the force behind rate of growth, R&D spending, and market share.

That's what Forbe is getting at. And he is pretty much on the mark. Too often, Honda did engineering for engineering sake.

Look at Honda's entry into the SUV market. While everyone else has long been in it since the early 90's, making more money than they can wipe their butts with, Honda sat there and chanted "more power from smaller engines". Then when it finally got through to them, there is a lot of money to be made, they went and rebadged some Isuzu in a poor attempt to cash in.

That's just an example of what Honda needs to improve. The engineering department is more than competent. It's time to pay more attention to the business department, marketing department, and finiancial department. Engineers belongs in the development labs, not in the board room.

n8dog82
Profile for n8dog82
AMEN!!!!! [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 11:42
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One reason I like (and enjoy selling) hondas/acuras is because they don't sell out. Why put a v8 in the RL? because everyone else is doing it? instead lets come up with something better in typical honda fashion, which is what they are doing for the 05 RL (high hp from v6 awd).

Whats the big deal with more cylinders anyways? rsx out performs the VR6 VWs and V6 Tiboron. TSX has more power than its main competitor 325i with a I-6. mdx has 260 out of a v6 and out performs most v8 suvs. And all the acuras get better gas milage and are all at least LEV!

I think the Acuras are selling well. the new 99 TL had a waiting list. Very a very short time we had no RSXs on the lot either. The MDX is still on a list 3 years later. and I have no doubt the TSX will be soon. The RL doesnt sell cause it is dated. I have no doubt the 04 TL and the 05 RL will crush the competition and be on a waiting list when they come out too. (with V6s)

I hope Honda never goes to V8 rwd just because I know they can do better than that and I am sure we will all see the big picture once we see and drive these new models.

RayChuang
Profile for RayChuang
Re: eight-tenths [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 11:54
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If Honda is going to do something with their new RL model now in final development they can do something that will amaze everybody: put the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid drivetrain in to the new RL model.

I've heard rumors the IMA on the new RL will be a 200 bhp gasoline engine assisted by a 100 bhp electric motor; such a car will have performance likely superior to the current RL but with 50% better fuel economy! This is something that NO other luxury car manufacturer can boast, unless Toyota decides to apply their hybrid technology to their Lexus LS, ES or IS models.

Accordian
Profile for Accordian
Re: eight-tenths [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 15:34
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See my response : 'Couple of Misleading facts/numbers..?'
dydx
Profile for dydx
Re: Forbes isn't a car magazine [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-08-2003 20:05
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DangerDog wrote:
I totally agree that Honda makes great cars.

But keep in mind, Forbes isn't a car magazine. It's a business magazine. It doesn't care if the car does 0-60 under 5 seconds, or if it's a naturally aspirated V6 engine under the hood. It cares about the bottom line -- is it good business.



Exactly. Considering that another of its article lauded Honda for making the most profit per car while having an R&D budget that's merely a fraction of what the other players have, I don't understand this guy's rant.

Someone above made it a point that Acura is does not share in Honda's profit bank. That person should look at how people are waiting for the MDX and paying at least MSRP.
The Acura lineup has 7 models (RSX, NSX, TSX, MDX, CL,TL,RL). The CL and the RL are the only two weak links in terms of sales. Sales of the NSX has actually improved since the last refresh. So Forbes, being a business magazine, should focus on those. Oh wait, if they did, they wouldn't have something to rant about.

DangerDog
Profile for DangerDog
Forbes have valid points [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-09-2003 10:59
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He is rightfully asking the question: why did Acura, who was once ahead of BMW, Mercedes, and 4 years ahead of Lexus end up last of the 4 in term of market share, prestiege, and maybe profit as well.

The fact that people are paying MSRP doesn't reflect good business. In fact, I think it reflects good engineering but poor business practice.

Does Honda make any more money when people pay MSRP or more per car? No. It doesn't. It's the dealers who are laughing their way to the bank. Honda only make the invoice regardless whether someone paid $1 over invoice or $1,000,000 over invoice.

NSX is a nice technology demonstrator, but profit wise, it's just bad business. Had Honda Acura put that money on making the MDX in the 90's, Acura would have made far more money, and could have used that money to build more factories and do more research, and gain a larger market share. But they didn't.

I admire the great engineering jobs, and Honda's engineering tradition. But Honda made quite a few mistakes in the past by spending too much effort into niche products, lost focus on where the money is really at and ended up milking the money cows last. In the end, it's profit that fuels R&D and manufacturing, which results in growth. If Honda wants to be #1 someday, it need to focus on business more. Keep up the great job with designs Honda, just put them where the money is and you will be all set.

jes98gsr
Profile for jes98gsr
the "luxury" car paradox [View News Item]    (Score: 1, Normal) 04-09-2003 15:28
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At first puke, this seems like a lightly disguised "German is better" article written by someone who doesn't follow motorsports and is overwhelming influenced by superfluous badge marketeering.
Something more rational to throw in the mix is that the "luxury" market segment has changed drastically in the last 15yrs. Flint doesn't seem to grasp this. More and more customers have plunked down more cash for cars, whether lease or buy. There are several demographic forces driving this. An Autoweek column offered a clear and concise view of the modern "luxury" market. Basically, if every car sold offers leather and all the fluffy stuff, what defines the "luxury" market? It's a subtle question, and a good one.

Autoweek column

I also think it's somewhat naive to look at total sales numbers independent of de facto manufacturing capability. Toyota and Mercedes are heavy hitters in terms of corporate production capacity. BMW and Honda aren't, or haven't been until recently. BMW has done admirably worldwide, and it could be argued that as an "independent" like Honda, it's been a better Honda than Honda. If that makes any sense.

DangerDog, you're making the distinction that H/A is an engineering company. That's exactly right. And that's exactly why I admire their cars and own one of them.

-James


 
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