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In what DeLorenzo calls the Brand Image Meter here's his take on Acura...

Believe it or not, Acura is supposed to be the best that the Honda Motor Company can muster when it comes to car making. At least that is what it says somewhere in the brief that underpins Acura’s existence. But it’s safe to say that the brand has excelled only intermittently over the years, with the misses far outweighing the hits. Acura executives are **** bent on fixing all of the wrongs that have been perpetrated by the brand prior to right now, but it will take years of product goodness to make consumers forget about the boneheaded decision-making, the crushingly mediocre design efforts and the incomprehensibly average entries that wore the Acura nameplate. Acura’s new formula for future success? Technology for technology’s sake and a steadfast belief that they can deliver a genuine driving difference with real conquest appeal, even though they’ve demonstrated repeatedly that they can’t. As for Acura design? It’s still an oxymoron. Remember, we’re supposed to be talking about the best of Honda here, but it sure doesn’t look or feel like it. Where does the spinning wheel stop on the AE Brand Image Meter for Acura? Well, let’s see, “memorable” is right next to “forgettable.” Good luck ladies and gentlemen, you’re up.
I think he sums up what the real problem with Acura is. Honda. I don't think Honda is content with allowing Acura to be the best Honda has to offer, at least not anymore. Perhaps in the early years yes, but Honda has figured out that they can encroach on Acuras territory more and more without missing a beat. The new Accord is plenty upscale, and world Honda products have been superior to Acura's for some time now.

I think thats where the problem lies. With Acura locked into the US and World Honda handling the upscale slack globally Acura is often forgotten back in Japan. I think Acura NEEDS to be let loose outside of NA. However, because they have been ignored they don't have the product needed to even keep pace with rivals in Europe or Asia. The perfect Catch 22, they need to compete outside to NA to create better product, but they can't escape NA because they don't have the product to get them out...
 

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Could not agree more

I have had type S Acuras going back to the Legend. Acura was always more performance oriented than Honda and the quality/features were always a step up. I now have a 2007 TLS and love the car. Acura gives me no place to go for replacement. I have 286HP HD suspension Brembo brakes. Now, 7 years later, they are going to give me 4HP and a bunch of electronic BS to make it "sport". I have driven the Lexus 350F great car but too small. I was counting on the TLX but now it does not look so good. I know the type S was not a big seller but they did not make enough of a performance car to split it out from the rest of the line. At a minimum they should have used the 310HP version in the new TL or made it an option. Take a lesson from Mercedes, you can get any engine in any model. Its very sad, I have 82000 with not one problem. My wife has had $6000 in warranty repairs on her 2009 SL550 that has 24,000 miles but man what a car. Hate to have to make that coice. Hope Acura comes through this time.:(
 

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Maybe it would be a good idea for Acura to contract out its design. What do I mean by that? Have a design contest where people can submit designs for a new car. People will be happy to enter just for the chance to get chosen, and Acura can steal all the good ideas and hopefully use them to make something great. Its time to start looking outside the box because inside Acura's box, there isn't much.
 

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Maybe it would be a good idea for Acura to contract out its design. What do I mean by that? Have a design contest where people can submit designs for a new car. People will be happy to enter just for the chance to get chosen, and Acura can steal all the good ideas and hopefully use them to make something great. Its time to start looking outside the box because inside Acura's box, there isn't much.
thats not bad, it will help with getting some new minds into it, rather than one's they've partially cultivated to what it seems to be a type of design they must stick by which gets boring and fast
 

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Since 2006, when the RSX was dropped, Acura has completely changed its target demographic from age 25-40 to where they are targeting an age 40 plus audience. This means "safe" designs and high tech doo dads. Not too much power, sell a modest platform with luxury seats and lots of buttons to push.

Granted, I am well past 50, but even I find these designs to be rather ho hum.
 

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Since 2006, when the RSX was dropped, Acura has completely changed its target demographic from age 25-40 to where they are targeting an age 40 plus audience. This means "safe" designs and high tech doo dads. Not too much power, sell a modest platform with luxury seats and lots of buttons to push.

Granted, I am well past 50, but even I find these designs to be rather ho hum.
I'm in that 25-40 age demographic and I like the RSX, the 1st gen TSX, the 3rd TL and this TLX. Targeting the 40+ audience? BS. More like targeting the 30+ audience, serious people, who's ready to settle down, who like being low-key, who has a young family. Abandoning the boyish racers (not that this is wrong; I've been through that phase)
and the single young professionals.

The "safe design" of the 1st gen TSX and 3rd TL contributed to Acura's best selling years for sedans. The RSX (which I owned) was a pretty safe design too.
 

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I think that when you say its for 30 year-olds who are ready to settle down, and like being low-key and have a family, you are basically saying that it is for older people. I don't think that those traits are typical of the average 30 year old. You are basically saying that its for 30 year olds who have given up on being young and are trying to be serious. Not sure if that is the best pitch for Acura to make.
 

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I guess I can understand why some people see it like that but thats not really the case on the grand scheme, maybe for some of it's buyers.
 

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I think that when you say its for 30 year-olds who are ready to settle down, and like being low-key and have a family, you are basically saying that it is for older people. I don't think that those traits are typical of the average 30 year old. You are basically saying that its for 30 year olds who have given up on being young and are trying to be serious. Not sure if that is the best pitch for Acura to make.
You think ready to settle down and to have a family is typically for older than 30-something? Let's agree to disagree then because I really believe that for most people (of course, there are exceptions), being in their 30s is when being flashy, standing out and trying to impress (typically for the dating scene, for instance) are taking a back seat to the more "practical" aspects. Practical as in: gas mileage (because you need to save for the wedding or the house, for example), roominess (for the baby or stuff from the stores... for the future baby), usability (your wife can't drive stick and find the integrated GPS a god sent), etc. You can still have a little fun but it is not THE priority.

For this reason, the typical 30+ y.o. would choose something like the TSX, TL or TLX rather than an IS or an RSX (if that still existed).

By dropping the RSX, Acura simply eliminated the 20-30 y.o. from their target demographic (well, not entirely true because I think the ILX was supposed to cover that market) -- it did not change their target from 25-40 to 40+ . That, IMHO, is complete non-sense. Were the 1st and 2nd gen TSX and 3rd gen TL for 40+???
 

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I think Astro has it spot on. They've simply followed the money. No longer the heaps of cash there once was in the boy racer scene. In fact they've simply grown with those who put them through their glory years.

Yes they have become safe. And safe is the most dangerous predicament in business. It becomes a negative feedback aimed squarely at average opinion.
 
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