Acura is Not Interested in a Subcompact SUV; Aims to Always Put Performance over Luxury
The launch of the redesigned 2019 Acura RDX marks an important time in Acura’s business. Honda’s performance brand has been on the right side of business recently, and the introduction of the new RDX gives the automaker another model to offer to the public. Should the RDX become a success, it could convince Acura to beef up its lineup with a smaller, subcompact SUV. That may be a possibility in the future, but for the moment, don’t expect to see one, at least according to Acura Division general manager Jon Ikeda.
Acura Will Uppercut BMW and Audi with the Fifth-Gen Acura RDX and RDX A-Spec at the New York Auto Show
Now that SUVs reign supreme and account for a huge chunk of sales, automakers are pushing them harder than a drug dealer pushes crack on the street. And, that’s exactly why Acura’s next big move after updating the RLX is to breath new life into the RDX nameplate. Moving into its third generation, the new RDX will be the first Acura SUV to adorn the A-Spec badge and styling and will be graced with an all-new 2.0-liter, turbocharged, VTEC, and an efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. Acura’s even going all out by bring in an Integrated Dynamics System with some NSX DNA and to make things even better, this baby was conceived, styled, and built right here in the great U.S.A.
Acura NSX GT3 To Be Sold Globally
In case you were somehow unaware, let me be the first to tell ya – GT3 racing is an awesome spectacle. Imagine a long line of production-based competition vehicles hailing from some of the biggest names in automotive performance. Forget the V-8-powered metal shells of NASCAR and the unobtanium spaceships of Formula 1 – GT cars are actually somewhat recognizable as iterations of their street-legal counterparts, plus the requisite aero enhancements, of course. For well-heeled individuals interested in playing race car driver, the GT3 class makes for a tempting adventure, especially with all the customer racing options now offered direct from the factory. Now, Acura is sweetening the pot with this – the NSX GT3 race car, available to anyone with an extra $500,000 to burn and an insatiable need for speed.
Offered for purchase globally in anticipation of the 2018 race season, the NSX GT3 is close in spec to the street machine, but with some notable differences – for example, the hybrid AWD system was replaced with RWD and gas-only power. Honda Performance Development is taking orders now, starting at 465,000 Euros, or $546,491 at current exchange rates (07/28/2017). North American buyers are directed to browse AcuraClientRacing.com, while MUGEN2 is handling sales in Japan. Buyers in the rest of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East are advised to contact JAS Motorsport. Acura and Honda are also offering customers access to “parts and service,” as well as “training and engineering services,” if needed. Read on for more info on the car.
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Acura Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary With A Special Marketing Campaign
Acura was founded as a luxury division of Honda on March 27th, 1986, which means this year marks the brand’s 30th anniversary. Adding to 30 years of success is the fact that Acura has become the leading luxury brand to millennial buyers, as it has the highest share of millennial customers among all luxury brands. That said, Acura has launched a new advertising campaign to help it celebrate all of its success.
The new marketing campaign includes a new 60-second ad titled “30 Years Young.” The video is narrated by Michael B. Jordan and depicts a quick rundown of Acura’s history. It’s a pretty hard feat to accomplish in 60 seconds, but the ad starts off showing the original Acura NSX, and some historical images and footage. Halfway through the video, we see Acura engineers working, then shortly after the screen is graced a quick slide show of each Acura model and eventually ends with the new Acura NSX as it barrels down a desert road. Don’t take my word for it, though. If you’re a fan of Acura, you’ll want to watch the clip for yourself.
Jon Ikeda, the Vice President and General Manager of Acura, said, “The Acura brand is 30 years young, and we wanted this spot to communicate the energy, excitement, and optimism that surrounds Acura at this important moment in our history. As we continue to focus on advancing our Precision Crafted Performance DNA, we are excited at how this direction is resonating with our millennial customers.”
The campaign kicks off this week with the 60-second commercial airing on broadcast television, and there will also be 15-second ads featured on the brand’s social channels. By the end of the month, Acura dealerships should be sporting 30th-anniversary posters and “collateral.”
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Since its launch in 1989, Lexus has worked hard to through its dealer network and post-purchase programs to be among the best when it comes to customer satisfaction, and this year Lexus has finally surpassed Mercedes-Benz to stand at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Automobiles Report for 2015.
The Toyota-owner luxury brand scored 84 out of 100 percent, good enough to top Mercedes’ score of 83, which was down by three percent from last year. BMW, meanwhile, improved by three percent to 82, and Acura was the most improved of any company in the world, posting a whopping eight-percent gain to tie Mercedes and Lincoln at 83.
BMW and Acura were actually the only two companies to improve on their score from 2014. On average, customer satisfaction ratings decreased by 3.7 percent to 79. It’s the lowest average score the ACSI has recorded since it started in 2004, but it might not necessarily be because of bad dealership experiences or poor customer service.
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At its core, the 2016 Acura ILX will always be a fancy version of the Honda Civic, but Acura has gone to great lengths in the latest model year to put as much distance as possible between the economy-minded Honda and Acura’s entry-level sedan. Acura has left no stone unturned in updating the 2016 ILX, and the most important change may have been moving production to Honda’s plant in Marysville, OH, which began rolling the new ILX off the line earlier this week.
If for nothing else, Acura can now boast that the ILX sedan is built in the same plant as Honda’s best-selling Accord, the all-new Acura TLX sedan and – by the end of this year – the long-awaited Acura NSX. That said, it’s not just the new assembly plant that Acura is counting on to improve this car. Acura also the 2016 model a refreshed exterior with a more current design language, a more advanced and more efficient powertrain, and a more refined interior, which are all elements luxury buyers demand.
In addition to kicking off the production of the reworked 2016 ILX, Acura is also celebrating key sales and production milestones by announcing that it has now built and sold two million North American-made vehicles in the U.S. since 1995 – the year Acura began building the CL at Honda’s East Liberty, OH plant. Last year, however, a full 94 percent of Acura’s U.S. sales came from vehicles that were made in America – a number that will improve in 2015. After the cancellation of the TSX, the only curent Acura product not produced in the U.S. is the Japan-built RLX sedan.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Acura ILX.
Acura’s brand-new TLX sedan is the subject of a stop-sale order about four months since being shipped to U.S. dealerships. According to Automotive News, Honda notified dealers to stop selling TLX models equipped with the nine-speed automatic due to a faulty parking lock that could cause the vehicles to roll away despite the push-button shifter indicating the sedan is in park mode.
There’s no word as to how many TLXs are affected by this issue, but Auto News TV reports that Acura sold more than 15,000 units as of December 2014. However, not all TLXs are equipped with a nine-speed auto, which is exclusive to the 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Sedans powered by the 2.4-liter inline-four are sold with an eight-speed dual-clutch. The nine-speed version retails from $35,220.
Honda plans to start notifying customers about the recall January 6th, 2015. All affected TLXs will have their faulty parking lock replaced at Acura dealerships free of charge.
Click past the jump to read more about the Acura TLX.
Nearly every automotive brand has its own little gimmick. Ford has its blue oval, Chevy has its bow-tie, Buick has its shields, and on it goes. Acura, however, never really developed a gimmick until recently and it certainly made up for its lack of said gimmick by making one for the ages.
Acura’s newfound gimmick was what it dubbed “the shield” or as us automotive buffs have dubbed it “the beak.” As of late, Acura has received a good bit of flack regarding said beak, and even its own design head admits that it went “a little overboard at some points” when speaking about “the shield.”
According to multiple reports, however, Acura has no plans to drop the beak any time soon, but it may massage it a little on certain models. We already saw that the nose was slightly reduced on the ILX, though it was still pretty large. The NSX Concept was another that looked as if the beak was trimmed back a little bit, but it was also still very noticeable.
It’s one thing to have your own little niche carved out in automotive history, but it’s another thing when that niche suddenly becomes the focal point for your cars. We are willing to bet that “the shield” gets trimmed down over the next few years and the largest cut down just may happen when Acura finally releases the production NSX.
Then again, car companies can be a little stubborn when it comes to admitting failure and letting designs linger around for way too long, so we may be in for several decades of this massive beak. Only time will tell.
Patent filings are sometimes the bane of secretive automaker’s existence. They try to sneak up and surprise the buyer by holding their cards close to their chest and not letting any information out about a new car. Well, the problem is that they need to patent these ideas to prevent other manufacturers from catching wind of their designs and stealing them. Then, you have savvy media folk that scour patent filings and dig up dirt on them, a la the Chevy SS, Cadillac ELR, Buick Electra, and so on.
We caught a glimpse of the 2014 Acura RLX concept car and its glorious beak in April and we were somewhat underwhelmed by it. Well, the savvy folk at Car and Driver recently dug up a patent from Europe showing what they are claiming to be the official production model 2014 RLX. Surprisingly, Acura’s production patent, or so it’s claimed to be, looks very much like the concept car. It appears that the only things that are different are the front lip design and the way the exhaust integrates into the bumper, which was far and away the coolest feature on the Concept RLX.
Unfortunately, the production RLX looks like it will retain the goofy looking “Jewel Eye” headlights, which are the two stacks of five LED lights making up the front headlights. On first glance, the “Jewel Eye” headlights did look a little neat, but it was definitely more of a novelty deal, as they now just look odd.
For those in favor of the ginormic Acura schnoz, don’t fear, as it appears to be in the same massive form as it was in at the NY International Auto Show.
Again, the true question is whether these actually are production images or just Acura patenting the basic RLX concept. Only time will tell, as we expect to see the real deal 2014 RLX in L.A. in November.
In an interview with Automotive News, John Watts, product planning manager for American Honda’s struggling luxury-car division said that Acura is considering new models: "We will look at smaller segments," Watts said at a recent press event here. "There is potential for a coupe like the CL," which was killed after the 2003 model year.