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Old 07-04-2013, 12:47 AM
  #361  
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It's not about market share, it's about PROFIT. Honda doesn't seem to care about market share. I believe Honda started the Acura brand in 1986 simply as a way to extend their current platforms, spread out fixed costs, enhance economies of scale and increase PROFIT.

Originally Posted by Rocket_man View Post
Lately I feel it hasn't been so much 'Acura Advance' but more like 'Acura Good Enough'

- Can we still sell the car with a 6-speed tranny? Would 7 be better? Maybe but 6 is good enough.
- Do we need rear vents in the back of our luxury SUV? It might be better for the image of the car and make our customers experience in the rear seats better, but people will still buy it.. so put a little cubby hole there instead and call it 'good enough.'
- Height adjustment on the passenger seat? Most of our customers are exactly the same height and that seat height adjustment is really tricky... we'll still sell them without it, so let's call it 'good enough.'
- 2.0L engine in a car that reviewers say are underpowered? Well someone is buying them so it is 'good enough' no worries. Don't want to sell too many, it is hard work to build these things.

If the goal of the brand is to be 'good enough' then this works. But luxury brands are noting about being 'good enough' you pay extra to be better. If you want good enough you buy the CRV, if you want luxury/better, you buy the RDX. Good enough will not get them more market share.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:16 AM
  #362  
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Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
I cannot agree more with GoHawks

The RLX sells poorly?? Should anyone be surprised at this?? Derivative/bland/boring style and a $60K+ front driver?? Are you kidding me??

Japanese automakers (except for Lexus, in part) do not know how to sell luxury vehicles, period.

They do approach the luxury market with the same strategy how they attacked the mainstream market (and been very successful on that space), offering long term reliability and value for the money...guess what?? These things do not sell in the premium space.

Most luxury car buyers lease their vehicles and trade them within 3 years or so do they do not give a damn to long term reliability...it is someone else problem, they are not interested in the "I drove my Legend for 300K miles without any trouble" concept.

Halo/expensive vehicles and performance version does build the brand, its reputation, its prestige and "desireability" factor...the Germans are master at this....beginning from how they organize the dealership experience.

The 3 Series would not be the myth that it is without the M3, Mercedes would not sell as many unremarkable C-Class without the fabulous CLS or the unreachable for the masses AMG models in their lineup.
How many Quasimodo looking, conjunctivitis eyes 1 Serie Coupe BMW would sell if it weren't for the roundel badge and the fun to drive experience??

Recently a divorced woman entered a Bay Area Mercedes dealer and told the salesman right away "I can afford a $700 lease payment after my divorce....what car can I get??" How you suppose to compete on "value" or technical features against this mindset from some of the general public when it comes to the luxury market??

If you cannot/do not want to build sport cars, coupes and super sedans you cannot be taken seriously in the luxury space this is the short end of it. Japanese luxury marques vehicle lineup is pathetic compared to the Germans, way less choice of models.

Heck even on the other side of the spectrum (maximizing values) the Koreans are eating Acura lunch...Hyundai did not go through the effort and expenses to build a luxury division but you can get a fully loaded Genesis R-Spec for 46K (I drove it, it is an astonishing car for the money with top notch build quality)....in other words, a 550i competitor for less than a base 528i money....how do you compete with that Acura?? Your RLX is not any more exciting to look at than a Genesis, it is as much as derivative of others. If you are going after the not so much brand obsessed, Hyundai beat you to it by a mile....

Acura is a royal mess.....the 4th gen TL (I own a 6 speed maual SH-AWD) is a fantastic sedan, incredible performance for the money...just terribly marketed and positioned....

In order to defend the RL (which had the same size and engine so it was stupid to keep it around) the TL was "decontented" of some of the tech gadgets and wood/luxury trims so it could not go head to head as a full fledged 5 Series fighter "forcing" the car to compete in price with the much smaller and agile 3 Series and the A4..a "tweener" car that did not let anybody fully happy...and the RL did not sell anyway....

The TSX was left in some sort of limbo....not capable to compete as a truly entry level luxury sedan with its FWD only layout (in a potential SH-AWD form it would have been a perfect fully fledged competitor to the Audi A4) as a matter of fact the TSX is substantially a slightly smaller Accord (it is based on the Euro Accord) on every aspect, a generalist sedan...it had no reason to exist.

"Smart luxury" do not sell Acura, do you get it??" You can always build cleverly engineered hybrids and so on but give to the general public the cars to get salivating after....roadsters, coupes, V8, RWD, an S Class figher, etc....

With the 4G, the Acura started a new bold design language, very polarizing but at least distinctive (I love the car). After an initial disappointment in sales, Acura crapped their pants and rushed a mild refresh and probably with the TLX will abandon completely that style.....well if the TLX will look anything like the RLX my current TL will be my first and last Acura....no consistency, weak, confused brand.

Do you remember the outrage when the BMW 5 Series E60 came around?? The "BMW stands for Bangle Must Go (Bangle Muss Weg) in German" expression?? Well the E60 turned out to be the best selling 5 Series in history...leave time to the people to "digest" a new design language.

Granted, as someone not interested in a badge, my wallet is happy that with my TL SH-AWD I did pick up a practical 535 contender at a 3 Series price but as an impartial observer, this is not the way you sell luxury vehicles...not the way to fatten the company bottom line and enjoy juicy profit margins.

Is not that difficult to fix yourself Acura...just copy God Damned Cadillac!!!

I'm leaning more and more towards considering a CTS (the new seems incredibly gorgeaous) as a replacement for my TL down the road....still nervous about their long term reliability record (I do not lease and I keep my cars for a while) because of the company disastrous recent past but I feel I should reward them for sticking to their guns in term of distinctive styling and for building a new lineup of truly remarkable cars, both style and engineering substance...and sales are returning!!!

...and I obviously couldn't agree with you more.

Except for one thing, I still can't get over the Acura beak and even BMW softened the Bangle Butt over time. I actually like, or maybe hate less the softened beak on the current TL.

I've said it before and you nailed it in your post, people in the luxury class lease their cars and could care less about long term reliability. Now, I'm not proposing that they forgo reliability (Lexus hasn't), but they need to understand that isn't what drives that demographic.

Acura used to have an identity early on. "Precision crafted Performance". That tag line spoke volumes. It touched on engineering and performance. It spoke as loudly as "The Ultimate Driving Machine".

Now they are lost. Again, I won't argue that Acura/Honda excels at engineering but if I can use the old "Building a better mouse trap" analogy, your mousetrap may be slickly engineered, but it has to be a mousetrap that people want.

Acuras appeal to the right brain. Practical, reliable, value, but the luxury segment is driven by the left brain more. Style, image, performance even though most of us rarely tap into half of the potential in modern day cars. Who really needs the 420 HP in the next gen Cadillac CTS V-Sport with the TT 3.6L, not to mention the 560 HP CTS-V?

Speaking of Cadillac and as you mentioned it in your post. This was an interesting article that I came across and posted it on the Cadillac forums. It speaks to how Cadillac staged their rebirth going from boring dressed up versions of lower priced GM cars that only retired Florida residents purchased to now where they are being viewed as a legitimate contender to BMW.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1672830/...d-a-comeback#1

As for reliability, I do share your concern as well. So far after 18,000 miles my '12 CTS coupe is holding up well. I went through all of my service records of my old RL and entered them all in a spreadsheet so I can have a running comparison with the CTS. So far when comparing it with the RL at the same mileage point, my CTS is no worse than the RL. As a matter of fact it has less dealer visits during that mileage span. Time will tell though.
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:25 AM
  #363  
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post

I suppose that you never really get back the 1.5 development years lost to the tsunami, earthquake and Thai flooding? BTW, while we quibble about our cars, the residents are still struggling with the aftermath.
(from Mar, 2013) http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2...-after/100469/

).
How sad...
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:22 AM
  #364  
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Originally Posted by iforyou View Post

It's hard to judge whether having a dedicated platform for the RLX or TLX is worthwhile. Infiniti M has its RWD platform and yet it's still selling poorly. It's been poor since 2010 when the 4th gen was launched.
Poorly? Really? The car has been out 39 months and in the last 2 months sales dropped to the 500 rate. They sold around 1000 a month the first 2 years and even the last year around 700-800 a month. The M sold extremely well the first year, and 39 months in is selling better than the RLX. I also suspect Infinit needs to do a MMC on the M, but is too focused on the Q50 and renaming all their cars to Q (entirely different rant for that).
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:28 AM
  #365  
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Originally Posted by jhr3uva90 View Post
It's not about market share, it's about PROFIT. Honda doesn't seem to care about market share. I believe Honda started the Acura brand in 1986 simply as a way to extend their current platforms, spread out fixed costs, enhance economies of scale and increase PROFIT.
More market share = more profit

Any company that does not strive to be #1 or at least to gain market share from their competitor is not a good company. History shows what happens to companies that do not stay on their game.

Last edited by KeithL; 07-04-2013 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:12 AM
  #366  
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^^ DARN...You beat me to it!! You cannot make profit if you don't sell as many cars!!
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:19 PM
  #367  
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^^^^^

One catch. It's between selling cheap economy vehicles and expensive luxury vehicles.

One can sell a huge volume of cheap economy vehicles but still makes little profit, but another can sell a small volume of expensive luxury vehicles and reaps in huge profit.

Because it is way more profitable, unit by unit, to sell expensive luxury vehicles than cheap economy vehicles, provided that people are embracing and buying these expensive luxury vehicles.

Unfortunately, in the RLX case, people aren't.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:36 PM
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^^ I am not disputing what you are saying, it make total sense. My dad was in the car business and I know the profit margins are much higher in luxury cars so you are correct. The bottom line is the bean counters want to maximize their profit. There are two ways to make profits....keep the cost down as much as possible (and sell as expensive as possible) but also, sell as many vehicle as possible which is the angle me and Keith were bringing up. But great point nonetheless and thanks for your input....
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:47 PM
  #369  
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Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
Tha was my point...the TSX should have competed with the 3 Series and A4 (with its current FWD only layout and choice of engines it cannot) and let the TL, or whatever name they choose, free to compete head on with the 5 Series/A6/MB E Class
Exactly. the TSX in its current form is FWD only with two engine choices. But its size is pretty much perfect. The TL in its current basically has one engine choice (3.5 and 3.7 are close enough IMO as the AWD adds weight) and FWD and AWD options.

My understanding is that the TLX will replace both TL and TSX. The TLX will be smaller than the current TL (not sure exactly how big it will be though). It's supposed to have several drivetrain choices - I4, V6, hybrid, FWD, AWD.

That's right, if even the excellent Infiniti M sold poorly (I wonder why, it is gorgeous) and it is indeed a very good car with all the right features, so you can imagine if a not soo good car has any chance to sell decently...and the M blows the RLX out of the water...
The difference is that the M has five powertrain choices: V6 RWD, V6 AWD, hybrid, V8 RWD, V8 AWD. The RLX currently has one choice: V6 FWD. [/quote]

It is not in its current form, no matter what Acura thinks.
What do you mean? The TLX is not even out yet. It's been all speculation so far.

Maybe it's time to speed it up....
I agree, especially for the ILX. It's not just DI though, it's the whole package of DI, new friction reducing technologies, VCM, more efficient gearboxes, and CVT.

Acura autos are pathetic compared to the currently best in the industry, gear change logic is slow....the automatic TL SH-AWD is full one second slower than the 6MT...a 4 banger 240 hp 528i is faster...pathetic indeed..
I think you are talking about the old 5AT.

The current Accord V6 6MT does 0-60mph in 5.6s, and 1/4 mile in [email protected]
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...al-test-review

The current Accord V6 6AT does 0-60mph in 5.5s, and 1/4 mile in [email protected] That's with a 126lb weight penalty due to the AT.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...ic-test-review

The RLX FWD 6AT does 0-60mph in 5.8s and 1/4 mile in [email protected] The Cadillac XTS 6AT FWD with 304hp and 100lb extra weight does the above in 6.6s and [email protected] respectively. The trap speed of the RLX matches 535i, A6 3.0T, and M37 for comparison. http://media.caranddriver.com/files/...finiti-m37.pdf

528i is slower especially as speed builds up as its initial RWD launching advantage fades away (0-60mph: 5.9s, 1/4 mile: [email protected]).
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...8i-test-review


Originally Posted by Edward'TLS View Post
Honda just debut the DI engines last year, whereas most top auto makers have been used them for ages. This "late arrival to the market" does more damage to the Acura "Advance" image than good.

Acura's competitors have been implementing 7-speed and 8-speed auto boxes in more and more models, whereas the Acura's crown jewel is still the 6-speed auto box.

"Just fine" is not sufficient in this highly competitive auto market. It is well known that the more forward gear ratios in an auto box, the better it is the acceleration due to the closer gear ratios, and also the better it is the fuel economy due to the high ratio top gears.

If the Acura 6-speed auto box already works well in the Acura vehicles, a 7-speed or 8-speed will work even better providing even better acceleration and even better gas mileage.

If the Acura 6-speed auto box can produce good dyno numbers, a 7-speed or 8-speed will produce even better dyno numbers.

There is no reason for Honda to satisfy itself just at the 6-speed level.
Honda launched DI back in the 2001 or 2003 Honda Stream, not last year. It's not until recently that Honda is feeling comfortable with this technology in terms of reliability, cost, and real-world advantages. Others have launched this technology following Honda's initial launch in 2001/2003, but as we have witnessed in many cases about the carbon deposit issue found on many Audi's and Ford's. It's okay for those companies as they aren't renowned for reliability. But that's not the case for Honda. Remember that 5AT problem? That was bad enough.

While offering more gear ratios theoretically would improve acceleration and efficiency, there's also the rule of diminishing returns. It gets to a point where one might as well spend the money on developing a better CVT, which is what Honda has done. Besides, newer gearboxes have also received many other improvements to for better efficiency. More ratios is just one of the factors.

In a sense though, I agree that Honda in many cases just cares about being "good enough." Like the RDX, they could have put the MDX engine in it and gain a few mpg. However, right now, even without DI, the RDX is still the top in terms of EPA ratings. Another example is the Accord. There's the RLX engine with 310hp that Honda can put in the Accord and demolish everyone else. But Honda didn't. Still, it's one of the fastest, if not the fastest FWD mid-size family sedan in the $30k market. It's also one of the most efficient.

Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
Poorly? Really? The car has been out 39 months and in the last 2 months sales dropped to the 500 rate. They sold around 1000 a month the first 2 years and even the last year around 700-800 a month. The M sold extremely well the first year, and 39 months in is selling better than the RLX. I also suspect Infinit needs to do a MMC on the M, but is too focused on the Q50 and renaming all their cars to Q (entirely different rant for that).
Acura sold 17500 RL's back in 2005. That's about 1500/month on average. FOr 2006, it dropped to 11500, which is about 1000/month. Over the 2 years, it's 29000, or 1200/month. Yea, the economy was probably better back then, but that's with one single drivetrain option and one trim only I believe. And that's based on the Accord platform. The M with way more trims and powertrain options was off to a poorer start. This is my point. What's going to guarantee that the RLX with a dedicated RWD platform and V8 option that it will do really well? We won't know until Acura tries it, but it seems like this is a big risk to take for a small company like Honda.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:26 PM
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What do you mean? The TLX is not even out yet. It's been all speculation so far.
Sorry I thought you were talking about the TSX.


I think you are talking about the old 5AT.

The current Accord V6 6MT does 0-60mph in 5.6s, and 1/4 mile in [email protected]
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...al-test-review

The current Accord V6 6AT does 0-60mph in 5.5s, and 1/4 mile in [email protected] That's with a 126lb weight penalty due to the AT.
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...ic-test-review

The RLX FWD 6AT does 0-60mph in 5.8s and 1/4 mile in [email protected] The Cadillac XTS 6AT FWD with 304hp and 100lb extra weight does the above in 6.6s and [email protected] respectively. The trap speed of the RLX matches 535i, A6 3.0T, and M37 for comparison. http://media.caranddriver.com/files/...finiti-m37.pdf

528i is slower especially as speed builds up as its initial RWD launching advantage fades away (0-60mph: 5.9s, 1/4 mile: [email protected]).
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...8i-test-review
I'm not talking about the Accord (much lighter, it's a generalist sedan, not luxury) but the TL...the new 6AT TL SH-AWD is slower in the 0-60 acceleration and basically indentical up to 100 mph than a 4 banger 240 hp 528i.....

The modern best autos are actually consistently faster than a manual.....on a C&D test, an A4 with a 211 hp engine was able to do a 0-60 in the mid 5s!!!!

Acura sold 17500 RL's back in 2005. That's about 1500/month on average. FOr 2006, it dropped to 11500, which is about 1000/month. Over the 2 years, it's 29000, or 1200/month. Yea, the economy was probably better back then, but that's with one single drivetrain option and one trim only I believe. And that's based on the Accord platform.
What killed the RL for good was the 4G TL.....a basically identical car costing significantly less, another Acura pigheaded decision.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
More market share = more profit

Any company that does not strive to be #1 or at least to gain market share from their competitor is not a good company. History shows what happens to companies that do not stay on their game.
Unfortunately, more market share does not always mean more profit. The dot coms learned that the hard way back in the 1990s.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by weather View Post
^^ DARN...You beat me to it!! You cannot make profit if you don't sell as many cars!!
Well.... you can't make MORE profit without (at some point) selling more cars, but you can make a profit at low volumes if you plan correctly.

Or

You can make a profit if you get someone else to fund your development. Say, the US government in GM's case? Or Renault in Infiniti's case? or Us Government + Fiat + Daimler in Chrysler's case?
Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
What killed the RL for good was the 4G TL.....a basically identical car costing significantly less, another Acura pigheaded decision.
Not to say it ended up being a bad decision, but don't forget that there was supposed to be a RL replacement that would have created an appropriate gap to the '09 TL but the financial crisis caused a reshuffling of priorities. Not wanting to enter another 'rabbit hole' on this topic, but suffice to say that there were a LOT of things beyond H/A's control that they didn't navigate well between late 2008-2011 that continue to have a ripple effect today.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
More market share = more profit
This is not universally true. Look at most of the Japan made cars before the current currency manipulation improved the exchange rate. Acura was losing $3-4,000 per TSX at 80 Yen. The more you sell, the more you lose.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocket_man View Post
Sure they are developing technology, and let's face it, for the TLX to be competitive just about all the RLX's tech (maybe minus the PAWS and SH-SH-AWD) will need to be in the TLX.

Both the Q50 and new IS went on sale...The TLX could have beat them by a few months.

The SE trim is a curtain call for this model. Too little and too late to appreciably impact sales at this point.

Yes the earthquake/tsunami was a huge impact. But in their recovery they choose where to put their resources.

Coupe...But sadly I doubt Acura will build it. I bet it would sell more than the station wagon.
Judging by the tech included in the MDX, I'd say there is a good chance it'll also appear in the TLX. For sure the dual screens, DI, 6AT, new hybrid drivetrain from the Accord.

There is sometimes an advantage to NOT being first to market. If you follow slightly, you can vary trims, content and pricing to attack the competitors (perceived) weak points. This is not to suggest they've deliberately delayed, I think the delay is all related to the natural disasters discussed. However, I could see that once it was delayed, they could take some time to plan the launches. Don't forget that the MDX and RDX launched in 2007 and refreshing these was more important. There are only so many all new product(s) you can get out of the door at one time.

So they shouldn't have done the SE then? Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Everything I've heard suggests there will be a coupe. NOTHING I've heard tells me how they'll execute on the existing platforms however...
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:16 PM
  #375  
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Originally Posted by jhr3uva90 View Post
Unfortunately, more market share does not always mean more profit. The dot coms learned that the hard way back in the 1990s.
True, but if Honda is profitable and Acura is then there is no reason to not want to scale that. Again a company not striving to be better in the market is doomed to have history show it what happens. Look at all the competition, you can't just settle for middle ground and profit, you have to stay in front or trying to be in front or eventually you get squeezed to the back.

Last edited by KeithL; 07-04-2013 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post
This is not universally true. Look at most of the Japan made cars before the current currency manipulation improved the exchange rate. Acura was losing $3-4,000 per TSX at 80 Yen. The more you sell, the more you lose.
True, but what I meant is if you have a profitable company then usually most market share means more profit, unless you have a scalability issue. Toyota suffered this a bit as they ramped up too quickly, but if properly managed and a company is profitable then usually more market share will lead to more profits.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
Again a company not striving to be better in the market is doomed to have history show it what happens.
Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
True, but what I meant is if you have a profitable company then usually most market share means more profit, unless you have a scalability issue.
I get most of this. However, since words matter, I wanted to clarify. For example, how did one persons 'opinion' that Acura wasn't trying, suddenly become fact? Thus, we start debating/discussing it as such? There may be items that appear to some that Acura isn't doing all they could, but unless they're privy to the internal memo, it's still just their interpretation of how events played out.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
True, but if Honda is profitable and Acura is then there is no reason to not want to scale that. Again a company not striving to be better in the market is doomed to have history show it what happens. Look at all the competition, you can't just settle for middle ground and profit, you have to stay in front or trying to be in front or eventually you get squeezed to the back.
But they are already scaling that. How? By manufacturing the Acura TL at the same plant as the Honda Accord using similar parts and hard points. Also, by manufacturing the new Acura MDX in Alabama at the same plant as the Honda Pilot and Odyssey using similar parts. The MDX and TL have traditionally been Acura's most popular vehicles. I don't know what the profit margins are on those products, but I'm sure the are thicker margins than on a car such as the Infiniti G, even though Infiniti currently sells more Gs than Acura sells TLs. This is what leads me to believe that Honda isn't really interested in "true" luxury, meaning RWD sedans.

Oh, and my favorite example of market share != profit? Apple. Macs have never had as much market share as Dell or HP PCs. How's that working out?
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:44 PM
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I wasn't quite done, but I couldn't go back and edit. So one alternative interpretation could be that we view Honda/Acura as a company striving to remain fully independent. And doing so in the face of a weakened US economy (2009), twin natural disasters, and an unstable Yen. While some poor judgment calls were made (civic) they quickly turned around to fix it.

So everybody wants their new product right NOW but the reality is that the current product release cadence (roughly every six months) is really pushing things hard. Getting the sales staff trained, printing brochures, allocating advertising money, producing said advertising materials, all require time.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:05 PM
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These are good posts! Very informative! Much better than some other websites.
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Old 07-04-2013, 04:40 PM
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True, that is one opinion. But I think there enough die hard Acura fans here that are a bit disappointed in Acura. I agree they do seem to be trying, just not trying at what. Acura invented this space and has watched most of the competition leave them behind. I do believe they have some very good successes, the RDX has been a home run, the MDX appears that it too will be a hit. I think they should to a small CUV under the RDX since they seem to excel in the SUV market.

As for cars, different story. Sure the 4G TL has sold OK, but remember the 3G was a home run. The big problem was the RL was a great car, but it looked small, then 4G TL made the RL virtually useless. Sure they needed a high end car, but I have said this before, they neede SH-AWD day one. The RLX is a nice car, but look at the competitors and it just is too bland for the space. Also they needed a huge marketing campaign, most people have no clue what Acura is offering today, especially in the high end space.
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
True, that is one opinion. But I think there enough die hard Acura fans here that are a bit disappointed in Acura.

The big problem was the RL was a great car, but it looked small, then 4G TL made the RL virtually useless. Sure they needed a high end car, but I have said this before, they neede SH-AWD day one. The RLX is a nice car, but look at the competitors and it just is too bland for the space.
I think that might be a statement of fact.

I've already covered what should have happened with the RL and how those plans changed making the 4G TL and 2G RL seem at odds. Why rehash that again?

I think we might also agree that Acura is in a difficult space. On the one hand, people (on boards) complain endlessly about what they're not doing to move the brand upwards. Many may be longtime Acura owners with more buying power than in their youth when they had a TL or Integra. Acura (appears) to be unable to provide a suitable 'expensive' car, thus forcing them to other brands to spend their money.

The problem has been stated over and over again, is that if they developed the 'perfect' car, they would still have to undercut the pricing of the competition (BMW, Merc, Lexus) because it's still 'only' an Acura. It is somewhat a 'catch-22' unless they're willing to develop such a car and sell it at a loss.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
Sorry I thought you were talking about the TSX.
No worries

I'm not talking about the Accord (much lighter, it's a generalist sedan, not luxury) but the TL...the new 6AT TL SH-AWD is slower in the 0-60 acceleration and basically indentical up to 100 mph than a 4 banger 240 hp 528i.....

The modern best autos are actually consistently faster than a manual.....on a C&D test, an A4 with a 211 hp engine was able to do a 0-60 in the mid 5s!!!!

What killed the RL for good was the 4G TL.....a basically identical car costing significantly less, another Acura pigheaded decision.
While the TL SH-AWD 6AT is not as fast as it should be, its trap speed is still higher than the 528i. And keep in mind, the 528i is underrated. That engine is as powerful as the Cadillac's 2.0T engine which is rated at 270hp.

I also posted the performance numbers of the RLX, which is heavier than the TL SH-AWD 6AT but with similar horsepower and torque, with less displacement. The numbers again are 0-60mph in 5.8s and [email protected] These numbers are better than 528i, and on par with 535i, A6 3.0T, and M37, which are all competing in the same segment.

I brought the Accord up just to show what the J35 non DI + 6AT can do. And to show that like many new cars nowadays, its performance is on par with the manual version. I have shown the numbers previously.

When you look at the 1/4 mile time for the A4 2.0T though, it's [email protected] It means that the car launches really well (thanks to its immense torque and AWD system), but its trap speed shows its real power.
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Old 07-04-2013, 06:46 PM
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Honda/Acura has always been more conservative in their decisions than other German and Japanese car companies because they are smaller and cannot afford a mistake financially. That may also be driving the direction they have taken.

Lets not forget all they are great at-engines, ergonomics, sportier handling, reliability and value. They are by no means perfect but seem to attract a disproportionate amount of criticism.
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:13 PM
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Another irrational blunder by Acura, officially declaring they are not aspiring to be a Tier 1 luxury brand....what Company executive in his own mind would admit that??

Honda/Acura has always been more conservative in their decisions than other German and Japanese car companies because they are smaller and cannot afford a mistake financially. That may also be driving the direction they have taken.
Look at GM with Cadillac....from almost bankrupcy to the brand being reborn.....they had no choice...again Acura should learn from them.

Infiniti, despite being even smaller than Acura, tries to aim higher.

Building luxury cars is a long term proposition and probably initially you are not going to sell a lot even if you build excellent vehicles....you have to earn your stripes to be admitted into the club of potential contenders....

Sometimes I think that the TL turned out to be an excellent sport sedan not because of Acura but despite of Acura....

Another great decision in Acura infinite wisdom....they decided to take out the high performance tires option on the refreshed TL...great move if you want to sell a sport sedan....I wonder who takes decisions like that in the corporate structure....nowadays every company offer some sort of Sport package (usually tires + adjustable suspension) but Acura outsmart everybody else and goes exactly backwards....great job!!!

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Old 07-04-2013, 08:30 PM
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Marketing

Look at the Acura web page for the TL...bare bone, pathetic, no message, no narrative, no bragging (and the TL could brag in some areas)

Since the introduction at the end of 2008 I barely saw any ads for the 4G TL on TV....

Not even the Acura of Bellevue sales manager knew that the TL SH-AWD 6MT did beat on a track test the 335i and the S4.....shameful.

If they keep going this way I give them 5 more years before Honda will put them out of their misery.
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post

.....

The problem has been stated over and over again, is that if they developed the 'perfect' car, they would still have to undercut the pricing of the competition (BMW, Merc, Lexus) because it's still 'only' an Acura. It is somewhat a 'catch-22' unless they're willing to develop such a car and sell it at a loss.
Remember Lexus. 26 years ago, Lexus released the "almost perfect" V8 RWD luxury sedan, and priced it at $40K. At $40K, the LS400 had undercut the pricing of all the competition (BMW, MB).

Undercutting the competitors is the only way to attract buyers to a new and unfamiliar brand/product. Not only did the LS400 undercut BMW and MB all right, it even won praises and respects from all over the auto world.

Then the LS became highly respected, became desirable, and also became famous. This is the only way for a brand and a model to gain fame - to win the heart and soul of the auto buyers.

Over the course of 26 years, the LS series gradually became more and more expensive, and the Lexus brand became more and more premium to finally become what it is today.

There is no easy route, no short cut to establish a luxury auto brand. It's all hard work and it takes time.

But unfortunately, as of today, the Acura brand doesn't even have a viable flagship sedan of a high enough caliber to win the heart and soul of the auto world and also to build up the brand image/prestige. The RLX is not anything more than just "good enough", let alone a "perfect" car.

Even more unfortunate is that Acura has priced the RLX so high that, instead of undercutting the competitors to attract more buyers, it has rather put off more potential buyers to buy, try out, and maybe praise the Acura car.

No wonder the Acura brand is not going anywhere. There is no point getting stuck in the "catch-22" loop, not doing anything, and crying foul all day long.

The only way forward is to break the "catch-22" loop, and start somewhere even if it means losing money.

So the way to go is to build high caliber vehicles as well as to undercut the competitors. Attract more buyers to try out the unproven Acura products. Good products will win praises and will gain fame over time. Then slowly (read s-l-o-w-l-y) raise the prices. Hopefully, in 10-15 years times, Acura will become a highly desirable premium brand and will have no trouble selling $60+K sedans.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Edward'TLS View Post
Remember Lexus. 26 years ago, Lexus released the "almost perfect" V8 RWD luxury sedan, and priced it at $40K. At $40K, the LS400 had undercut the pricing of all the competition (BMW, MB).

Undercutting the competitors is the only way to attract buyers to a new and unfamiliar brand/product. Not only did the LS400 undercut BMW and MB all right, it even won praises and respects from all over the auto world.

Then the LS became highly respected, became desirable, and also became famous. This is the only way for a brand and a model to gain fame - to win the heart and soul of the auto buyers.

Over the course of 26 years, the LS series gradually became more and more expensive, and the Lexus brand became more and more premium to finally become what it is today.

There is no easy route, no short cut to establish a luxury auto brand. It's all hard work and it takes time.

But unfortunately, as of today, the Acura brand doesn't even have a viable flagship sedan of a high enough caliber to win the heart and soul of the auto world and also to build up the brand image/prestige. The RLX is not anything more than just "good enough", let alone a "perfect" car.

Even more unfortunate is that Acura has priced the RLX so high that, instead of undercutting the competitors to attract more buyers, it has rather put off more potential buyers to buy, try out, and maybe praise the Acura car.

No wonder the Acura brand is not going anywhere. There is no point getting stuck in the "catch-22" loop, not doing anything, and crying foul all day long.

The only way forward is to break the "catch-22" loop, and start somewhere even if it means losing money.

So the way to go is to build high caliber vehicles as well as to undercut the competitors. Attract more buyers to try out the unproven Acura products. Good products will win praises and will gain fame over time. Then slowly (read s-l-o-w-l-y) raise the prices. Hopefully, in 10-15 years times, Acura will become a highly desirable premium brand and will have no trouble selling $60+K sedans.
Absolutely correct....again and again just follow what Cadillac is doing.....

Acura had in its lineup the excellent TSX and TL....with a few tweaks, improvements and the right marketing and positioning,they could have become very serious contenders (the TSX in the 3 Series/A4 segment, the TL in the 5 Series segment)
Acura does not even value correctly what they have in their hands right now.
Mark my words, this RLX is not going anywhere.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:23 AM
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Honda's current strategy in building up the Acura brand is highly questionable.

The outgoing $50K AWD RL had flopped big time. What makes Acura think that the new $50-60K FWD (not even AWD) RLX will succeed when even the $50K AWD RL had failed ?

First of all, the RL(X) model name is ruined by years after years of poor sales. The RLX should be given a new model designation for a new car and a new start.

Secondly, rather than reducing price to undercut competitors and to attract more sales, the RLX actually becomes more expensive to put off potential buyers. For the same $50K price as the old AWD RL, it now can only buy you a FWD RLX. Moreover, the AWD RLX will cost a whole lot more, and also no where to be seen for at least a good half year after the RLX model debut.

I must admit that the new RLX is a much superior sedan than the old RL, but it has nothing to build up on when the replaced model was already not being received well. If the old model wasn't selling well, replacing it with a more expensive but unproven new model will not automatically make the new car become popular and help improving sales.

Only if the replaced model (RL) was being received well, can the new replacement model (RLX) raise price, gain respect, build up positive images, and continue to sell satisfactory.

If Acura can keep the new AWD RLX at the same price level (~$50-55K) as the outgoing AWD RL, I bet the new flagship sedan will be selling like hotcakes, and be as popular and as well received as those Acura SUV's.

Once the wheel is in motion, then Acura can s-l-o-w-l-y raise the price for each subsequent generations of Acura flagship sedan. This should be the right path for Honda to build up the Acura's premium brand image.

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Old 07-05-2013, 02:23 AM
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.

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Old 07-05-2013, 07:11 AM
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I do not see enough difference between a Honda and an Acura except for the RLX. The quality and features of the ILX and the present TL and probably the next TLX are not distinguishable from similar Civics and Accords. If you sit in an RLX you will never mistake it for a Honda.

The RDX and the MDX are separate discussions because their Honda counterparts are significantly different: CRV and Pilot.

When the RL came out in 05 it was a major leap forward in quality and features and should have helped Acura move up the ranks. As to why it was a minimal advance was due to many things including marketing. Most people still do not know that the RL/RLX is the top of the line Acura, everybody knows the TL but few know the RL. I have spoken to numerous people, including auto repair shops, who invariably ask me if it is front wheel drive. When you state that the RL is AWD then they all seem surprised.

In defense of the RLX, I am still not convinced that I can find a car with as many features as the Advance for the money. Yes, I think that they screwed up on a few items: the Canadian version options should be in the US version, the AWD should have been an option from its launch and finally, the top of the line RLX Advance AWD should be priced at just a few % more than the outgoing RL. If the "real" RLX is around $70K then I do think that people will migrate away from the RLX but if it were $58.5K then it would have represented the value, features and expectations of what should be an Acura product.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by db22 View Post
I do not see enough difference between a Honda and an Acura except for the RLX. The quality and features of the ILX and the present TL and probably the next TLX are not distinguishable from similar Civics and Accords. If you sit in an RLX you will never mistake it for a Honda.
.
Really? Have you driven both? The Accord and TL have totally different feel inside. The materials in the TL feel more soft and supple and a bit more upscale. Acura steering wheels are are thicker and have a better grade of leather. My gf who knows little about cars, I have been trying to go form her TSX to a 13 Accord and when she gets in the Accord her first comments are it is not as nice/luxurious as Acura. Also Acura TSX/TL seem to be tuned for a slightly sportier/firmer ride.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:29 AM
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Yes I agree that the TSX and the TL are a slightly sportier ride but the difference between the Accord quality and the TL quality is far from what Acura requires when differentiating between Honda and Acura. The quality of the RL is what is required of Acura and put it in all of their models, not just the RL.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Colin View Post
Well.... you can't make MORE profit without (at some point) selling more cars, but you can make a profit at low volumes if you plan correctly.

Or

You can make a profit if you get someone else to fund your development. Say, the US government in GM's case? Or Renault in Infiniti's case? or Us Government + Fiat + Daimler in Chrysler's case?

Not to say it ended up being a bad decision, but don't forget that there was supposed to be a RL replacement that would have created an appropriate gap to the '09 TL but the financial crisis caused a reshuffling of priorities. Not wanting to enter another 'rabbit hole' on this topic, but suffice to say that there were a LOT of things beyond H/A's control that they didn't navigate well between late 2008-2011 that continue to have a ripple effect today.
Having the government fund your business is a vastly different scenario than Renault(private enterprise) in Infinitis case. Kudos to Nissan for making an uber-smart business move. Demerits to Honda for making uber-stupid business moves.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jhr3uva90 View Post
But they are already scaling that. How? By manufacturing the Acura TL at the same plant as the Honda Accord using similar parts and hard points. Also, by manufacturing the new Acura MDX in Alabama at the same plant as the Honda Pilot and Odyssey using similar parts. The MDX and TL have traditionally been Acura's most popular vehicles. I don't know what the profit margins are on those products, but I'm sure the are thicker margins than on a car such as the Infiniti G, even though Infiniti currently sells more Gs than Acura sells TLs. This is what leads me to believe that Honda isn't really interested in "true" luxury, meaning RWD sedans.

Oh, and my favorite example of market share != profit? Apple. Macs have never had as much market share as Dell or HP PCs. How's that working out?
You are exactly disproving your main point. While Apple's market share of the PC business hasn't changed much (it hovers around 10%), their market share of the Smartphone and Tablets has increased dramatically. They own about 17% of the smartphone market which they only entered in 2007. As for tablets they own over 70% of the market. They get more profit from a Mac than a PC because consumers are willing to spend more for a product they want. PCs and Mac do about the same thing, but a small number of consumers (~10%) are willing to pay more for the Mac. That is the essence of the luxury car. Paying more for something you want, not something you need. An Accord will do what I need, but I want more. Acura needs cars people want more than their competitors. If they don't they will lose market share to them, sell fewer cars, make less profit. Raising the price of their cars isn't going to work, especially if they lose market share.

Acura created the Japanese luxury brand market. It was theirs for the taking. But now they trail Lexus by a significant amount and Infinity is close behind them.

Honda recently announced a $1B investment in Acura. You don't invest a $1B to maintain the status quo.
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:04 PM
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I believe GM received some help from the US government? And Nissan went into financial trouble and had to merge with Renault to survive. Honda has been independent.

Cadillac, like Infiniti, went pretty low about a decade ago. A revolution was badly needed, just like Infiniti. Acura, though doing not as well as before, isn't quite at that low point that was experienced by Cadillac and Infiniti. Cadillac and Infiniti had nothing to lose really. Acura is in a position where it's hard to tell whether big revolutions would help . Lexus is a really good example of how a new luxury company becomes comparable to the German brands in prestige. Kudos to Toyota for executing the whole plan so well. But there is also a not-so-good example in Infiniti.......
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by saturno_v View Post
Another irrational blunder by Acura, officially declaring they are not aspiring to be a Tier 1 luxury brand....what Company executive in his own mind would admit that??



Look at GM with Cadillac....from almost bankrupcy to the brand being reborn.....they had no choice...again Acura should learn from them.

Infiniti, despite being even smaller than Acura, tries to aim higher.

Building luxury cars is a long term proposition and probably initially you are not going to sell a lot even if you build excellent vehicles....you have to earn your stripes to be admitted into the club of potential contenders....

Sometimes I think that the TL turned out to be an excellent sport sedan not because of Acura but despite of Acura....

Another great decision in Acura infinite wisdom....they decided to take out the high performance tires option on the refreshed TL...great move if you want to sell a sport sedan....I wonder who takes decisions like that in the corporate structure....nowadays every company offer some sort of Sport package (usually tires + adjustable suspension) but Acura outsmart everybody else and goes exactly backwards....great job!!!
Originally Posted by Edward'TLS View Post
Remember Lexus. 26 years ago, Lexus released the "almost perfect" V8 RWD luxury sedan, and priced it at $40K. At $40K, the LS400 had undercut the pricing of all the competition (BMW, MB).

Undercutting the competitors is the only way to attract buyers to a new and unfamiliar brand/product. Not only did the LS400 undercut BMW and MB all right, it even won praises and respects from all over the auto world.

Then the LS became highly respected, became desirable, and also became famous. This is the only way for a brand and a model to gain fame - to win the heart and soul of the auto buyers.

Over the course of 26 years, the LS series gradually became more and more expensive, and the Lexus brand became more and more premium to finally become what it is today.

There is no easy route, no short cut to establish a luxury auto brand. It's all hard work and it takes time.

But unfortunately, as of today, the Acura brand doesn't even have a viable flagship sedan of a high enough caliber to win the heart and soul of the auto world and also to build up the brand image/prestige. The RLX is not anything more than just "good enough", let alone a "perfect" car.

Even more unfortunate is that Acura has priced the RLX so high that, instead of undercutting the competitors to attract more buyers, it has rather put off more potential buyers to buy, try out, and maybe praise the Acura car.

No wonder the Acura brand is not going anywhere. There is no point getting stuck in the "catch-22" loop, not doing anything, and crying foul all day long.

The only way forward is to break the "catch-22" loop, and start somewhere even if it means losing money.

So the way to go is to build high caliber vehicles as well as to undercut the competitors. Attract more buyers to try out the unproven Acura products. Good products will win praises and will gain fame over time. Then slowly (read s-l-o-w-l-y) raise the prices. Hopefully, in 10-15 years times, Acura will become a highly desirable premium brand and will have no trouble selling $60+K sedans.
Originally Posted by Rocket_man View Post
You are exactly disproving your main point. While Apple's market share of the PC business hasn't changed much (it hovers around 10%), their market share of the Smartphone and Tablets has increased dramatically. They own about 17% of the smartphone market which they only entered in 2007. As for tablets they own over 70% of the market. They get more profit from a Mac than a PC because consumers are willing to spend more for a product they want. PCs and Mac do about the same thing, but a small number of consumers (~10%) are willing to pay more for the Mac. That is the essence of the luxury car. Paying more for something you want, not something you need. An Accord will do what I need, but I want more. Acura needs cars people want more than their competitors. If they don't they will lose market share to them, sell fewer cars, make less profit. Raising the price of their cars isn't going to work, especially if they lose market share.

Acura created the Japanese luxury brand market. It was theirs for the taking. But now they trail Lexus by a significant amount and Infinity is close behind them.

Honda recently announced a $1B investment in Acura. You don't invest a $1B to maintain the status quo.
Honda created Acura as a premium brand so that they can sell cars that are more expensive than the Civic and Accord. Lexus aspired to go head on with Mercedes and BMW. I think those were two different goals. Obviously Honda wouldn't be like "oh we are just trying to get a higher profit margin, we wont compete directly with Bimmers or MB." at that time when the Acura brand was launched.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by iforyou View Post
Honda created Acura as a premium brand so that they can sell cars that are more expensive than the Civic and Accord. Lexus aspired to go head on with Mercedes and BMW. I think those were two different goals. Obviously Honda wouldn't be like "oh we are just trying to get a higher profit margin, we wont compete directly with Bimmers or MB." at that time when the Acura brand was launched.
Totally agree. Acura's goal is to extend current platforms into higher-margin products. That's why the Acura RL/RLX has used the existing Honda Global Mid-sized Platform since the 2005 model year.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocket_man View Post
You are exactly disproving your main point. While Apple's market share of the PC business hasn't changed much (it hovers around 10%), their market share of the Smartphone and Tablets has increased dramatically. They own about 17% of the smartphone market which they only entered in 2007. As for tablets they own over 70% of the market. They get more profit from a Mac than a PC because consumers are willing to spend more for a product they want. PCs and Mac do about the same thing, but a small number of consumers (~10%) are willing to pay more for the Mac. That is the essence of the luxury car. Paying more for something you want, not something you need. An Accord will do what I need, but I want more. Acura needs cars people want more than their competitors. If they don't they will lose market share to them, sell fewer cars, make less profit. Raising the price of their cars isn't going to work, especially if they lose market share.

Acura created the Japanese luxury brand market. It was theirs for the taking. But now they trail Lexus by a significant amount and Infinity is close behind them.

Honda recently announced a $1B investment in Acura. You don't invest a $1B to maintain the status quo.
Actually, my point focused specifically on the Mac as opposed to all of Apple's products.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by g37guy01 View Post
Having the government fund your business is a vastly different scenario than Renault(private enterprise) in Infinitis case. Kudos to Nissan for making an uber-smart business move. Demerits to Honda for making uber-stupid business moves.
OK, let me say that I think this might be a bit of 'revisionist history'. Would Nissan have entered into the agreement with Renault had their said 'uber-smart' earlier decisions played out? IOW, they failed due to stupid decisions and were FORCED to merge with Renault as a result.

Anyway, this thread is so far down the rabbit hole that its become pointless. Probably time to move on.
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