Acura's sales are down, and rather than try to be all cars to all buyers, filling niches is more the game plan. Product planning manager John Watts intimated that Acura's looking at segments with a narrower appeal, such as the now-defunct CL, and the possibility of a retractable hardtop vehicle, too. The MDX does well, and the new RDX is the darling of everyone who drives it, but as far as cars go, Acura's not catching anyone's hair on fire. The top-dog RL sedan is a wonderful car – beautifully drawn, SH-AWD moves, and a powerful V6 make it a very pleasant way to devour miles, but it doesn't offer the flavor du jour for premium sedans with performance leanings. The engine layout is wrong, and it's missing at least two cylinders to truly be taken seriously by some buyers who are looking for a V8 and rear drive as prerequesites.

There's talk of a new 8 or 10 cylinder powerplant in the offing. The NSX is supposedly getting a V10, which could then propagate through to other Acura cars. Analysts have noted that there's a need for a flagship sedan above the RL to offer RWD and larger engines. While Acura gets its act together developing the new NSX and readying the new TL for launch in 2009, dealers are enviously eyeing Lexus and Infiniti stores, wishing they had a big V8 boomer to throw into the fray, as well.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]