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Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Acura TL

Acura wants to assure dealers that its plan to become a Tier 1 luxury brand – able to hang with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus – is still underway. But according to Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., the key to playing with the big boys isn't limited to what's on showroom floors. Colliver told Automotive News, "Being a premium luxury brand is not just about product. It's the way dealers handle customers. You've got to earn your way into the segment. You don't necessarily have to have a $90,000 sedan to get there."

Even though that formula seems to have worked for Lexus, Acura has different plans. The recently released TSX, RL and TL have set the tone for the next few years, and another crossover, designed to slot in between the RDX and MDX, is currently under development.

Colliver also mentioned that work on the NSX replacement is "mostly done," so even though Honda shelved the V10 supercar to cut costs and keep an even keel during the economic downturn, the NSX could be pulled out of the corporate garage, dusted off and brought to market once conditions improve.

Acura's entry-level image could help the automaker weather the economic downturn better than its rivals from Germany and Japan, but when the market firms up, Acura will need products (with high-output engines and RWD) at the ready to compete with the stalwarts of the luxury set.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Colliver has his work cut out for him. An RL owner, I can confirm Acura customer care and dealer service is modeled on the Detroit-3. We know how that worked out for them. I won't buy another one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They are going to have to go a long way to match the incompetence and all round doucheyness of Audi dealers. Love my Audi, hate my dealer.
        • 6 Years Ago
        that's for sure.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you want tier-1 status, you hire tier-1 designers to design cars that look tier-1.

      If you can't hire tier-1 designers, you collaborate with design houses such as the ones listed below:

      1) http://www.pininfarina.com/
      2) http://www.italdesign.it/dinamic/index.html
      3) http://www.bertone.it/User/

      You can never become tier-1 by hiring numb-nuts who glue hideous chrome stuff all over your cars. You actually scare your customers away with the current hideous designs, and I'm one of those customers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They better hire new designers if they wanna hang with the big boys.

      Their cars are boring and ugly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Tier-1 Status...... lol not with the design language Acura has now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The last generation TSX was perfect - it slotted into where the A4 used to sit, and wasn't a bad drive. In the high $20s, it was inexpensive enough for many people to buy into without going broke, and offered enough nice touches over the Accord to make it feel worth it.

      The TL was/is a bit more confused, given that it's trying to fill both the role of the ES (mid $30s bland entry-lux) and the role of the G35 (sports tourer). That it's based off of the Accord does nothing to help things - Lexus and Infiniti both learned that they couldn't get away with FWD family car platforms on a sports oriented car, it's time Acura learned the same.

      The RL's just all wrong. If Honda can't make it bigger or RWD, why not try to make it sexier? I feel that the 4-door coupe style might work, like the Passat CC or the Jag XF (which is effectively a flagship for the next year or so anyway...)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's a hint Acura...
      Stop making vehicles that look more like moon rovers and start making cars that actually look good. I could care less if it's the most powerful Acura ever. It's also the most hideous looking.

      Then worry about luxury!
      • 6 Years Ago
      sorry, but Mazda is just as close as Acura is to becoming a tier one brand. If Acura wants to be considered with BMW and mercedes, they have to stop making cars that look and feel like they are made of paper. Their current origami look has FAIL written all over it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With their current design language, I am almost scared to see a new NSX, and I quite like the old one.

      They should not have uglified the TL.

      They should not have uglified and not up-market upgraded the RL. The RL should have gone up market with V6 and V8 longitudinal drivetrains, and SH-RWD.

      Their V8 should be a doubled-up S2000 mill, or something similar. Variable Valve Timing is good, Variable lift would be welcome, like Infiniti's VVEL. Something that can cater to enough torque to motivate a luxury sedan without the need for screaming. But an engine that can scream in a sports car, if desired.

      TSX and TL should not be so close in price, nor TL and RL as close in size. The line is too closely arranged.

      They could go 3-models, like A4, A6, and A8, or they could go 2 lines like G and M infinitis, but any way they go, they need differentiation.

      Small and large CUVs, that is fine... But the RDX started the ugliness that plagues Acura now.

      NSX is not a front engined car. It's replacement can't be, or it is a different idiom. Personally, I would prefer to see a V8 longitudinally driven dual-clutch equipped mid-engined car. Perhaps even with the SH-type differential integrated, and adjustable suspension, etc...

      The RSX was nice, but too down market, and not RWD. I have contended before that the Acura sport coupe should be brought back, sharing it's chassis with the S2000, but in a 2+2 format premium sport coupe. Something like an acura-branded RWD Prelude-like car. Sharper and sleeker than the old CL. S2000's I4 or V6 engines, perhaps a very limited edition with the V8 from the RL, MDX, and NSX.

      So, there.... Two or three sedans, two CUVs, a 2+2 RWD Sport Coupe, and a full-on mid-engined exotic-type Sports Car.

      Buid that, make them look good, and then we'll see about Acura.

      As it stands, though... Acura is not looking so hot.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like where Acura currently is in the market...I think I prefer them being slightly sub-Lexus, in image anyway.
      Maybe it's cuz those of us who did a lot of growing up in the 90s know Acura as the kind of sportier bad-boy Honda brand. I miss the RSX and Integra! I like the TSX now, and the TL too but it needs a facelift badly.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think they're more than just slightly sub-Lexus
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda blew it to make Acura a "tier - 1" brand by failing to make the cars substantially different from the regular line Honda cars.

      I mean, the two brands are just too close together, and, let's be honest, the cars aren't exactly paragons of "solid build quality." They just feel like spruced up Hondas. Sure, they have great reliability, but you can DEFINITELY tell the difference between sitting in a BMW, Audi, or heck, even Lexus (and I ain't a Lexus fan either) and sitting in an Acura. The Acura just feels a heck of a lot cheaper and less "solid". Yeah, I know that's subjective, but hey, "tier -1" is all about subjective opinions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Once again.

      I'll believe it when i see it.

      PS.....don't give it that horrid grill....please.
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