In the luxury segment, Acura has always been a bit of a lost puppy: Tempting to bring home and full of rewards to the owner who does, but never quite sure of where it is or where it's supposed to be. Over the past few years, Acura dealerships across North America – at the behest of Acura itself – have spent big bucks constructing glitzy new showrooms in anticipation of new products coming down the pipeline that would be capable of competing with other big luxury marques. But those heavily-invested franchises may find themselves holding their hats as the premium Honda division is changing its course again, and in the interim will be delaying significant model launches.
Part of the shift in strategy for Acura – which still markets exclusively in North America and China – is to put the final nail in the coffin for a rear-drive platform and V8 engines, two components seen as vital for going toe-to-toe with the European brands. Instead, Acura will reportedly focus on a more sensible approach to luxury vehicles during a "low-growth period" of new models, returning to the entry-level luxury segment to combat the likes of the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, along with luxury hybrids. But it'll take the Japanese automaker a good few years to remake itself, and in the meantime sales are likely to continue declining as the TSX sport wagon (nee Honda Accord Tourer) and the new ZDX crossover (low-volume models both) hold down the fort as the only new arrivals in the pipeline.
Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2010 Acura ZDX
[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]