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2010 Acura ZDX – Click above for high-res image gallery

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.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      so much fail.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda (and subsequently Acura) has been all about value, quality and durability. If ceded the luxury/performance market to Lexus, et al and focused on the broader entry level luxury segment instead. Has worked out pretty well for them in terms of overall sales and buyer loyalty. Haven't met many Honda/Acura owners who wouldn't buy another one in a heartbeat.

      What Honda has decided is that the luxury segment, per se, is not big enough overall, to support too many vehicles of the same configuration. While V-8 RWD is, absolutely, the gold standard for that segment it is going to be getting more unattainable with the move to new CAFE standards and an overall drive for the highest MPG possible for even "luxury" cars. Look at Ford, who invented the V-8 moving to EcoBoost 4's and 6's for the future.

      Time will tell if Honda/Acura made the right move but give them credit for making a decision on how to allocate sparse corporate resources and focus on products and segments where they can make a good buck over time. Somehow I doubt we are going to see significant growth in sales among BMW 7. E 550s , etc. These companies, plus Infinity, Lexus and Genesis, may end up eating their own.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda needs to put back S2000 DNA that is gone in their cars. As a previous 03 Euro Accord 2.4EXE 6MT (= TSX USA) and now a 08 320dA owner I can only say that BMW is at least 5-6 years ahead of honda. I would love to go back to honda (image problems that come with zegermans) but they need to step up their game. Nowadays they are building only crapy A to B cars. RWD is a must if they want to take my money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem with Acura is that their products don't stand out in a vast sea of competition. They're often overlooked because people consider them "Hondas with leather," which is really too bad. I, for one, absolutely ADORE my 2004 TSX and think it's one of the best looking cars to ever come out from Honda. Acura needs to (literally) go back to the drawing board and carefully consider its future before it's too late.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda NSX-R Prototype LM Race Car
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda is an economy/sensible car. The company made their money there..
      Acura is a timid attempt to be in the luxury/performance field...oh gee whiz cant make up their mind.....situation.
      So maybe it is better for them to step back and decide what they want to be when they grow up
      Nissan has had some of the same identity problems with their Infiniti brand.
      The Japanese car companies need a English or German car company to copy as Lexus has done with Mercedes.
      JDM Life
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hondas are better....or worst...i don't even know anymore. Honda is now making ugly cars and Acura is doing not better.

      I miss my old Honda/Acura
      • 5 Years Ago
      no V8 is ok but no RWD is a bummer
      • 5 Years Ago
      Really glad I didn't jump ship to an Acura store back a couple of years ago like I was thinking of doing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People want to criticize Acura for not having a V8 or RWD, but they don't need that. Acura has some very nice vehicles out right now but people don't like their grilles. Styling is subjective, so you can't say a car is bad because of that. Acura is not trying to be like Mercedes or BMW or even Lexus for that matter. They are just being Acura. For those that don't like it, there are other brands ready to take your money. Acura will probably always be FWD and AWD. There's nothing wrong with that. Audi is the same way. Give Acura some time and they will be fine.

      PS: Some people like FWD and RWD for more practical reasons like climate and whatnot. RWD is not for everyone, so good thing someone still has FWD for people to choose from.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I meant some people like FWD and AWD, not RWD
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll be dropping my RL soon and picking up a CTS-V.....bye bye glorified Honda.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honda has never wanted to do a V8. This is no supprise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the grille really depends on color. On a black TSX, the grille looks horrid. Red is less garish, and silver makes the grille inconsequential. I cannot say that in any color I think the grille is a positive addition, however. I think it would look much better if it were simply an open space instead of a shiny thing.

        I'm just amazed Honda/Acura have avoided the gaping maw look of so many other manufacturers this decade (VW/Audi, Mitsu, EuroFord) I liked it at first, but when every car started looking like it was going to eat small children, it got old.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You must be one of the few who thinks that, Sea Urchin. I have seen it on sedans and it doesn't make a difference. The grille is ugly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I can tell you why this will be a low growth period for Acura :-P
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