Acura has been considered as upscale, though not luxury marquee, and is predicting some hopes for an improvement on its new RLX car, which is going to be unveiled at Los Angeles Auto Show.
When it shows off its flagship sedan in LA on Wed, it’ll be faced with a marketing challenge; how to brand the vehicle as a luxury competitor to Lexus or BMW rather than just an expensive version of Honda!
When Honda established Acura back in 1986, it imagined an ‘intercept’ product; executive vice president of Honda Motor Co, John Mendel said it was supposed to be the next step for the owner of Accord and consumers should move up without going behind the European luxury vehicles. Acura’s sales touched 210,000 in 2005, according to MotorIntelligence, an auto website. However, as the luxury brand rival grew fiercer, it became like a ‘tweener’ maker. John Mendel called it as ‘tweener’, which means upscale, but not luxury. Last year, it could sell nearly 123,000 units, almost half of what it sold in 2005. It is half the volume of what the top luxury brands sells, including Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.
Gartner Inc analyst, Thilo Koslowski said Acura has been not defined and it just a step up from its Honda division. Gartner Inc is an automotive research firm and an analyst said it has to take a place within the premium field and it has to be differentiated and unique.
Acura officials have to look at LA Motor show to discover the stiffening rivalry in selling luxury cars. VW’s Audi branch is rolling out 4 new vehicles with ultra-powerful and efficient diesel-powered engines, which are in more demand now. Bimmer is displaying its fast and slick prototypes, a plug-in hybrid, and EV. Jaguar Land Rover, which was recently acquired by the Indian automaker Tata Motors, is showing off 3 new vehicles: flagship sedan, sport convertible, and the new Range Rover.
On the whole, 42 automakers are introducing hundreds of new vehicles at LA auto show this week that opens to the public from November 30 to December 9. Nearly, 50 of those new vehicles, including flagship Acura RLX sedan, are North American or global debuts. About 1million people are expected to be at LA Convention Center, which would also display latest auto technological advances along with custom cars and parts.
Other luxury makes have well-established names, and Acura has to define its own personality in the premium segment, like how BMW is known for sportiness, driving dynamics, design, while Lexus for reliability, customer service, and comfort, and Jaguar has carved out a niche in sportiness and style.
As of now, RLX carries the brand’s identity in cleaned-up dashboard ditching complicated buttons and controls. In next 3 years, the company will launch AWD NSX supercar with the styling of Lamborghini or Ferrari.