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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • As a card carrying geek (or at least a member of older-geeks-USA), the Acura has very little geek appeal from what I can see.

    My friends, my non-Audi, but often BMW driving/owning friends have, for years, called Audis the "technofile's" car (which is pretty close to geek.)

    This WAS because the Audi cockpits had full gauges, all wheel drive, knobs and push and pull buttons/levers and the word quattro spelled out in the defroster wire in the rear window and 5 cylinder turbo charged engines, then 5 valve per cylinder engines and other somewhat geeky or geek-like differences.

    True, they weren't Saab geeky or Volvo "odd" but they were the "under class" (according to my buddies) when compared to BMW and Mercedes.

    There was some truth to that perhaps from 1978 up to and including perhaps at least the 1998 A6. The worm started to turn (here in North America at least) around 2000 and the new A8L, C6 A6, RS this that and the other and even the S's have pretty much completed that turning -- although the upcoming generation where more and more of the quattros are rwd biased and better weight balanced will do even more.

    Moreover, since "everybody" has AWD and it is pretty much assumed you must offer AWD to play anymore, well Audi is just one of the pack of AWD LPS cars.

    I fell off my chair when I found that the upcoming BMW 7 will be offered with X drive. That essentially will mean that almost all Audis, BMW's and Mercedes will be offered for sale with AWD. There will be but a few holdouts in that regard.

    The RL is, with my hand raised to testify, NOT a geek car.

    The RS 6 was/is pretty geeky, but even then, NOT THAT geeky. The Jag (not often mentioned here) seems to me to be a bit of an odd duck, perhaps a bit old fashioned.

    I would assume the Cadillac and the Jaguar would be polling higher age numbers than the Acura RL.

    Acura -- for right or wrong -- is regularly proclaimed to be "gunning" for Audi and then BMW. The RL was supposed to be an A6 killer, the RDX is supposed to out "X" the BMW X3, and even the TL, supposedly was positioned against the A4, which is odd (in this country) since virtually all A4's are AWD. And, the TL never could win a staring contest against a BMW 3 series RWD or X drive.

    The RL was lauded -- perhaps it still would be, were it the subject of reviews -- loud and regularly near its birth. It has fizzled in the market apparently.

    It is too eager to show its Accord family resemblance is my personal take on this situation.

    And, who, in the wide wide world of sports has the demographic statistics to even begin to discuss the race, creed, color, country of origin, culture or language of the buyers of these LPS cars.

    Is Infiniti or Acura or BMW more or less a "Mexican's" choice? Would a "Canadian" not buy a Cadillac? Does this data exist and does it matter unless such and such a car is known to be "the old person's cars" or "the black person's car" etc?

    Cadillac has worked and continues to work to shed its octenigarian's choice image, but that is not exactly an ethnicity demographic, eh?

    Here is our Big Town, you see lots of folks from all walks of life driving all sorts of stuff. Of course we even have hillbillies driving Bimmers, but I assume they also drive Acuras -- kidding!

    Acura's RL seems to me to be too much like an Accord, a bit too small too. Further, it has not yet been able to be seen in any respect that I can tell as having much "P" in the LPS world.

    I don't know if a V8 would cure that -- as the reality of the situation would be that even with a V8 on the option sheet, 90% of the customers would get the 6 (at least based on the internal documents my Audi buddy showed me -- which basically said, something like "90+% of the cars in the A6's class are sold with 6 cylinder engines, that is where to focus first.")

    Acura needs a new pricing scheme, a new advertising scheme, some performance bits, and most of all, some TIME. :surprise:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    from characterizing owners by ethnicity or any other trait. There is no generalization that can not be refuted by some interpretation of statistics and there is no point in climbing on to that slippery slope.

    We're here to talk about the CARS not our imaginary OPINIONS of what demographic may or may not prefer which brand.

  • Geeks have feelings too! :blush:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Acura needs a new pricing scheme, a new advertising scheme, some performance bits, and most of all, some TIME.

    Acura needs more models as well. They've currently got 3 sedans in small, medium, and medium, and two soft-roader SUVs in small and medium. 5 models are great if you're Saab, but not if you want to compete with Lexus, Audi, BMW, etc. Acura has this "if the going gets tough, give up" mentality that they need to change.
  • When the RL was introduced it was the most interesting LPS car around for a little while.

    Yes it was small in the back seat and the trunk, and yes the styling was no reason to jump up and down. But its SH-AWD was, for AWD fans, really interesting--effective, geeky, and a big improvement on FWD handling. And don't forget that its 5.1 surround system was very unusual, and for those of us (geeks?) with a collection of DVD Audio disks, it was very neat. Since we were going to get Nav, the fact that we didn't have to pay extra was nice, and then in 2006 the traffic reporting was a great (geeky) feature.

    Then the M35x came along and blew it out of the water. There is only one area where the RL has something that the M doesn't: the traffic reporting. And the M does everything else better. When the RL reliability issues became well known, that was the ball game.

    The history of this one is important, and looking at the RL with 20-20 hindsight is less than useful. Talking about the Accord platform is interesting, but pretty academic. Relating how the Germans are better handling is interesting, true, and irrelevant to the RL's demise, since (as is so immensely clear on this board) it was never going to capture much of that fan base.

    What Honda/Acura needs is a new car built on a new platform. Nothing less will do.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    I would not agree that the TL is perceived in the market to be an exceptionally "technologically advanced" car. It doesn't mean it's not, however. You state that the RL is a "gadget-laden" Accord. To many, the perception of "gadget-laden" is akin to being "geek friendly."

    Car companies clearly market to specific demographic segments. There is a reason why a higher percentage of Hyundais are driven by African Americans, for example. This is a fact. I am an African American. You perceive my comments to somehow be elitist or bigoted. Relax. It was well known within marketing/advertising circles that Jaguar was marketing specifically to the gay/lesbian and Black markets about 2 years ago. Again, this is a fact. You can agree or disagree, but let's not get into suggesting that I have an elitist agenda when I don't. It's fine that we disagree (in fact, I'm glad that we do).

    My point with the lease/buy equation is nothing more's my opinion. Isn't that what these boards are for? Again, agree/disagree all you want, but please don't attempt to characterize me. The fact is, 75%-85% of luxury cars are leased. You seemed to agree that Acura has offered "crappy lease deals." Couldn't that partially explain why RL volume is down?

    Thanks for suggesting that the RL has 5 shortcomings. I don't necessarily disagree with you, but let me know how you REALLY feel about this car. LOL.

    The volume of Infiniti FX and G is lower than the volume of TSX, TL, and MDX. Substantially lower. Oh, and I totally forgot about the Integra/RSX. And for a while the NSX was outselling the Q45. Just look at the numbers before you start typing. It's not that complicated.

    Quality is a function of 3 factors....(1) things actually breaking down with the car, (2) inherent design problems, regardless of whether the car truly breaks down, and (3) perceptions of quality based on the ownership experience. Sometimes (3) is powerful enough to overcome (1) and (2). My opinion (nothing more than that) is that (3) is a factor with the RL, especially when the existing demographic of the RL owner is older, more conservative, and not as discriminating based on the design of the previous Legend/RL.

    These are just my opinions, dude. Relax.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Speculating about demographics is a morass of quicksand waiting to happen. Let's leave these things out of future posts, please, and just talk about the cars. Thanks!

    (Mark - I know, I'm a geek too! :blush: )
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Lansdownemike.....Thank you for your well-thought out and (IMHO) accurate *opinion*!

    Sometimes this LPS board feels like a cult consisting of 8 people who keep coming back to drink more kool aid and bask in each other's glows. But I must admit there is great learning and insights from some of the posts.

    And (unintended) humor.

    Agree with you that a new platform is what the RL needs. Honda has to decide whether to take this car sufficiently up-market, and to make the necessary investment given their smaller resources.

    There are some Honda mules of the Pilot and Ridgeline showing up that may suggest that a V8 may be in the works. Or possibly a hybrid. It's inevitable that the next RL will offer a V8 if it expects to seriously play.

    The current RL is also not marketed outside North America and Japan. Another decision is whether they push the next model into Europe. I don't see that happening right now, but it must be another decision being mulled. The Honda Legend was sold in Europe, and was basically a bomb. Toyota has slowly launched the Lexus brand in Japan, with mixed results so far. It's very difficult to break into a "new" market and to change customer perceptions, even if it's your own country...
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ohhhh, a "morass of quicksand..." I like it.

    So, when does your next book get published. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,238
    Hang in there guy. I enjoy your posts.

    I especially connected with the "cult consisting of 8 people who keep coming back to drink more kool aid and bask in each other's glows."

    It happens in most of the long-standing boards, & I'm at least as guilty as the next person in perpetuating it.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465's sometimes confusing to figure our whether one is "worthy" (or has a large enough ego) to be accepted into the LPS board. The posts can be long, hard to follow, self-promoting, and intimidating. And the emoticons are way overused.

    I do appreciate your many posts. They are spot on and don't take themselves so seriously!

    My wife loves her RL, and that is all that matters in my world sometimes. We just bought an Odyssey Touring and it is a rather cool minivan, according to our nanny. I just blissfully shift away in my 6-speed Accord. Perhaps my Honda bias is too obvious!

    We used to get posts from a soldier who was in Iraq. I worry that he is okay. Haven't heard from him in a while.

    Best Regards.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Oh, and I totally forgot about the Integra/RSX.

    RSX is going out of production, and will not be replaced. This is what I was getting at before. Acura did the same thing back in '03 with the CL. "We've got tough competition coming, lets quit the market".
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is why Acura is forever sitting on the porch watching the big dogs play. No coupes, no convertibles, nothing but sedans and suvs. Yawn. Honda is going to have to change their views about the automobile in order to let Acura thrive. Honda just can't escape thinking small and sedan and now light trucks as you stated.

  • . . .98% of the time we talk about cars and 99% of the time all this stuff from most of us is entirely subjective.

    A few comments, perhaps even this one, need to be zapped as being in some way off topic or inappropriate. If there are facts that someone marketing an LPS car (in this case) might know, and if it is somehow relevant to a point, I say let it stand.

    What is that saying, from Mark Twain, "if you don't read, you are un-informed, if you do, you may be mis-informed," or something like that?

    We're here to bloviate and even pontificate as far as I can tell.

    For all I know, geeks (apparently NOT a protected class or minority) may or may not have the financial wherewithal to buy LPS cars. I figure it just doesn't matter -- and there is no reliable source of such info that I can find, and believe me I have tried -- so I care not, any further, to comment.

    Hey, my lawyer wife wonders if BMW's X3's are "girls cars," she says this after noting that her boss (a middle aged male) drove a pink Nissan Pulsar and she thought "something just ain't right about that." Now she is concerned that the X3 buyer has been stereotyped (she just can't stand assigning genders to cars, apparently -- so if the X3 is indeed a "girls car" she won't have another one.)

    Good grief.

    They're cars -- let's bloviate [and pontificate] on that, for pity's sake.

    Emotorcon omitted for brevity (as if) and due to apparent overuse and suspected misuse (I represent that remark.)

    Kirk out.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Totally agree, Mark. I sincerely apologize for getting us off tangent. Let's get back to the cars...
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    At its core, Honda is a relatively small company without the resources of a GM, Ford, Toyota, or even Nissan and DC. When evaluating Acura, it's important to understand it in the context of what it has to work with. As long as Honda chooses to remain a relatively independent company without the overt financial alliances of the other bigger fish, it won't exactly be able to do everything it may want to do with Acura.
  • Two of my friends went from German to Japanese cars. One, had an Audi 5000S, the other an E Class Mercedes. They both said, visiting rights at the repair shop just didn't cut it. They both switched to Acura, one the RL one the MDX. They don't know each other as far as I can tell.

    One is a PhD in Chemistry (Proctor), the other a CEO of a regional software company here in Porkopolis.

    When I ask them, they say their German cars were "better" -- but so unreliable that they just "gave up" on the notion of having another.

    What was that guy's name, Demming? Yea, now wouldn't it be something if the Germans (and the Americans for that matter) could adopt Demming the way the Japanese did?

    Of course I read a BW article that said,"no matter what" the Americans simply have a legacy of retirement benefits to fund that is like an anchor around their ankles and they are in pretty deep water (or something to that effect.)

    Hmm, the Germans seem (with 2 Germans in our garage, one Audi and one Bimmer) to have much higher quality NOW than even back in 2003. Maybe they read one of Demming's books or something.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,652

    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    At its core, Honda is a relatively small company without the resources of a GM, Ford, Toyota, or even Nissan and DC. When evaluating Acura, it's important to understand it in the context of what it has to work with. As long as Honda chooses to remain a relatively independent company without the overt financial alliances of the other bigger fish, it won't exactly be able to do everything it may want to do with Acura.

    That just isn't true. Honda Motor Company is a very heavy hitter. They are the second largest auto company in the world by market cap, 62B to Toyota's 180B. Here's how the major auto makers rank.

    1. Toyota - 180B
    2. Honda - 62B
    3. DCX - 53B
    4. Nissan - 49B
    5. BMW - 34B
    6. VW AG - 31B

    The idea that Ford and GM have loads of cash to throw around and Honda is a "little guy" is simply rediculous. Ford and GM are small fries, 12th and 15th place by market cap. Additionally, Honda is the second most profitable automaker in the world, raking in a cool 5B in net income on 85B in revenue, compared to Nissan's 4B on 74B in revenue. DCX, GM and Ford have twice Honda's revenue, but none can come close to matching Honda's profitability.

    The truth is simply that HMC is extremely conservative. Much more so than Toyota. They can afford to do whatever they want, but the word "risk" is just not in the Honda dictionary.
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