Honda Motor Co. is on the right track in deciding to create product-development and styling teams just for Acura.
Acura has long been an underachiever in the United States, falling shy of Lexus and Infiniti in brand image.
The redesigned RL, launched in 2004, tells the story. Acura gave it lots of high-tech equipment, and it has a luxury base price, $49,915 with shipping. But sales have been disappointing. "Maybe Acura doesn't have the brand image" to sell a vehicle at that price, one dealer said.
Part of the problem is Honda's DNA. The company reveres efficiency, great mileage -- doing less with more. But luxury cars require a different approach. Luxury buyers want to make a strong personal statement with power and style.
The company needs to nurture Acura DNA.