LOS ANGELES — Acura won't push dealers to do the store upgrades that had been a key part of a plan to boost the brand's luxury image.
"Due to the economic climate, we have not pressed dealers to implement the interior upgrade program, nor has an official launch or completion timeline been created," says Jeff Conrad, vice president of the Acura division at American Honda Motor Co.
The interior improvements include larger showrooms and more upscale fabrics and materials for furniture and flooring. Acura dealers saw a computer simulation of the new look at their annual meeting last April in New Orleans.
Acura had aimed to have all stores meet those standards by 2010, say dealers. That has changed.
"They were warning us they were going to get excited about it, then they never followed through," says Peter Hoffman, president of Sierra Autocars Inc. in suburban Los Angeles. Sierra has one Acura dealership.
A facilities upgrade program launched in 2000 included exterior and interior improvements, Conrad says. About 90 percent of Acura's dealerships made those changes, he says.
Dealers who carry out the latest interior upgrades will be reimbursed for design service fees if they use the recommended design firm, says Conrad. Stores that made the 2000 upgrades were eligible for increased vehicle allocations.