Acura considers bringing back the CL along with a hardtop convertible

Acura looking to compete with the Mercedes CL

According to John Watts, product planning manager for Acura, while there are some gaps in Honda’s luxury brand lineup, any additions would have to be in the niche segments.

“We will look at smaller segments,” Watts said at a recent press event. “There is potential for a coupe like the CL,” which was killed after the 2003 model year. “A retractable hardtop, we’re always looking at that, too. But that market is fickle.”

“We want to rival Bentley and Maybach in performance and design,” Dave Marek, chief designer for Honda R&D Americas, recently told Automotive News in an interview. But while Acura dreams of playing in the big league, the truth is that since there is no V8 or rear-wheel drive car in its lineup, Acura will remain a second-tier luxury brand.

“The brand name is strong, but there is no real flagship sedan,” Lincoln Merrihew, senior vice president of TNS Automotive told Automotive News. “That’s the single most important missing element.

“But they’ve hinted at” bigger engines, Merrihew says. “If they back off, there will be so much damage to their credibility. It doesn’t matter if it’s an eight or a 10; a six is not enough.”

According to John Mendel, vice president of American Honda, Acura is still finding its way. “As a brand, Acura is not there yet,” Mendel says. “The next three to four years will be important as we develop a clear message. We have separated r&d for the first time for Honda and Acura.”

Acura sales are down 7.8 percent through the first 8 months of 2007 to 122,357 units. Ever model besides the Acura MDX has lagged behind its 2006 numbers.

Click here to see our previous article on Acura’s Future Lineup.


Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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