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    American Honda CEO Outlines Plan To Fix Acura


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    December 2, 2013

    Speaking with reporters at the Tokyo Motor Show a couple weeks ago, American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura said for him, "The big challenge is Acura.

    Acura has seen it sales increase six percent so far this year to 135,126 vehicles. However, the brand still trails in sales when compared to brands such as Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus.

    So what does Iwamura have in mind for Acura? To start, Iwamura wants to strengthen and grow Acura's presence in the U.S. and China, the two markets where the brand sells vehicles.

    To pull this off in the U.S., Acura needs to work on its sedans. Iwamura admits that sales of the ILX haven't been forming as well as the company expected and the RLX needs to do better. The hope is that upcoming RLX Sport Hybrid will bring in more customers.

    The big hope for Acura is the introduction of the new TLX sedan which will take the place of the TSX and TL sedans. The new model will be introduced sometime next year and will help Acura have three distinct sedans; a compact, mid-size, and full-size.

    One area that Acura doesn't need to focus on for the time being is their SUV lineup. The RDX and MDX currently make up 60 percent of total sales for the brand.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Motor Trend

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    They could start by building auto's that actually have style not the Buck Tooth Hick look. They could also build performance and High Mileage auto's that are true luxury and can really fit large people. 6'6" tall does not fit into Acura. I know since I have tried many times with my friends who have the MDX and no one can sit behind me since with the chair all the way back there is only a couple inches from the seat back to the back seat and since I cannot sit upright, I have to be partially reclined and so over all the auto might be well built, but for small people.

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    First step is admitting you have a problem.

    True. Wonder, though, what kind of brand positioning is Honda thinking of: step-up from Honda like it is today (only better executed), or will they risk setting up a dedicated luxury brand? Second option would be immensely expensive if the engineering isn't somehow shared with the Honda brand...

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    Honda neds to rethink about what made Acura click.

    Sporty yet luxurious machines having simple design with capabilities at 9/10 of the full fledged luxury automobiles at 8/10 their price with bulletproof reliability. Add to that fully loaded car with limited options gave a solid value proposition making Acura a cult in the 90s. Stop the distractions like the ZDX, they are not needed as Honda can take volume part.

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    Acura's biggest problem is Benz.. not Buick.. not Lexus.

    Why would you buy an ILX when for just a little more money or pretty much the same lease payment you could get a CLA? I can pick up an RDX for $399 a month or a GLX for $399 a month.... and that's way before we get to RLX v. E-Class comparisons.

    Forget all of SMK's unimportant numbers/fetures that he likes to get stuck on and think of it from a badge snob's perspective. The CLA doesn't even have to be a good, much less great, car to beat Acura in this segment. It simply has to start reliably for the first 36 months of ownership till the lease is up. Acura is peddling mildly re-worked Civics and CR-Vs with broughmy leather. Even the Cadillacs that SMK likes to knock on (SRX and XTS) feel like Cadillacs when you sit in them and drive them. People don't sit in an XTS and say "this feels like an Impala" The ILX and RDX feel like Hondas.

    Acura simply cannot compete with Benz or Cadillac or Lexus in this area for that reason alone. Horsepower doesn't matter, quality barely matters, FWD/RWD/AWD doesn't matter....

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    what the f-k is a TLX?

    I did like the previous TL. And the TSX. But neither would fly to the top of the list when confronted with other choices.

    Acura, Buick, Lincoln are the types of brands that do not stand out against the first tier of luxury makes. They probably have more appeal to brand loyal Chevy, Ford, and Honda fans who want a nicer car. (not knocking Buick there as Cadillac is the GM brand).

    Infiniti is sort of on the same path. What the eff are they doing? Strangely enough, Lexus seems to be trying to do some things to keep a pole position in the luxury market. Only if to be able to keep the doors open to sell more crossovers.

    I do think it is sort of to the point where Honda may actually improve the Acura or premium Honda models popularity by combining the sales channel in some locations. When the RLX is your flagship and your mainstream sedan is not a TL but now a TLX? when really the names Integra, Legend, Vigor, still hold much more cache ...........

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    Honda neds to rethink about what made Acura click.

    Sporty yet luxurious machines having simple design with capabilities at 9/10 of the full fledged luxury automobiles at 8/10 their price with bulletproof reliability. Add to that fully loaded car with limited options gave a solid value proposition making Acura a cult in the 90s. Stop the distractions like the ZDX, they are not needed as Honda can take volume part.

    Gotta agree.....it's a honda with extra tech....

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    what the f-k is a TLX?

    I did like the previous TL. And the TSX. But neither would fly to the top of the list when confronted with other choices.

    Acura, Buick, Lincoln are the types of brands that do not stand out against the first tier of luxury makes. They probably have more appeal to brand loyal Chevy, Ford, and Honda fans who want a nicer car. (not knocking Buick there as Cadillac is the GM brand).

    Infiniti is sort of on the same path. What the eff are they doing? Strangely enough, Lexus seems to be trying to do some things to keep a pole position in the luxury market. Only if to be able to keep the doors open to sell more crossovers.

    I do think it is sort of to the point where Honda may actually improve the Acura or premium Honda models popularity by combining the sales channel in some locations. When the RLX is your flagship and your mainstream sedan is not a TL but now a TLX? when really the names Integra, Legend, Vigor, still hold much more cache ...........

    Agree that the names hold more emotion, yet even then they were still over priced luxury Honda Versions. Acura needs to truly stop rebadging Honda and go their own way with body style and interiors that set it apart if they want to be a contender.

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      Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totaling $85 million in the joint venture.
      Honda and GM have been working together through a master collaboration agreement announced in July 2013. It established the co-development arrangement for a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to create a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems.  
      “Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-gen fuel cell system,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president of Honda North America, Inc. “This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future.”
      The Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) joint venture will be operated by a board of directors consisting of three executives from each company that will include a rotating chairperson. In addition, a president will be appointed to rotate between each company.
      GM and Honda are acknowledged leaders in fuel cell technology with more than 2,220 patents between them, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed in 2002 through 2015.
      “The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers.”
      Fuel cell technology addresses many of the major challenges facing automobiles today: petroleum dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refueling times. Fuel cell vehicles can operate on hydrogen made from renewable sources such as wind and biomass. Water vapor is the only emission from fuel cell vehicles. 
      In addition to advancing the performance of the fuel cell system, GM and Honda are working together to reduce the cost of development and manufacturing through economies of scale and common sourcing. The two companies also continue to work with governments and other stakeholders to further advance the refueling infrastructure that is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.
      GM is currently demonstrating the capability of fuel cells across a range of land, sea and air applications. The company has accumulated millions of miles of real-world driving in fuel cell vehicles.
      “With the next-generation fuel cell system, GM and Honda are making a dramatic step toward lower cost, higher-volume fuel cell systems. Precious metals have been reduced dramatically and a fully cross-functional team is developing advanced manufacturing processes simultaneously with advances in the design,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Business. “The result is a lower-cost system that is a fraction of the size and mass.”
      Honda began delivery of its all-new Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle to U.S. customers in December 2016 following a spring 2016 launch in Japan. The Clarity Fuel Cell received the best driving range rating from the EPA of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine with a range rating of 366 miles and fuel economy rating of 68 miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent combined.
      “The expertise Honda has established that led to creation of the first-generation Clarity fuel cell system is valuable experience that we are leveraging in the joint development of the next-generation fuel cell system with GM,” said Takashi Sekiguchi, managing officer and director and chief operating officer of Automotive Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. “Our collaboration is an opportunity to further utilize the strengths of each company to popularize fuel cell vehicles at the earliest possible time.”
      GM and Honda collaborated in a powertrain cross-supply arrangement in 1999 under which Honda manufactured 50,000 V-6 engines for the Saturn VUE and Honda received diesel engines from GM’s Isuzu affiliate for use in Europe.  
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