A buddy of mine asked me if I ghost-wrote Mark Rechtin's AutoNews article "Acura finds sales, still seeks luxury identity" http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20101220/RETAIL03/312209984/1274 as it reminded him of our three-part series written earlier this year, in which I discuss Acura's identity problem:
- Audi & Segmentation (May 13);
- Segmentation Part 2 - Acura needs a true flagship (May 13), and
- Segmentation 3 - Cleaning up Acura (August 8).
The frustration with Acura is that, while on one hand it continues to say that it's happy with the intelligent value shopper, articles like Mr. Rechtin's yet belie a keen sense of misgiving at Acura that it apparently actually wants to measure up to "real" luxury brands where it matters most - in the perception of the consumer. This is where I scratch my head.
As I outline in my series, positioning as a luxury brand is not mysterious; resuscitating a brand with a PR/image problem has been done by a leading luxury brand, which provides a workable textbook of instruction; entering the luxury space from scratch has been done - shucks, Acura did it, and before Lexus, too.
There's no doubt about Acura technology, quality, performance, cost of ownership...the engineering is impeccable. Yet, for all Acura's engineering skills, it continues to fail to grasp the simplest concept - when in Rome, do as the Romans. And this is the reason it lags. Luxury brands do what luxury brands do, and Acura does not do those things.
What do luxury brands do? Read our series.