It’s turning into a busy year for Acura, the luxury arm of Honda Motor Co. The oldest of the Japanese brands is launching an array of all-new or updated models, from the new ZDX crossover to the V-6 version of its TSX sedan, in a bid to gain momentum in a market that’s both crowded and sluggish.
The success of the new products will be critical for Acura, which was the first of the Japanese luxury brands – but which also seemed to lose its way, in recent years. The Honda subsidiary has been struggling to create a true brand identity that differentiates it from better-known competitors, such as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Unlike those competitors, Acura has taken a generally conservative approach to its products. It’s aimed for the lower to middle luxury market – unlike Lexus, for example, with its big LS sedans and LX sport-utes. And Acura has opted against the V-8s, V-12s and performance-based hybrids that help define other luxury brands.
As a result, analysts contend, it has remained an also-ran in the high-line market.