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Acura Aims to Redefine Itself with RLX Flagship

Luxury maker counting on new design and advanced technology to lure in new buyers.

by on Nov.30, 2012

Acura loses the peak but gains a new LED lighting system with the 2014 RLX flagship.

It was the brand that proved Japanese automakers could compete in the luxury segment but in recent years Acura has been little more than an after-thought, lost behind mainstream high-line marques like Lexus and German giants Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

But Acura is hoping to redefine itself with the launch of its all-new flagship model, the RLX.  Larger and more lavish than the existing Acura line-up, the maker gave a hint of what it had in mind with a concept version at last April’s New York Auto Show. The production version of the Acura RLX is now on display at the LA Auto Show.

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A casual viewer might first notice what executive Jeff Conrad demurely described as a “redesigned Acura grille.” That addresses what may have been the single most controversial aspect of recent Acura design, the massive chromed “beak,” as critics derisively called it.


Acura Went “Overboard” Says New Design Chief

That said, the “beak” won’t vanish.

by on Jun.21, 2012

Acura went "a little overboard" with its beak-like grille, admits the brand's new design chief.

It may be the single most consistently derided design feature for any brand on the market in recent years, but while the new head of Acura design admits the maker went “overboard,” the Japanese luxury brand won’t entirely abandon “the beak.”

That’s the derisive term that critics routinely used to describe the chrome, V-shaped shield that dominates the face of most recent Acura models, such as the TL sedan and MDX crossover.  The distinctive feature has been toned down slightly on the maker’s latest additions, including the all-new ILX, however.

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“We concede that we went a little overboard at some points,” conceded Toshinobu Minami, the new design director for Honda’s luxury brand, in an interview with Automotive News.  He blamed this styling mis-cue on some “pretty bad feedback” the maker got after introducing what Acura then described as its “keen edge” styling theme in 2008.


First Look: 2012 Acura TL

Timing is everything.

by on Feb.09, 2011

Acura rolls out a major update of the TL.

Timing is everything, or so it’s been said, and Acura discovered that the hard way with the 2009 launch of its updated TL sedan, which arrived in showrooms just in time for one of the worst downturns the automotive market has endured since the Great Depression.
This time around Acura marketing executives are counting on a recovering automotive market to bring buyers around for their latest update, the 2012 Acura TL, which debuted at the 2011 Chicago Auto show and is scheduled to reach showrooms in March.

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Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales said the new iteration of the  TL delivers fresh looks, improved performance – three mpg more on the highway -  and upgraded technology.  The TL also has been given a visual makeover for 2012, with changes that incorporate new front and rear styling, with features such as a redesigned front bumper, updated headlights and turn signals, a new fog light design and a shorter front overhang.