Honda Motor Co.'s upscale division, Acura, has had a solid 2010, with sales up 24 percent over 2009, surpassing the gains made by luxury's big 3: Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
However, the recession has impeded Acura's goal to become a first-tier luxury player. Two years ago, Honda executives in Japan halted plans for a V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive.
Vicki Poponi, American Honda's assistant vice president for product planning, said Acura is still trying to figure out what it is and what it wants to be.
Steve Center, chief marketing officer for American Honda, referring to the economic crash after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in the fall of 2008, said the company had to “reconnoiter” and work with its strengths.
In the last two years, Automotive Lease Guide has rated Acura the top luxury brand for residual value. It jumped from 14th to second in J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study, which was topped by Porsche.
According to TrueCar and Autodata, Acura spends just $2,600 per vehicle on incentives, the lowest of any luxury brand except Lexus. [via autonews - sub. required]