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After 2 big years, everything's rosy at Acura
Automotive News / February 03, 2003

From 1970 to 1985, George D'Angelo Sr. was in commercial lending at Barclay's Bank of New York.

Then he purchased a failing Ford dealership, and later obtained an Acura dealership.

His Acura store in Larchmont, N.Y., ranks fourth in volume in the nation. D'Angelo is chairman of the Acura National Dealer Council.

D'Angelo told Special Correspondent Monica Link that about 85 percent of Acura dealers have become involved in the new showrooms and signage program that started a few years ago.

What are Acura's hottest products?
The MDX, the TL and the RSX are the three hottest products.

What is Acura's weakest product?
RL sales are not as strong as we would like them to be.

Are you looking forward to the TSX sedan?
I think it's going to be a strong contender in the market. I think it will have a good price, and it's a welcome addition. We really haven't received a lot of information on it, but I think it will go up against the Audi A4.

Are there concerns about the TSX competing with the 3.2 TL? No, I think the price is going to be totally different. I don't think there will be a whole lot of crossover. I think it will fill a much-needed niche in the market and in the Acura family.

Is there a replacement for the NSX?
They are working on that right now; I don't have any information on it.
What is the role of the dealer advisory board?

The role of the board is to represent dealers nationally and to meet with the senior management of Acura to express any concerns or anything we'd like to see them change. It has six members.

What are the group's top priorities?
Our top priorities for 2003 are to continue the momentum that Acura has had during the past couple of years with the introduction of new product and keep the pricing as it is now. We'd also like an increase in production.

How involved is the advisory board in the manufacturer's programs and decisions?
Very involved. We have been working on the dealer sales and service agreement. There is an image program that has resulted in a number of dealers redoing their dealerships.

How much input does the advisory board have in factory advertising? The dealers have very good input, both nationally and regionally. We always like to see more advertising, but we have a strong commitment from Acura to continue the momentum on advertising.

Is Acura taking the right approach by advertising performance instead of luxury?
Yes, I think so. I think people have finally come around to saying that Acura is a luxury division. I think the performance aspect gets them into the showroom. Once the customers sit in the car and drive the car, they know they are dealing with a luxury make.

Does Acura need a rear-wheel-drive vehicle to be a true luxury player? I honestly don’t think so. It depends on the price. In this car environment, I don’t see the real need for it.

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