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found this read at another board.
The Toronto Star
Ontario
I had an interesting conversation in the back of an Acura TSX recently with Anton Yewchyn-Pawczuk, one of the company's young product planners.

We'd just spent the afternoon bombing around some California canyon roads and Anton had his notebook out, asking not only if the TSX was a legitimate competitor to the likes of 3 Series BMWs and Audi A4s, but also whether the Acura brand was strong enough to measure up to, among others, those vaunted German brands. Was it different enough from Honda? Where does brand strength come from? How does Acura get there?


My short answers: not quite, and, for the others, I don't quite know. Acuras are great cars, I was more than willing to admit, but they still seemed pretty Honda-ish to me, not sufficiently different from the cars their parent company produces to stand truly apart as different products. People buy Acuras because they're the intelligent choice, offering an astute balance of performance, luxury and practicality. People buy BMWs and Audis and Mercedes simply because they want them.

The other rider in our car, Michael La Fave, associate editor of World Of Wheels magazine, voiced the opinion that the reputations of BMW and, to a lesser extent, Audi, were forged from ideologies that the corporations had been founded on and had been built upon.

Acura is a relatively new brand, just over 15 years old. It simply doesn't have the pedigree of these older marques and was founded on very different principles: American Honda saw a great opportunity to launch a luxury brand and make some great money. Acura's creation wasn't driven by one person's or team's passion to introduce something unique in the marketplace.

Ultimately, a brand's image hinges on its products. BMW was a car before it was a brand - the first BMW drivers had to make a leap of faith to invest in a product that was, for its time, an unknown quantity.

People buy BMWs today based on the company's reputation. In a recent Maritz survey, people cited that and styling as the primary reasons for purchasing one. That reputation derived directly from a unique and tangibly different product.

This may explain why Audis, brilliant as they are, don't quite yet have the same cachet as cars with propellers or three-pointed stars on their hoods. They do still share some engineering and some physical pieces with Volkswagens, much the same as Acuras do with Hondas.

We got cynical for a bit and wondered whether the prestige brands, knowing that they could sell on reputation alone, shouldn't get a bit complacent - the cars are already so good and most car buyers (including you and me) will put up with a lot to drive one every day - and just coast on their image alone. But such a strategy would only work for so long. With new buyers constantly entering the market and older buyers leaving it for greener pastures, there's never any room for complacency.

Because there always comes a time when someone starts looking for a car, and they're not familiar with a brand's reputation and can only judge it on the quality of the product placed in front of them.

Cadillac, long the "Standard of the World," discovered this in the 1980s when all it had to offer were old-fashioned tanks and a reskinned Cavalier called Cimarron. It's only now that, with technologically and stylistically advanced cars like the CTS and SRX, it's finding its footing once again, and leading rather than following.

In the end, it's innovation that's the hallmark of great automotive brands (and, indeed, great non-automotive brands). BMW's kept its leading-edge image because it builds leading-edge products: check out the technological wonderment of the 7 Series sedan, or the sharp-edged styling of the Z4.

Infiniti, after years of floundering in the shadow of Toyota's Lexus division, finally outsold its chief rivals last year thanks to the avant-garde G35, a car that trounces its competition by making almost everything else feel old hat. And Mercedes is pushing itself to ever-greater sales heights with a combination of high tech and safety features and magic-slipper styling.

All of this is good news for Acura. Because if, as it says, the TSX will become the blueprint for the rest of the marque's cars to come, it means that in a few years there will be people entering the market with no Acura baggage, people who will judge the TSX and its ilk on their merits alone. On first blush, they'll probably think the cars are fantastic.

So if the collective public's memory is anything as bad as my own, Anton shouldn't have too much to worry about.

Laurance Yap can be reached at yap @ mac.com.
 

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ok, do y'all agree with this or not....

I think I disagree as I will most likely get another Acura in a couple of years
 

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I think what the reviewer said about people basing the opinion of a car soley on reputation/heritage alone is not entirely true. Yes, BMW's/Mercedes are and have always been status symbols and people like to say "I drive a so sna so..." but you ever checked out consumer reports? Yeah, mostly black circles and unreliable as hell. Case in point....my father has had four Range Rovers cause he loved them since he was a child. And you know what? He was ambivalent about each one. But he kept buying them. A bit of cognitive dissonance don't you think? (i.e. holding two competing thoughts at the same time) "I like the RangeRover reputation but hate their unreliability". WHile he is stuck in the quagmire of overpriced unreliable automobiles, I have learned from him. I buy a car with my heart and my brains, hence the TSX :ben:

I guess many luxury brand have become very complacent over the years. and their sales have not suffered enough. I mean come on.... why can't Mercedes or Audi get their shit together and work out their electrical gremlins????? They should just take apart a honda and see how they get theirs to work so well. Do you think their gonna lose their heritage by making some adjustments? Maybe they don't have to.

My father used to say to me that if you buy a Jaguar you need to buy three of them... 1 for the driveway to impress the neighbors, 1 to drive, and 1 for the mechanic to work on :laugh:

I bought the Acura based on it's reputation as being very reliable and fun to drive. Acura = reliability, cool advanced fuel efficient engines, awesome transmissions, safe, luxurious and good resale etc. Most people nowadays do buy an Acura because of its reputation not because it screams status. As far as a status symbol....eh..... I guess I would rather have a $30,000 Acura TSX than a $30,000 Honda Accord cause it's cooler in my opinion. But for most people who buy these cars its 6 and one half dozen of the other.
Just a little :bs: to get off my chest.
 
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I agree with the reviewer. I really like my TSX but it is NOT a BMW. While reliability might be better than BMW or Mercedes, that is just the cost of doing business. Let's face it, if money was no object, would you tell a guy he should buy the NSX because it's more reliable than the Ferrari or Porsche? NO. BMWs are built around a philosophy and it is not just brand name. BMWs have to meet serious and real performance demands that American/Japanese cars don't have to. BMWs and Mercedes don't compromise on brakes or suspensions because they are designed to be driven safely at high speeds. The 3 series BMW is a serious sports sedan, not just a Honda accord with more power. The car is Front engine and Rear drive like real sports car and the have near 50/50 weight distribution. The weight distribution in a sedan means they are serious about building a car that is safe at high speeds. Again, my TSX is very nice but it is not on the same level of a BMW. It is better in value, the styling is avant guarde, the gas mileage is excellent but Acura is still too close to Honda. By the way, BMW warranties their clutch unlike Acura. The Acura TL had potential to be a real competitor on the world sports Sedan market but they botched it with the front drive and lame suspension. The RL might have a chance but it is too full of wizz-bang crap. Acura needs to build a serious car that is front engine, rear drive have 50/50 weight distribution, goes 0-60 in under 7 seconds and have four piston front brakes. The TL almost got there with the Brembos on the manual. Anyway, I'll get in my car and enjoy my drive to work in the morning but I have no delusions of my car being on the same level as a BMW that was built for the Autobahn. Read this article on the Audi TT and that discusses rear end lift at high speeds which became an issue in Europe.
Article on Audi TT in Europe

Ignacio
 

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I agree, when their running, BMW's are the world's finest driving machines and people who typically buy them do not use them for their intended purpose (driving them to their abilities, akin to dedicated SUV buyers who never see off road etc). Of course even if you have money, few people like to put their cars in the shop every couple of months. I guess they could buy three then.......
 

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I just skimmed the article.
I don't think it's particularly great. It doesn't really cover the subject and it ignores a lot.

Some stray points:

(1) Unless I missed something, LEXUS isn't mentioned at all. Lexus, I think we'd have to say, DOES have the "panache" that he talks about, despite being EVEN NEWER than Acura and despite having much the same baggage.

(2) About AUDI, there's a couple of big reasons that have kept the brand behind, and it seems the writer doesn't have a clue:
(a) Reliability problems, chronically and consistently
(b) For people old enough to remember it, the "unintended acceleration" fiasco of the mid-to-late '80's continues to be part of Audi's image.
I still haven't forgotten or forgiven the company for it.

(3) Contrary to what he thinks, a lot of people DO buy Acuras because that's what they "WANT."
I know I did. Those other brands that he mentions were on my reject list.
 

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WERD!

I remember the whole Audi fiasco thing. My father picked up a 5000S stationwagon for a song because of it. No one wanted the "Christine Car" Turns out the engine idles high in the morning (really I never knew that :p ) and the car did not require you to put your foot on the brake before placing it in drive. So a few people put it into drive or reverse, so the car shot backwards or forwards, and ran over a few child. A complete and total tragedy to say the least. Seems like it was a combination of poor design, driver carelessless, and of course, bad circumstances.
 

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You know, I wanted some thought provoking discussion, and you have done it.

I really did not know I wanted an acura, fact is i let a couple of days go by before I made up my mind. I am glad I did that. Now that is the only manufacturer that I would give a first second and third look. I like the TSX, as does my wife.
 

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Not sure how much I can agree with this article. Perception is sometimes its own reality; but it is not necessarily always the truth. Many of the major American car manufacturers have bought the European brands (i.e. Volvo, Saab, Mercedes, etc.) but exactly what impact that will have upon the "brand name" will really be a matter of time. While this author attempts to place Acura in the defensive position, I am not sure that because this author makes the claims they are truly the public's perception that this is actually the truth. Clearly, a well-informed consumer will make a logical choice based upon the levels of a products desirability, reliability and integrity. Honda/Acura IMHO has maintained a consistent record of producing products that are desirable, reliable and have a proven record of integrity. Thus, it is hard for me to believe that "innovation" alone is what makes the car- if that were the case, we would all be driving "hybrids" or "air cars"... Enough said.
 

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As far as brand prestiege goes I would have bought the tsx with the honda badge on it. The badge or star doesn't make the car. I agree the BMW handles better at the limits however, unless your on a race track there isnt that much difference. My Dad is a Jaguar nut, he has had 5 o 6 since the late 80s. Until ford bought them the were nightmare cars Lucas electronics, messed up hydrolics, ect. I saw a new one at a light today and I honestly thought it was a lincoln of some sort at first and I consider myself a car nut. As far as honda making acura as a marketing ploy to make money, what about porshe, bmw, mercedes making SUVs does that really add to their performance legacy
 

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04tsx said:
As far as brand prestiege goes I would have bought the tsx with the honda badge on it. The badge or star doesn't make the car. I agree the BMW handles better at the limits however, unless your on a race track there isnt that much difference. My Dad is a Jaguar nut, he has had 5 o 6 since the late 80s. Until ford bought them the were nightmare cars Lucas electronics, messed up hydrolics, ect. I saw a new one at a light today and I honestly thought it was a lincoln of some sort at first and I consider myself a car nut. As far as honda making acura as a marketing ploy to make money, what about porshe, bmw, mercedes making SUVs does that really add to their performance legacy
Me2.
Before there was a TSX, I had a TL-S, which I didn't love but it was the most suitable car for me from what was available at the time.
Then the new Accord came out, so I tried it. I felt I would have gotten it, if it were smaller.

Enter the Euro Accord/TSX!
 

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Caphaddock said:
Perception is sometimes its own reality; but it is not necessarily always the truth. Many of the major American car manufacturers have bought the European brands (i.e. Volvo, Saab, Mercedes, etc.) but exactly what impact that will have upon the "brand name" will really be a matter of time.
perception certainly is reality, as is obvious from the quote above :) . the media in this country worked very hard to get the american public to believe the daimler/chrysler acquisition was a merger of equals. it was not. daimler-benz bought/acquired chrysler. they own chrysler. chrysler did not buy daimler. that's why it's "daimler-chrysler", not "chrysler-daimler" :)

that being said, i totally agree with the point caphaddock makes.
 

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Perception is everything, especially in todays world, with all the media. And it is different in everyones mind also
 
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