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Old 12-22-10, 10:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Half of Prospective Acura Buyers Turned-Off by Brand's Styling

Beauty, it seems, is not in the eye of the beholder. True, while there's some wiggle room for opinion, ugly is ugly and when it comes to the styling of a vehicle, the number's don't lie.

Acura has been highly criticized for its styling since it first introduced its beak front-end design with the 2009 TL and according to a new J.D. Power survey,those aren't just the opinions of a few ivory tower auto journalists. The 2010 J.D. Power Avoidance Study has revealed that nearly half of all prospective Acura buyers cited the brand's styling as their main reason for not purchasing an Acura. And to make matters worse, interior styling was cited as the second biggest reason for not picking an Acura.

Company representatives have continually toed the corporate line, defending the styling of vehicles as Acura rolled out its ‘shield' design across the product lineup. Execs finally seem to have gotten the message, however, with the new 2011 models getting toned-down designs.

Not only are Acura's designs hurting overall sales, but they are also having a negative effect on transaction prices which sit at an average of $37,665; a solid $5,000 less than it's nearest rival reports TrueCar.

Were it not for the styling flop, Acura might be on a serious tear, as even with the design duds it has managed a 24 percent yearly increase in sales, putting it ahead of Audi, Infiniti and Lincoln in the luxury sales race but still well back of Lexus, Mercedes and BMW.

Strong results like Automotive Lease Guide‘s No. 1 ranking for residual value and a No. 2 position in the annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study can take a brand so far, but as the price of a vehicle increases, so does the importance of its design. With a rumored list of new debuts over the next few years, Acura would be wise to re-imagine what the brand should look like.

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