With all the controversy surrounding Acura with the recent redesigns of the TSX, RL and the soon to be released TL, I was reminded of an article I had read in which Acura stated the reasoning behind changing the name of the Legend to the RL was simply about brand recognition.
Acura was concerned that the value of the Legend name was becoming more powerful and recognizable than the name Acura, and as such by steering clear of names instead using letter and numbers to identify their cars, the name Acura would instantly be recognizable.* People would know that an RL was an Acura, as opposed to their argument of the Legend essentially becoming a brand in and of itself.
If I had the ability to insert sound effects, insert the sound of brakes squealing to a stop here.*
THEY DIDN’T WANT THE NAME LEGEND TO BECOME MORE POWERFUL THAN THE BRAND NAME ACURA???
Am I missing something here?* I would argue that having a name as powerful as Legend in the case of Acura would be a manufacturers dream.* Think about it, when you hear names like Mustang, Corvette and Camaro you immediately know the makers.* Even in German car circles nameplates like M3 and A4 bring brand recognition for their makers as well.
And yet Acura made the decision to take nameplates like Legend and Integra off the table replacing them with emotionless letter and number combos like RL or RSX.
The Germans have used letters and numbers for decades.* Audi, BMW and Mercedes have entire model lines built around a combination of letters and numbers.* Those combinations have become legends in their own rite, cars like the 2002tii, 450SL and M3 don’t need their makeRs name to be said, it falls into the category of, “you just know” who made that car.
But in the case of Acura, you really have to second-guess the logic in going from a name based to an alphanumeric model designation.* Acura has been losing market share simply based on the fact it never really has fielded a true contender to go up against the likes of the Lexus LS and the big German sedans.* Furthermore their insistence on carrying on the quasi-front wheel drive architecture has got to stop, lets go with a true rear wheel drive setup.* We all know that as good as SH-AWD is, it is still a predominantly front wheel drive car.* The major players in this segment ALL are rear wheel drive with the exception of the A8 from Audi, and that model sells in such small numbers it really shouldn’t be counted here.
The thing to consider here is this, Lexus started their brand using alphanumeric designation, and it has served them well.* Everyone knows a LS is from Lexus.* Infiniti started with the same, and although they struggled to establish its brand identity in the beginning, the brand has really come into its own.
Acura started as the Legend and the Integra.* Great cars by all accounts.* Second generation Legends are still by far one of the best looking sedans on the road.* Even today if you mention the name Legend or Integra, people know you are talking about Acura.
Based on the current design direction, I would say that Acura really has it in for itself.* Ugly is not a word that is strong enough to describe what is happening to once great cars.* I don’t care how well engineered they are, an ugly car is an ugly car.
I would propose Acura go back to its roots, and start over.* Bring back the Legend sedan and coupe.* Bring back a replacement for the Integra; include a coupe in that line-up as well.* The RDX and MDX can stay, but give them a name, an identity as they get redesigned.
Make Acura great again.* Acura started the whole Japanese assault on the Germans, and yet no one at Mercedes or BMW is worried right now about what Acura is going to do next.*
Make rear wheel drive platforms, not this AWD stuff.* Why not put an Integra replacement on the S2000 platform.*
Stop trying to be all things to all people and make yourself unique again, make Acura a name plate people lust after again, unique products that stand apart from the crowd for all the right reasons, not because of ugly styling.
For me a return to Acura’s roots would be a return to leadership and innovation, something Acura’s parent company Honda prides itself.
Tell me I am wrong…
Be sure to check out the Mercedes Fashion Show - Anytime you combine Girls and Bikinis you know your going to have fun!!!
08-17-11 06:07 PM
I remember reading about this on here so I couldn't find it so I dug it up from my collection and made it a sticky.
08-18-11 01:00 AM
This article is right on the money, I wouldn't buy anything Acura sells now.
08-18-11 07:49 PM
Lol I'll stick with my legends.
08-24-11 04:28 AM
acura outdid itself with the legends n now thier cars look all wierd n futuristic just plain boring
08-24-11 06:10 PM
I used to work at an Acura store back in the day when they decided to change the Legend name to 3.5RL. The talk was it was a marketing decision. All of the Legends competitors at the time had alpha numeric model names, J30, SC400 etc. They felt that by conforming to the category, they could improve brand value.
I used to sell the Legend, people used to ask me all the time if this car was considered a luxury car.
08-24-11 06:27 PM
That's from the interview itself not something I made up.
08-24-11 07:13 PM
I could be wrong as I didn't see it in print. That was the point in which the product changed though. The RL was no Legend. Softer suspension and more like a boring luxury car.
08-25-11 04:42 PM
Well why is it in Japan and Europe the ka9, kb1 and kb2 the rl is still called the legend not the rl? So this would def make way more since then what is being claimed by u!
08-31-11 04:08 PM
Marketing is everything. The names of the products differ for the same reason Acura doesn't exist outside the U.S. Every time you'd see an article on the NSX they would call it the Honda NSX. The idea to change the Legend name was a U.S. marketing strategy to raise public perception of the product. If your product has the same type of name as its competitors, then maybe it IS like its competitors. Around that time Acura was up against Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus. When I was in the business, I was offended when somebody would come onto the lot and tell me that Acura is not a luxury car maker. Acura decided to change its philosophy by changing the name and the design of its cars. Notice how Acura products are different after 1995 than before.
I never claimed my post was what Acura was thinking, I was merely giving a perspective from someone in the business who was on the frontlines during that time peroid.
Sorry if anyone took it the wrong way.
09-02-11 07:19 PM
ok thats why acura opened a dealership in japan and so did lexus but this like i said from a article i remebered reading about! no i didnt take it the wrong way
09-05-11 10:17 PM
The article is how I felt whrn the LEGEND was put to death. WHY WOULD A MANUFACTURER RETIRE AN ICON? What about Impala,Corvrtte,Mustang,Charger,kleenex,Coke,Scotc h Tape...ACURA LEGEND gave a portion of the Japanese luxury market to Lexus and Infinity. I liken it to" Bye Bye Amercan Pie". A HUGE marketting error. my '91,both of them will never DIE!!!!
09-07-11 10:59 AM
I don't understand why Japan.
09-07-11 01:52 PM
@Butch, the name change was an attempt to distance themselves from the Camrys and Maximas that customers were considering when they were shopping the Legend. They wanted to be considered in the minds of people shopping the LS400, LS300, C Class, E Class, J30, Q45 and 3 and 5 series BMW's, which all use alpha numeric branding for their products. Acura had a choice, be the only one using a "name" for their luxury product and be questioned as to whether it is a luxury product or change to be more like your competitors.
@Precision, Japan is home turf for them. Perhaps they are expanding and want to try their market first. Last time I looked, Lexus and Infinity had a separate group of executives making decisions for their brand. Honda execs make decisions for Acura. That was what we complained about when I was selling the car. May have changed since then but thats how it was when the Legend was in production.
09-07-11 09:40 PM
Aleax, I think we are both in mourning for the death of the Legend name plate. I am sure the change was well thought out. but conclusion was wrong. Will Honda ever figure this out? The people resposible must still have control. Bring back the LEGEND and sales will increase. Even the Germans don't have a LEGEND!
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.