Acura Says It Was Wrong To Focus On Benchmarking Lexus And Infiniti

Acura general manager Jon Ikeda admits that for a while, the brand forgot its roots and there was a disconnect between its advertising and the vehicles it produced.

Speaking at the Marketing 360 event hosted by Automotive News, Ikeda said that Acura’s messaging went down the wrong road as rivals like Lexus and Infiniti emerged as serious rivals.

“We started to chase what was in, what the market was talking about more than staying true to ourselves,” Ikeda said. “When you start benchmarking and looking at everything else, instead of looking introspectively, is where you lose your way.

“We’re a lot more truthful [now] to who we are and what we’re trying to be. I think it’s a growing pain we went through,” Ikeda added.

Ikeda previously worked in Acura’s design department but assumed his current position in 2015. Under his lead, the automaker adopted its ‘Precision Crafted Performance’ mantra and has put greater emphasis on its design, most notably with the Precision Concept from the Detroit Auto Show back in 2016.

At the same time, Acura launched a series of new advertisements with actor Michael B. Jordan acting as narrator. Acura wanted to paint itself as a vibrant and enthusiastic company and did just that with these ads.

This new advertising direction continues despite the brand’s sales falling since their 2015 peak.

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  • Cool guy

    LOL??

  • He has no choice because Honda branded cars look more premium than Acura, except for the NSX of course…

    • donald seymour

      Sooooooo True.

  • Commonsenseonthefield

    So….what’s the new direction? Lexus and Infiniti were never strictly fwd like acura mostly is..

    • donald seymour

      You preaching Brotha, but are you preaching to the choir?

    • Autoexperte

      Alfa Romeo?

    • Tumbi Mtika

      Let’s be honest here.

      The only reason Acura is not strictly FWD is because the NSX has its engine in the back. that’s all.
      All Wheel Drive is a cop-out, and it always will be.

      Looking at you, Audi.

  • PhilMcGraw

    I think Acura is going in the right direction with the new RDX, I just wish they would lower their prices a little bit.

    • Huge Dom

      Agree, don’t want to see them price themselves out of the market.

  • Six_Tymes

    “it’s a growing pain we went through”
    What businesses Fail to do all to often is get rid of those who caused the “growing pain”. Those who waste companies time and loss of business should not be employed by the same company that they caused problems for. BUT like history shows, the people that often make bad decisions are also the ones who get paid the most. I call those companies DUMB, because they are.

    Jeff Bezos recognized this problem in many industries years ago, he worded it this way to make a quick point. “I don’t just hire smart people, smart people are wrong much too often, I want people working for me who are right”

    He is one of the most successful people on the planet., Honda/Acura should get RID OF those who caused the company pains, and veer away from their roots.

  • PK

    that moment when you realized. that the genesis is doing way better than acura right now and they’re only 2 or 3 years old!!!! wow japs wow….

    • nastinupe

      Japs? Really?

      • PK

        i use it for a short abbreviation for japanese. why is there a problem?

        • Astonman

          You may be too young to remember but it was a derogatory term frequently used. Ever heard of Slap a Jap day? Hell I wasn’t Japanese and I got slapped.

          • PK

            whatever.

          • Astonman

            Being nice doesn’t take much effort in life.

          • PK

            it’s just an abbreviation. like i said. what’s the big deal? is their history behind it or something?

          • Astonman

            I totally get where you’re coming from by saying it’s an abbreviation. It was shortened during WW2 and used in reference as a slur to disparage them. I’ve been in your shoes. I came to the States when I was 8 and had to learn English and the nuances of the American life. In my teenage years, I hung around some friends who were using slurs I didn’t know were slurs. One day a young woman set me straight. We were playing tennis and I lost a close call, and I said, I got “jewed”. After the second time I said it, she pointed out to me that it was derogatory because it is meant to that a Jew screwed you. So I learned.

          • PK

            well that’s stupid.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I honestly can’t tell the difference, and I don’t know what “being true to ourselves” even means anymore considering the constant need to shift Acura’s design language every 4 years. Maybe the marketing is just following the design and engineering, and not the other way around.

    • donald seymour

      I now I know why I followed you for. Man, Mark so true.

  • Honda NSX-R

    One of the things that are hindering Acura is this cringey marketing division.

    • Alfa Giulia QV

      Not as cringey as BMW’s mic drop.

      • Honda NSX-R

        What mic drop are you talking about?

    • Cool guy

      worse than marketing is their shitty decision making processes to make Honda + vehicles to maximize profits and trick consumers into thinking it competes with the likes of BMW, Merc or Audi…blame goes all round to their greedy execs

      • Honda NSX-R

        I have a feeling that Acura will improve somewhat on making their cars on more than just Honda+, but honestly Acura has always been about selling Honda+ vehicles, but the people they’ve been marketing to nowadays don’t want a Honda+

  • ctk4949

    Acura does not have one car that is RWD!! How did they copy Lexus/Infiniti?? lol

    • Merc1

      Yeah I don’t see any evidence that they ever tried to be like Infiniti and especially Lexus.

      This is right up there with that delusional statement one of their people made about Acura being more prestigious than Mercedes and BMW.

      M

      • Honda NSX-R

        I think they compared themselves with Infiniti and Lexus in terms of marketing, not really the vehicles themselves.

      • Cobrajet

        It will never have any prestige, because Acura is designed by Americans for Americans.

    • Christian Wimmer

      They did back in the day: the NSX.

    • Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

      Being FWD isn’t even a problem at all. Look at volvo. Even mazdas look more premium than acura. Acura’s design suck in general

  • MarkoS

    Lets just see some roots product. Start with a new Integra.

    • atomicbri

      I miss the Integra. Even though it may have been a tarted up Civic, I still loved it.

  • Merc1

    He’s delusional though. There is nothing in their showrooms that suggest they ever thought about Lexus or Infiniti.

    M

    • Bash

      True, I was just thinking the same tbh.

    • Alter Ego

      The MDX is as good/better than the 3 row Lexus and Infinity models but aside from that yeah. I think that maybe the they were more competitive when the TSX was around but Infinity and Lexus especially got a lot better really quickly.

    • SteersUright

      Good point. 2 brands with rear-drive cars among a ton of other models Acura never really matched up with. In fact, Acura’s primary competition was, and is Honda itself. Depending on the lease deal, I can see that consumer go for the Pilot or the MDX, the Accord or the TLX….not a Q50 or a GS350 vs a TLX, etc…
      They didnt lose their way, they never had a way. And all the 2nd tier luxury brands appear to be facing the same stuggle. Lexus, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lincoln, Acura, all seem lost and are still mostly disappointments. They basically give them away on promotional leases compared with what BMW, Audi, and MB can charge for cars with similar MSRP’s. That said, Lincoln, with their new Navigation and upcoming Aviator seems to be at least finally making strides.

      • Tumbi Mtika

        Lincoln’s trying to get out of the sunken place. And I hope they really do.

    • willhaven

      LOL! Exactly – everything Acura did was conservative and bland which is literally the opposite of modern-day Lexus.

  • Honda NSX-R

    Everyday it seems as if I’m liking BMW less and Mercedes more…

    • Alfa Giulia QV

      They’re just pandering to the type of people they know will buy their cars.

  • klowik

    The shape of the front grille looks good in concept but it ends up badly in production models.

  • Six Thousand Times

    And we’re still waiting for that concept to replace the old RL.

  • SteersUright

    Got a long way to go. Interiors look and feel cheap, interiors and exteriors look like tarted up Hondas, and you’d thing the masters of FWD performance could make their cars at least as good as Audi’s to drive. Lastly, where is Acura’s answer to the other brands excellent S, RS, AMG, M, M-sport and so on? Outside of the lame-duck, overpriced NSX, there isnt any real Acura model to get excited about.

    Words are just words. Actions speak far louder.

  • Liam Paul

    wait Acura is still in Business?

  • Bob

    No s###.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Hmm, not really getting that from Acura at all.

    It still seems that Acura is a headless chicken.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Right? The RLX is such an amazing car! Crushes the A7!

    • Nordschleife

      Lol

  • Hans_Remore

    I forgive you Acura. Now put that precision concept into production.

  • Huge Dom

    Guessing he meant they should have been paying so much attention to other Japanese rivals and should be focusing on the luxury market overall or new players coming in (Genesis).

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