Acura RL - Wikipedia
The Acura RL is a mid-sized / executive luxury car that was manufactured by the Acura division of Honda for the – .. Engine emissions were reduced to meet the stricter U.S. Environmental Protection .. Calendar year, Total US sales. We've designed vehicles to meet the specific RL. PERFORMANCE LUXURY, ADVANCED. The Acura RL. From its sculpted, streamlined body style and. Partsheaven Swap Meet & Concours Legends of the Autobahn Our cars were from Acura, BMW, Nissan, Honda and Ford with the Germans .. See the LPR Event Calendar for tour details and associated costs.
Despite media speculation, work continued. It was important to keep the new division as separate from Honda as possible. This meant new dealerships, new service and parts divisions, new sales and marketing … everything.National Acura Legend Meet 2017 - Sacramento, California
Developing the sales network fell to Ed Taylor, assistant vice president of the new division. Honda boasted an image that appealed primarily to those looking to maximize their dollars.
The new division was aimed at European luxury intenders. This meant that dealerships would have to extend a level of customer service expected by a luxury car buyer, and go beyond even that to convince buyers that they were buying more than just an expensive Honda.
Paul Pugh, manager of auto field service, handled the creation of the new service network. The challenge was to create a name that would convey the image and style for which the upscale division would be known.
And in Septemberthe new name was officially announced: The name was derived from "acu," a form from Latin, meaning mechanically precise or done with precision. In Novemberpotential dealers were gathered for a secret meeting at the Anatole hotel in Dallas. The new dealerships had to be separate facilities from existing Honda dealerships, and couldn't even be adjacent to them.
They would also have a distinct look and feel separate from that of Honda dealerships. But there was more in store for the lucky few in attendance that day.
For the first time, people outside Honda headquarters would see the HX and Integra. Reaction to the plan was mixed. While the cars themselves were universally well regarded, Honda was a popular brand, and some dealers thought that any car made by Honda should be available through Honda dealerships. However, many more saw the wisdom of separating the new cars into a new division with a new image.
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When dealership selection began in Februarythe criteria were strict. Potential dealers had to have the capital to afford the construction of a new dealership.
Acura management insisted that they be located in key markets, such as Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and others around the country where luxury sales were strong. Acura would introduce new technologies to existing Honda service managers, and Pugh established new service training centers in Los Angeles, Atlanta and New Jersey. Hired in Septemberservice managers had only a few months to master new Acura technology before the cars went on sale at the end of March And there was a lot of new technology to cover.
Not only did Acura feature two completely new engines, including the company's first V-6, but electronic fuel injection, four-wheel disc brakes, double overhead cams and other new technologies would also be standard on all the cars. As Taylor and Pugh established the dealer, sales and service networks, the newly formed Honda public relations department invited a select group of journalists to Japan for a first look at the cars in November At the Honda test track in Tochigi, the media were able to drive the Legend and Integra for the first time, and learn the difference between the Honda and Acura products.
The proof was in the driving. While some popular media still expressed skepticism about the viability of a Japanese luxury brand, Motor Trend disagreed, saying, "We think the odds of Acura's success are heavily in Honda's favor, for the Legend is a terrific debut automobile. Praise was equally glowing for the Integra. On March 27,the public finally got to see for themselves what the automotive media meant.
When the first 60 Acura dealerships opened, it marked a turning point in the luxury car market. From that point on, luxury benchmarks would not automatically carry a European nameplate. The Early Years When the first Acuras went on sale, doubt still ran rampant among the general media and Acura competitors. History proved Schmillen right. By the end of its first year, Acura had sold 52, cars and had grown to dealers.
Insales continued to climb, and Acura posted sales ofvehicles for the calendar year. Not only was this double the previous year's total, it surpassed every European luxury-performance nameplate in the United States including Volvo, silencing even the harshest critics, and proving unequivocally that Acura was a major player in the luxury car market.
Advertising for the Acura line was aggressive, with a look and feel separate and distinctive from Honda advertising. Acura was unafraid to compare itself with the best European brands. The emphasis was on performance and luxury, and the company slogan of "Precision Crafted Performance" was backed up with a strong link between Acura and the Honda Formula One teams. By the end of Acura had established its luxury car credentials with an award-winning lineup of sedans and coupes.
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The Legend and Integra had won comparison test after comparison test, proving the cars' mettle to even the harshest critics. Perhaps the most significant indication of the new division's success came late inwhen both Toyota and Nissan announced plans to add their own luxury divisions.
The Challenging 90s As the s gave way to the s, Acura continued to make waves. At the Chicago Auto Show inAcura unveiled its crown jewel, the third car in its tri-product approach to the luxury market. Having proved it could compete with the world's best luxury cars, Acura took on the rarified realm of exotics with the all-new NSX.
The new exotic showcased Acura technological leadership. When the media was finally able to drive production versions of the NSX, the car's technological specifications and world-class performance would have garnered accolades by themselves. But what made the NSX special was its undemanding personality.
While the Legend and Integra had helped redefine their segments and were still strong sellers, both were redesigned in the early s. The Integra was larger, boasted a more powerful engine, more luxurious interior and more refined ride and handling.
It was followed in by a larger, more powerful and more luxurious Legend sedan and coupe. The new Legend solidified the model's place in the luxury market and helped it maintain its lead as the best-selling luxury import model in the United States for six consecutive years.
Both cars expanded Acura luxury credentials without diminishing the company's slogan. Inwhen the NSX debuted, the Acura badge appeared on cars for the first time. It was designed to represent a set of mechanical calipers, signifying the precision and attention to detail with which Acura products were made.
But by the early s the luxury market had changed once again. Toyota and Nissan introduced new challengers inand established European players had realized that both their product and pricing had to change to meet the new Japanese competition. The American economy was facing yet another recession, and the yen had grown so strong against the dollar that the price advantage Japanese cars had traditionally enjoyed all but vanished.
As a worldwide economic downturn took hold, the luxury car market began to contract, leaving all manufacturers with declining sales. Acura was well prepared for these events, and remained a major force in the luxury segment with its core products. Despite the new models and subsequent critical acclaim, Acura wasn't immune to the economic realities of the time.
Acura responded to the harsh reality of yen fluctuations in a unique manner. It insulated itself from the currency market by assembling some of its cars in the United States, becoming the first import luxury brand to do so. The first car designed, engineered and assembled in the United States was the 2. As Acura sales began to climb in the latter half of the decade, U.
Acura also began to expand its product lineup. The Vigor was introduced infilling a gap in price and size between the Integra and Legend. As Acura began to shift its models to alphanumeric naming, the Vigor was succeeded by the TL series.
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Ina new Integra was introduced that became a perennial Car and Driver 10 Best winner, and solidified Acura in the sporty coupe market. The Legend was replaced by the RL, which moved Acura's flagship considerably upmarket with innovative features such as the first touch-screen satellite-linked navigation system.
Acura was also on the leading edge of the burgeoning luxury sport utility market, with the introduction of the SLX, the first sport utility from a luxury manufacturer. Acura continued its technological leadership. Acura also blazed the trail with navigation systems.
Introduced on the '96 RL and improved over successive generations, Acura continues to lead the category with a GPS system that is acknowledged as the class leader. The New Millennium In the latter half of the 90s, the stock market was booming, the Internet was a growing economic reality, and technology was working its way into everyday life like never before.
Luxury car sales were increasing, and by mid-decade Acura sales were climbing again. With a solid reputation for technological innovation, Acura was poised to redefine itself in the crowded luxury marketplace in a way that would connect with a tech-savvy public. The first example of the reinvigorated spirit at Acura was the TL. It boasted a long list of standard features.
The only option was a DVD-based navigation system.
The new TL was an immediate hit with the public and the press, and became the best selling car in its class for three consecutive years. A year later a redesigned CL coupe followed the TL to critical acclaim. It upped the ante as well, offering a Type-S version that featured a horsepower V-6 engine and sport-tuned suspension. As yet another product developed in the U. The Acura reputation for innovation expanded with the MDX. The navigation system was the industry benchmark. Its third row seat folded flat into the floor, a feature that competitors simply didn't offer.
The noise turned out to be rock-hard tires from baking in the Vegas heat for 4 years. In retrospect I'd say this was a bit of a lucky buy, since I felt I should have been more thorough when spending that kind of cash. In May of we decided to go looking for anotherbut a cabriolet. This time I was determined to be very thorough. Again, I had very specific wants--Guards Red with a tan interior and a black soft top.
I found an exact fit to my requirements, a '96 with only 38, miles and in exceptional condition. The owner was a PCA member lending a certain credibility to the seller.
As the car was not completely stock, numerous phone calls assured me that the work had been done properly. Bilstein PSS 9 coil-overs had been installed, Fab Speed mufflers and tips were added, 18" Turbo Twist wheels and tires were also included. Within days we flew to Virginia and met the seller and his wife for dinner; great folks who had to sell their prized possession but were glad it would be going to an enthusiast.
The next morning the seller picked me from the hotel in the car. It was immaculate and I was impressed. We drove out of the city to his home in one of Alexandria's suburbs to go over the car in detail.
The car checked out as well as it drove until we tried to get the top to go up. The cables were not working so we put the top up manually and he offered to pay for the repair I would need once we got home.
The last thing I asked about was the tire condition. The seller took one last look and proclaimed all was well. In my excitement I took his word anxious to hit the road in my new wheels.