Acura badly needs a new game plan. Is this it?
These days it’s been pretty hard to stay focused on Acura because unlike one of its Japanese competitors, it doesn’t have a new Supra to woo performance lovers with. Acura isn’t doing as well in the luxury game either compared to its sibling after Lexus’ edgy styling language elevated its sales figures so that they reside close to the German luxury incumbents'. And then there was our own experience driving an RLX, which taught us that Acura’s brand of luxury doesn’t exactly line up with how the competition defines a modern luxury car.
Suffice it to say, Acura is in need of a new strategy. Thankfully, it might just have one. Ever since the release of the RDX, Acura learned that it needed to take a page out of Lexus’ book by giving its cars edgier styling in order to attract younger buyers. While its SUV lineup reflects that ethos, Acura’s sedans leave a little to be desired. But that may all change if a recent trademark filed by Acura and uncovered by Auto Guide is to be taken seriously.
Acura's trademark, which was filed with European trademark offices, covers the name "Legend” and applies to "Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land; Apparatus for locomotion by air; Apparatus for locomotion by water; Parts and fittings for land vehicles; Parts and fittings for air and space vehicles; Parts and fittings for water vehicles.”
The Legend was once Acura's flagship model but it was renamed the RL in 1996 before an X was added to the name in 2013, giving us the RLX we know today. The interesting thing about Acura trademarking the Legend name in the EU, as AG notes, is that the company doesn’t operate in Europe. But the practice of filing trademarks abroad is actually not that uncommon since it can still deter the competition from taking the name without clearly signaling the company’s next move in the target market.
A good reason Acura’s trademark gets us excited is that it coincides with a report that claimed Honda’s luxury arm would come to the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August with a production-ready concept car. This concept is supposed to feature exciting new styling heavily influenced by the stunning Precision Concept we first saw at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Putting the two pieces of news together opens up the exciting possibility that Acura will revive the Legend in concept form before the end of 2019, with plans to eventually put it into production as the RLX's replacement.
But as AG notes, there are a few other depressing possibilities. Acura could decide to revive the Legend as a fastback four-door coupe version of the RDX or MDX. It also could give the name to a larger fastback sedan that would hit the market with the Kia Stinger in its sights, or, Acura could just give the Legend name to the RLX’s replacement since the range-topping sedan is technically the Legend’s spiritual successor.
While a Kia Stinger fighter is always nice to have in the lineup, it may be best if Acura spearheads a new direction for the brand using an all-new RLX that's been given the name "Legend."