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Acura is About to Copy Subaru's AWD Strategy

It's called doing something different than its main competitors.

In the world of luxury car brands, Acura is undoubtedly in trouble. Back in the 1990s, it was a formidable competitor to the then also emerging Lexus, which already was scaring the bejesus out of Mercedes-Benz. Jump forward nearly 25 years and things are different. Lexus is currently undergoing a revival of sorts, and Mercedes, along with other German brands, continue to kick ass. Acura, well, not so much. Honda’s luxury division desperately needs to reinvent itself if it wants to remain in business.

Fortunately it has a lot going for it and is about to further highlight one of its existing strengths: its super-handling all-wheel-drive system. Aping Japanese brand Subaru, Acura is planning a complete lineup shift to AWD. Although it’ll take a few years to complete the switch, there’s a very good chance that Honda’s board will approve the plan. The key is AWD,” stated Koichi Fukuo, Acura’s top global executive. “As a premium brand, we need something different from the competition. Looking at Subaru, I felt that we have to have a strong, clear direction as a brand. What’s important is to have technology, styling and performance to evolve all together."

And because Acura is already quite familiar with AWD technology, the changeover is completely doable. What Acura will definitely avoid, however, is rear-wheel-drive, and thirsty V8 and V10 engines. The bottom line here is that Acura wants to carve out a niche in the luxury market the same way Subaru did for mainstream buyers.

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