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Auto blogMon, 08 Apr 2013 13:31:00 EST
With the Shanghai Motor Show coming up later this month, Honda has released a couple of teaser sketches for two concept vehicles that will be making global debuts. Aside from the renderings, there is no information about either the Honda or Acura concept vehicles, but we can tell that both are some sort of utility vehicle, be they of crossover or people-mover variety.
The text for both images indicates that both concepts show future products that will be launched in China, but there is no mention as to what other markets the automaker has planned for these vehicles. In addition to these two concepts, the NSX Concept and 2014 RLX from Acura will make their Chinese debuts, and Honda says it "will display models substantially identical to the mass-production version of the Concept C and Concept S." The Concept C is will be a "middle-class" sedan built for China, and the Concept S, an MPV that will primarily serve China as well.
What Is, What Could Have Been, And What May Yet Be
History is largely unkind to losers. That's true in the world of politics and sports, and it follows on with a few caveats in the realm of automobiles.
In terms of cars, historic losers tend to be remembered in one of two broad ways. Every once in a while, unsuccessful or oddball models actually make reputational gains after some time away from the new-car marketplace. I consider the Saab 9-2X one of the recent poster children for this group; a car that moved like molasses on dealer lots in the mid-2000s but has morphed into a sort of hard-to-find, used gem in recent years. More often, though, that which was unloved when new remains unloved with tens or hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. Pontiac's seriously misunderstood Aztek has king status here (despite the wailings of oddball fan clubs across the nation), so much so that invoking "Aztek" as a pejorative stopped being pithy about a dozen years ago.
This Is Not The Acura You're Looking For
Mid-level luxury brands have always had to do a bit of leg work to distance themselves from their more common cousins. Thanks to generation after generation of pervasive badge engineering (much of it from the Big Three), buyers can't be blamed for looking at brands like Buick, Lincoln, Infiniti, Lexus and yes, Acura as tarted up versions of Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Toyota and Honda products. For much of its lifetime in the automotive landscape, however, Acura has excelled at putting distance between its offerings and that of its parent company thanks to cars with superior driving dynamics, quieter cabins and clean, attractive aesthetics.
Yes, outliers and dull spots can be found in the company's recent track record, but by and large, Acura products remain situated well above the Honda rabble. When the brand announced it was getting serious about the luxury small car game with the ILX, those of us with a set of the company's keys in our past couldn't help but envision an honest successor to the long-dead Integra. Turns out, that wasn't what Acura had in mind.