A report in Japan’s Nikkei business paper cited sources inside the automaker who said the Legend (as its known in Japan) would be cut from the lineup globally. The news actually came as little surprise, with the RL’s sales dismally low as Acura made its flagship vehicle redundant by offering the same engine and drivetrain in the only-slightly-smaller TL SH-AWD model. In fact, Acura has sold just 872 RL models compared to the 5,650 Lexus LS models sold and the 6,602 Infiniti M models sold.
In a statement released yesterday Honda’s luxury arm took the position that, “This morning erroneous media reports began to surface suggesting that Acura’s RL model would be discontinued. These reports are untrue. The RL continues to be the flagship for the Acura brand and we have no plans to discontinue it.”
This news actually comes as more of a shock than yesterday’s report, for the outlined reasons above, as well as the fact that the lack of a RWD layout and V8 engine have relegated the RL to the bottom of the luxury heap. It’s possible that this is just a PR effort to keep the RL badge alive so Honda dealers can move the remaining stock from their lots. However, Acura has been rumored to be developing a V6 hybrid system for the next-generation RL that would give the model V8-like power and excellent fuel economy.