Five Questions With Acura: A Brand on the Brink of Revival

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Acura is in the midst of rediscovering itself.

For the past several years, Honda’s luxury division has had decent offerings, but nothing that set the world on fire the way names like NSX, Integra and Legend did during Acura’s heyday in the 1990s. But Acura promises things are about to change.

SEE ALSO: 2015 SEMA Show Coverage

During the 2015 SEMA show, we had a chance to sit down with Jon Ikeda, vice-president and general manager of the Acura division to discuss the NSX, Ludacris and where Acura is heading in the future.

Q: Why restore Ludacris’ Acura Legend?

A: The guy is obviously so passionate about the brand and the car. When we talked to him, it became very clear to us that he was very attached to this car. I can relate to that, being a car guy myself. I’m sure a lot of people understand the emotional attachment that can build up with a car.

At that point, whether we fixed the car or not, he wasn’t going to throw it away, so I said, “C’mon, it’s the right thing to do. Let’s fix this guy’s car.”

ALSO SEE: Acura Just Restored Ludacris’ 1993 Acura Legend

Q: Acura always has a strong presence at SEMA. What is it about this show that’s important for Acura as a brand?

A: Our brand’s heritage goes back to precision-crafted performance, and I’m sure there are a lot of fans out there, whether it’s a new Acura or original Integra, who understand tuning and having fun with your vehicle.

I really feel strongly that it’s part of our heritage, this whole scene, and as long as we’re in it, we should be a big part of it.

Q: It must feel pretty good having the NSX on display at SEMA. How long until we start to see modified NSXs all over SEMA?

A: I have no idea exactly on when that will be, but I’m sure it will start to happen. To just get this car out in the hands of people who want to drive this vehicle, is an exciting time for the brand. It’s the epitome of precision-crafted performance for us.

Q: And speaking of the NSX, can you give us any details on the rumored baby NSX?

A: (laughs) We just got this NSX out, so I can’t talk about a baby NSX. We’re focusing on this [2016] NSX right now.

I will say this though. It’s really important to tie and leverage this vehicle and its performance to all the other core [Acura] models. Like the ILX on display here, with future sport variants and things, we want to really leverage what [the NSX] brings. That’s how we did it in the past, and I think Acura really needs to do that now.

Q: Honda is beginning to utilize turbocharging on its products in North America and Acura is with the NSX. Will we see more turbocharges from Acura in the future?

A: We can’t talk about specific engine layouts and things, but performance is what our brand is about. If it needs [turbochargers] to get the right performance for vehicles, then yeah, I could see that happening.

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Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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 1 comment
  • Johnls39 . Johnls39 . on Nov 15, 2015

    Acura needs a whole new line-up if they want to be relevant and consider a performance luxury brand again. The NSX will not make Acura relevant to its current line-up. The only vehicles making the cut are the TLX, RDX and MDX. The rest of the line-up has got to go.