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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spy shots at link

Here's a vehicle that nobody saw coming. Unless Honda/Acura is keen to play tricks on us, our spy shooters recently caught what appears to be an Acura minivan fully camouflaged for testing on some back roads on a rainy day.

Details on the disguised minivan are rather scarce, but it certainly bares all the hallmarks of an Acura. The front grille alone gives it away with a look that mimics the latest MDX, and note that the orientation of the rear door handle heavily suggests that it slides to open. Moving inside, the tester appears to borrow some tech from the luxury brand's parts bin too, and the Acura logo seems to be covered in tape right in the middle of the steering wheel.


http://www.autoblog.com/2014/11/10/acura-minivan-spy-shots/
 

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I'm not a fan of Acura, but I think that if this is true, they may find it to be a great idea. Building an Acura "Odyssey" could turn out to be a profitable little niche. Acura is obviously not trying to be a top tier luxury brand, as can be seen by their current offerings, but perhaps they may find a market for a premium/luxury minivan. Upper middle class moms like the versatility of the typical minivan too, but there aren't any premium "true" minivans on the market in the U.S....

It's a relatively cheap experiment for Honda/Acura to entertain. It may fail, but it shouldn't break the brand... We shall see...
 

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I'm not a fan of Acura, but I think that if this is true, they may find it to be a great idea. Building an Acura "Odyssey" could turn out to be a profitable little niche. Acura is obviously not trying to be a top tier luxury brand, as can be seen by their current offerings, but perhaps they may find a market for a premium/luxury minivan. Upper middle class moms like the versatility of typical minivan too, but there aren't any premium "true" minivans on the market in the U.S....

It's a relatively cheap experiment for Honda/Acura to entertain. It may fail, but it shouldn't break the brand... We shall see...
Agreed, its really a no lose situation for Acura. If they find a big enough niche they make bank, if not its relatively clear that its going to be minor physical difference from the Odyssey and thus inexpensive to bring to market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not a fan of Acura, but I think that if this is true, they may find it to be a great idea. Building an Acura "Odyssey" could turn out to be a profitable little niche. Acura is obviously not trying to be a top tier luxury brand, as can be seen by their current offerings, but perhaps they may find a market for a premium/luxury minivan. Upper middle class moms like the versatility of the typical minivan too, but there aren't any premium "true" minivans on the market in the U.S....

It's a relatively cheap experiment for Honda/Acura to entertain. It may fail, but it shouldn't break the brand... We shall see...
It may be profitable (but then again, they probably said the same thing about the ZDX), but is a minivan really suitable for a supposedly luxury brand? Buyers expect crossovers and SUV's from luxury brands.
 

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It may be profitable (but then again, they probably said the same thing about the ZDX), but is a minivan really suitable for a supposedly luxury brand? Buyers expect crossovers and SUV's from luxury brands.
My parents spent big money on a couple high Town & Country minivans over the years. If there is a market, and we don't know that yet, somebody will serve it and if Acura finds one it'll pay off big time for them for very little investment.

As for what is suitable for a luxury brand? Whatever people will pay a premium for to me is suitable even if I myself am not interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My parents spent big money on a couple high Town & Country minivans over the years. If there is a market, and we don't know that yet, somebody will serve it and if Acura finds one it'll pay off big time for them for very little investment.

As for what is suitable for a luxury brand? Whatever people will pay a premium for to me is suitable even if I myself am not interested.
The Odyssey already tops out in the high $40,000's, how much room in the niche will the Acura van have?
 

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I always wondered why no luxury makes directly entered the minivan segment, I think it's a good idea. Wealthy people have families and need space too. The controller of my company (several years ago) would occasionally drive his wife's Mazda minivan to work (and he made millions $$ + stock options each year - he could afford any vehicle he wants).

No real risk to Acura, the brand is pretty well damaged as is, a minivan wont make things worse if it fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The MKC tops out nearly $50K right? No reason a properly appointed premium minivan couldn't bring in the same given the right customer base.
An apples to apples comparison would be saying the Ford Escape tops out at X amount.

I wasn't bringing into question the value of such a product compared to different segments, but Honda already has a minivan that reaches well into luxury territory in both appointments and pricing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I always wondered why no luxury makes directly entered the minivan segment, I think it's a good idea. Wealthy people have families and need space too. The controller of my company (several years ago) would occasionally drive his wife's Mazda minivan to work (and he made millions $$ + stock options each year - he could afford any vehicle he wants).

No real risk to Acura, the brand is pretty well damaged as is, a minivan wont make things worse if it fails.
That's exactly the problem. Moves like this will throw them into premium territory. Mercury had the Montego and Villager. Oldsmobile had the Silhouette. Buick had the Terazza.
 

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An apples to apples comparison would be saying the Ford Escape tops out at X amount.

I wasn't bringing into question the value of such a product compared to different segments, but Honda already has a minivan that reaches well into luxury territory in both appointments and pricing.
Honda may have one that reaches into that territory, but it's still a Honda... For those who can afford $40k-$55k vehicles, Acura carries much more weight.

By your very same logic, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for the Lincoln brand to exist as, at this point anyway, their vehicles are nothing more than tarted up Fords, which themselves can be well appointed and priced well into traditional Lincoln territory...

That's exactly the problem. Moves like this will throw them into premium territory. Mercury had the Montego and Villager. Oldsmobile had the Silhouette. Buick had the Terazza.
Acura is and has been squarely in the "Premium" category for years, well short of upper tier luxury makers. A more family friendly offering isn't going to change anything. And none of those minivans you cited exuded luxury or even much of a premium feel. They were the epitome of badge engineering and total abominations. Fortunately, most folks never knew the Terraza ever existed, which is good as Buick has had other hurdles to clear just to be where they are now. Acura may actually be able to deliver a luxury minivan... But who knows? It may work, it may not. But it won't hurt them in the long run as it seems Honda clearly has them situated as a "premium" brand, not a full on luxury brand, regardless of what their commercials may say. (Buick calls themselves "luxury" in their ads too, but they clearly aren't...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Honda may have one that reaches into that territory, but it's still a Honda... For those who can afford $40k-$55k vehicles, Acura carries much more weight.

By your very same logic, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for the Lincoln brand to exist as, at this point anyway, their vehicles are nothing more than tarted up Fords, which themselves can be well appointed and priced well into traditional Lincoln territory...


Acura is and has been squarely in the "Premium" category for years, well short of upper tier luxury makers. A more family friendly offering isn't going to change anything. And none of those minivans you cited exuded luxury or even much of a premium feel. They were the epitome of badge engineering and total abominations. Fortunately, most folks never knew the Terraza ever existed, which is good as Buick has had other hurdles to clear just to be where they are now. Acura may actually be able to deliver a luxury minivan... But who knows? It may work, it may not. But it won't hurt them in the long run as it seems Honda clearly has them situated as a "premium" brand, not a full on luxury brand, regardless of what their commercials may say. (Buick calls themselves "luxury" in their ads too, but they clearly aren't...)
I highly doubt that Honda would sign off on development costs for a whole new minivan, so I'm sure it's going to share quite a bit with the Odyssey. Maybe it won't be to Escalade levels of rebadging, but it will surely take the shape of the Odyssey.

And yes, the minivans I mentioned were premium. The Terraza had leather seating, plastiwood, backseat entertainment, and built in navigation. Mercury's Montego had all of that plus a nice analog clock on the dash. Acura shoots for luxury pricing with models like the RLX and MDX, yet the rest of their lineup says otherwise. It's quite a pity actually. Their descent to premium status is a shame considering where they once were.
 

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There is no plan for this...

But as I mentioned to someone yesterday, it is an interesting combination of parts, ey? I would venture to say 1 of 2 things.

1) New Odyssey with cobbled parts, based on the MDX platform since the MDX was the 1st all new vehicle on the lighter large crossover/van platform, hence the 100% MDX dash that doesn't match up with the inside windshield base. Cobbled combination of parts to throw people off. Could be a new Odyssey, variation.
2) Combination of some other product, for a different market.

It's definitely a Honda, however, there are no plans for an Acura van. None. The dash vs. windshield/pillars prove the cobbled together pieces, and not to read too far into it.
 

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There is no plan for this...

But as I mentioned to someone yesterday, it is an interesting combination of parts, ey? I would venture to say 1 of 2 things.

1) New Odyssey with cobbled parts, based on the MDX platform since the MDX was the 1st all new vehicle on the lighter large crossover/van platform, hence the 100% MDX dash that doesn't match up with the inside windshield base. Cobbled combination of parts to throw people off. Could be a new Odyssey, variation.
2) Combination of some other product, for a different market.

It's definitely a Honda, however, there are no plans for an Acura van. None. The dash vs. windshield/pillars prove the cobbled together pieces, and not to read too far into it.
This is what I'm thinking as well. The Odyssey is due for replacement in the next few years.
 

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If it's a minivan, I think others have said what there is to say on the issue: it won't really affect Acura's image anyway, it's an interesting experiment without significant costs, etc.

However, maybe this will end up being some kind of long three-row crossover a la Flex/MKT/R-Class. Perhaps an Odyssey at its core, but outwardly less minivan-ish.
 

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There's simply no market for an upscale minivan. The Ford Flex pretty much mops up the upper-income-buyer-looking-for-extra-seating-capacity segment. The Benz R-class was deemed a "failure" but they're dime-a-dozen in my 'hood.

Most upper-income buyers looking for a minivan will simply opt for a mainstream model. Not all wealthy people insist on driving on an expensive car. That, and the children of the wealthy inflict the same damage on a vehicle as any other children. Spilt sippy cups, errant bits of half-eaten fruit, lost french fries wedged between seats, stains from muddy soccer cleats... who wants to inflict this on an expensive car?
 
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