Acura adjusts image

Honda Canada's eight-year-old Acura division seems to be in the midst of the most active period it has experienced in some time.It is launching a line, a branding strategy, and a new version of an old model.The Acura TL series is...

Honda Canada’s eight-year-old Acura division seems to be in the midst of the most active period it has experienced in some time.

It is launching a line, a branding strategy, and a new version of an old model.

The Acura TL series is hitting lots immediately.

The TL 2.5, which will have an entry level price tag of about $34,000, will be available first, while the $42,000 TL 3.2 will not arrive until July.

Acura will be phasing out its Vigor model to make way for the new series, which is the division’s first new line of cars in about four years.

A high-concept tv spot for the tl, created by Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly, Toronto, broke March 20, and makes an analogy between the inspiration needed to design a great car to that needed by an artist to create a great painting.

The spot is exceptional in that the car does not appear until 23 seconds into the 30-second spot.

Winston Lee Chan was the art director and Gary Watson was the copy writer.

There will be a few newspaper ads marking the launch, but a full-color newspaper insert promoting the car will be delivered in major markets March 31.

Magazine ads will be seen in May.

The launch of the tl also marks an Acura decision to name forthcoming cars alphanumerically, including the next generation of the Legend, due out early in 1996.

Meanwhile, Acura has also launched a new version of its five-year-old high-performance nsx model, called the nsx-t.

The new model, which carries a $110,000 price tag, is distinguishable from its predecessor mainly by its stylish new convertible roof called a Targa-Top, although there have been some mechanical improvements as well.

Acura is also toying with its positioning, moving from the year-old transitional positioning statement ‘Impress Yourself’ to the more evocative and forward-looking ‘Designed with purpose. Driven by passion.’

Before using either statement Acura positioned itself with ‘Precision crafted performance.’

Jim Miller, senior vice-president of automotive sales and marketing at Honda and Acura, says ‘engineering can be cold and mechanical.

‘We are trying to put some warmth and pleasure back into owning and driving a vehicle,’ Miller says.

At recent auto shows Acura previewed another new model, the clx two-door that is slated for launch early next year.

Miller also says an as-yet-unnamed Canadian-built Acura model, intended exclusively for the Canadian market, will go into production some time in the next 18 months to two years.