While many brands are shifting toward an all-electric future, and Honda has already proven it can produce green-friendly cars, Acura seems to be at a standstill. Acura Brand Officer Jon Ikeda says the automaker's electric car delay is due to the fact that it must first re-establish its brand as a performance leader.
Editor's Update: Chris Naughton from Acura Public Relations reached out to us with clarification and a statement about Acura's future goals.
"The NSX has been on the market for several years now (launched in 2016), and the bulk of investment and resources applied to developing that model were expended several years previous to that.
Near term, Acura’s focus is on returning the brand to its performance roots – as Jon said. At a corporate level, our focus is on cutting CO2 emissions with a long-term aim to be carbon neutral by 2050. Toward this goal, we are targeting to make two-thirds of global auto sales electrified by 2030, and Acura will play an important role in that strategy."
Automotive News recently interviewed Ikeda, who talked about where Acura is today, how it got here, and what's in store. Ikeda reflected on the brand's first 20 years of notable success, the struggles that started in 2008, and why it's moving forward in a different way than its parent company (Honda), as well as many of its peers.
Rather than racing to bring a more affordable, mass-market EV to market, Acura is still banking on its roots. Ikeda explained via Autoblog:
"For us as a brand, we needed to kind of refocus and reestablish ourselves as a performance brand... We want everybody to understand where we are, what we're about first. Even if we go electric we will continue to be a performance division of Honda and performance will be our focus."
The Japanese luxury automaker is steering its resources and efforts toward a second-generation NSX Hybrid supercar that will prove it can successfully integrate electricity into a high-performance vehicle.
Sadly, Acura is still working on rebuilding and dealing with many years of "growing pains." However, Ikeda believes it will be well worth it. He thinks that once Acura proves how well it can marry electrification with performance, people will once again see Acura as a performance brand. It's most important to Ikeda to bring back the Acura brand that he first fell in love with. He said Acura's original intention was to be Honda's performance brand. Ikeda said:
"That's what Acura is. That's what I fell in love with."
Ikeda made it clear that Acura isn't against electrification. However, it prioritizes performance first.