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Honda president says no need for RWD sedans

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Fuel efficiency trumps the need for superior dynamics, says Takanobu Ito

Fuel efficiency trumps the need for superior dynamics, says Takanobu Ito

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Front-wheel drive cars, no matter how well-engineered, are always a compromise when it comes to being fast. They do enjoy some advantages in terms of packaging and efficiency, however, and Honda's new president Takanobu Ito is firmly behind the continued absence of RWD cars in the company's lineup.

The move is especially curious with regard to the premium end of the market, where RWD sedans continue to dominate at brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Lexus. Still, Ito is sticking to his guns on the issue.

"It would be meaningless to emulate what other companies have been doing for more than five decades," Ito said of a front-engine, rear-drive car, according to an Automotive News report.

Instead, Ito wants to continue pushing into new territory in terms of packaging, technology and efficiency, with new engines and transmissions for its medium and large-sized sedans - especially hybrids. A first step in this direction was the announcement last fall of a manual transmission available in the SH-AWD 2010 Acura TL alongside a pair of new V6 engines.

This leaves Honda's premium Acura brand on similar ground to Audi, with front-drive sedans supplemented by AWD, though Acura hasn't fully embraced AWD the way Audi has with its quattro system.

Will Acura be able to compete against the upper echelon of the luxury market with primarily front-driven, highly-efficient sedans? Or is the dynamic advantage of RWD simply too important to overcome? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Comments (7)
  1. What Acura needs urgently is beautiful cars, because the last ones are forgettable at best.
     
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  2. Sounds like loser talk, as they can't compete in production sports oriented cars. Nissan has the 370z, GT-R. Mazda MX-5, RX-8. Toyota/Lexus, Crown Athlete/Hybrid, that Subaru joint development on the entry level sports car, IS-F, GS450H, the LF-A that only exists on Nurburgring. Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru Imprezza WRX, Legacy B4. etc
    Looks like Honda is the only major manufacture from the rising sun without a "true" sports model today, sure they have the Type-R or Mugen, but it's not utilized to the where it could be.
    Sure AWD is nice but doesn't this contradict what Honda wants to achieve in terms of efficiency, with the added weight of AWD. I think it still has a some progress to go before it can define its niche in the market, whether is for the Honda or Acura brand. Step your game up Honda, or get left behind.
     
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  3. I agree with AOS.

    Funny how the NSX wasn't front wheel drive.
    Hondas and Acuras will never be more than tools because of this...
     
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  4. AOS is right whats the point of not having RWD for efficiency when AWD will affect the efficiency anyways, Honda is trying to be a bit too extreme and this doesn't make sense. And Acura would have good looking cars if they got rid of those hidious grills.
     
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  5. First thing they need to do is lose the "octopus beak" corporate grille at Acura, then I'd be happy with a new TL Type-S since it's AWD, and isn't it supposed to have 350hp+ or was it canned, too?
     
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  6. Well if they wanna stay a tier 2 luxury brand, let them, only Audi pulled off matching BMW and Mercedes without rwd
     
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  7. Honda's quality cannot overcome the fact that they make boring cars. The Accord has gotten bigger and fatter with no real improvement in performance. With the death of the S2000, only the Civic SI offers any excitement. With no two-door vehicles, Acura has evolved into a stodgy (and ugly) line that appeals only to "family car" buyers.
     
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