Apart from Lexus, Japanese luxury brands still pale in comparison to their German rivals in terms of the number of models they produce and the prices they can command. Overall image in the marketplace and status on the street have likewise proven difficult to develop. So Acura has abandoned plans to push for "Tier 1" luxury status, and instead will focus on being the technologically advanced, sensible luxury carmaker.

According to a new report, Acura is reversing its plans from previously wanting powerful V-8 models with rear-wheel drive layouts to a new focus on “advanced environmental technologies." This is nothing new to readers of Motor Authority, who've known about the cancellation of Acura's V-8 and rear-wheel-drive plans and the consequent effects on the product lineup for about two months now.

The latest information was revealed by Honda CEO Takanobu Ito, who admitted that there is confusion about what Acura currently sits in the marketplace and where it is headed. Ito went on to explain that rather than “glamorous, gorgeous products”, Acura will be defined by high technology.

This reversal of strategy has upset Acura dealers who have recently invested in upmarket, glitzy showrooms to compete against Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus.

Some of the new models planned include the upcoming 2010 ZDX crossover, a wagon variant of the TSX due next fall, and possibly a compact car to rival the BMW 1-Series and a new hatchback planned by Lexus.

[Automotive News, sub req'd]