Monday, July 30, 2007

Why are car companies acting like such bed-wetting momma's boys?

I owe my life to Acura, I really do. During the winter break of my freshman year at UMass I made the enormous mistake of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink, and the end result was my 1997 Acura 2.2CL slamming into a guard-rail on I-95 at nearly full speed. The front end of the car was a mess, the radiator was thrown from under the hood into the woods, and the car then rolled backwards across four lanes before wedging itself into the median. I missed everything after the initial contact because I had caught a face full of airbag. Needless to say, I survived, and actually was relatively unharmed. Afterwards, I vowed I'd only drive Honda/Acura automobiles, and my current car (an Accord) holds true to that. However, with some of the recent decisions they've made regarding their lineup, I'm almost tempted to reconsider.

Acura has declared war on the entry-level market (read: 16-25 year olds buying their first car). A friend of mine passed this quote along:
"Now that Acura has said it will discontinue the RSX next year, the fate of the TSX remains somewhat in doubt. Honda for years has wanted to move the Acura brand upscale to match Toyota's Lexus brand. The company has said it really doesn't want any affordable cars in the lineup -- that is, cars that sell for under $30,000."

Score. So they discontinued the NSX, their supercar, and they discontinued the CL, a nice luxury coupe. Now they get rid of the RSX, and all of a sudden there is not a single two-door option at Acura, just a few sedans and two SUVs. Thanks guys, I'll be sure to mention my affinity for your safety features when I buy my next Toyota.
As for Honda, there are rumors that the S2000, a truly excellent roadster in my opinion, is going to be altered dramatically (Article). Fantastic, let's take the awesome car and turn it into a Honda version of the Solara.

Why do car companies make their cars less fun? Do they think little, sporty cars are going out of style? I know that a ton of my friends would shave their eyebrows daily to have an RSX or S2000, but now it seems like perhaps neither will be an option. It's almost as bad as Mercedes reluctance to put manual transmissions in their cars.

Maybe Korea will get it right. I say we scrap the Tiburon and come out with something new; the Hyundai T2, or something like that. Give it 200 ponies, a 6-speed manual, a retractable hard top, and some nice lines, and watch the Japanese-loyalists jump the fence.

Until then, here's to the 350Z.

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