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Acura says RL sedan won't be dropped

Fri, 16 Jul 2010

UPDATED -- Is Honda ready to kill off the slow-selling Acura RL sedan?

Honda officials in the United States say no. But a report in Japan's Nikkei business daily newspaper says Honda is ready to stop selling the Honda Legend in its home market. The Legend is rebadged as the RL for Acura dealers in the United States. You may recall that Acura's flagship sedan was sold with the Legend nameplate from 1986 to 1995.

Late Friday, after the Nikkei report was reported by other media, Acura issued this statement, attributed to Gary Robinson, manager of Acura public relations:

"This morning erroneous media reports began to surface suggesting that Acura's RL model would be discontinued. These reports are untrue. The RL continues to be the flagship for the Acura brand and we have no plans to discontinue it."

But the RL hasn't been much of a sales flagship for Acura. Enthusiasts and dealers say it isn't competitive because it is smaller than its competition and lacks a V8 option. The RL is equipped with all-wheel drive.

Through the first six months of this year, Acura has sold only 872 RLs while Lexus sold 5,650 copies of the LS sedan and Infiniti sold 6,602 copies of the M sedan.

The Japanese report says Honda also plans to stop selling the Elysion minivan in Japan and plans equip all Civics sold in Japan with a hybrid powertrain.

By Dale Jewett