By Drew Johnson
Monday, Jul 20th, 2009 @ 5:25 pm
 
Most "˜traditional' luxury automakers offer at least one model with V8 power and rear-wheel drive, but Hond's new chief says the Acura luxury brand will focus on fuel-efficient drivetrains rather than trying to emulate some of the more well established premium marques.

Honda president Takanobu Ito says Acura has no plans to go V8 or rear-wheel any time soon, but will continue to work on fuel efficient offerings - including hybrids. "I don't think we need a classic front-engine, rear-drive car," Ito told Automotive News.

"We are considering incorporating new engines, motors, transmissions and chassis into mid- to large-sized hybrid vehicles, and I think this is a good opportunity for change."

Ito noted that buyers' newfound preference for fuel efficient vehicles falls right into lines with Hond's business plans. Honda canceled its V8 production plans in the last few months and also put the brakes on a clean diesel for the U.S. market. It remains to be seen if Acura can climb to the ranks of a top-tier luxury brand without a rear-wheel drive, V8 offering, but a lineup of fuel efficient vehicles may be just enough if gas prices climb back up to $4 a gallon.