LOS ANGELES – American Honda Motor Co. Inc.’s debut of the Acura Advanced Sedan Concept here does not foreshadow the luxury brand’s next-generation RL flagship sedan, John Mendel, senior vice president-automobile operations, tells Ward’s.

“I wouldn’t draw any firm conclusion about this vehicle,” he says of the concept. “I think you’ll get design hints that may be picked up (for the next RL), whether it’s headlight technology, the way the headlights are placed, silhouette, proportion. Those kinds of things could see their way in (a future RL), but the vehicle, itself, may or may not go into production.”

Dave Marek, the concept’s chief designer and head of Acura’s new Advanced Design Studio opening next week in Pasadena, says the Advanced Sedan Concept is meant “to rival a Bentley or Maybach a dozen years from now.”

Sporting 22-in. front and 23-in. rear tires, the concept brings a new aggressiveness to Acura’s styling that hints at the brand’s future direction.

The large tires are mounted to custom billet-machined, polished aluminum wheels, while large wheel arches and flares emphasize muscularity.

Perhaps the most eye-catching feature is the concept’s greenhouse, made entirely of tinted glass. Another noteworthy design cue is a polished aluminum grille with a cut crystal Acura emblem. Also, the headlights double as air intakes and are positioned low on the bumper.

Meanwhile, Mendel says a 33.8% drop in RL sales in October is not a sign the new de-contented ’07 model is a flop, noting the vehicle was just arriving in dealer showrooms last month.

American Honda removed the RL’s navigation system in order to lower the base price in the hope of boosting sales, which have yet to hit the 20,000-unit annual sales target the auto maker has set for the car.

“November is looking OK,” Mendel says. “And don’t forget luxury, in general, is down across the industry. I would suspect we will probably be even with last year or up a little bit (this month).”