By on June 6, 2012

Pursuant to our recent discussions of Honda’s spiral into the mundane – and the market’s warm reception despite this move, here’s another example of one of the big H’s vehicles picking up steam as it becomes more mainstream.

With 3,301 units sold in May, the RDX had its best month ever, tripling its May 2011 sales number and outselling every other competitor save for the Cadillac SRX. The new RDX requires premium fuel and is $1,500 more than the outgoing model, though the new car has 30 more horsepower, two more cylinders and gets a fuel economy improvement of 1 mpg in town and 4 mpg on the highway.

Time will tell if the RDX can sustain this kind of pace. A new model introduction is generally a fruitful period in terms of sales. If the RDX can present itself as a legitimate challenger to premium crossovers like the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK, it may help Acura claw its way back into relevance, even if it’s not the product that enthusiasts want to see.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

41 Comments on “Boring Sells: Acura RDX Sales Triple Year-Over-Year...”


  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    Crossovers in this size class seem to always do well, unless there’s something wrong with them. With the last-gen RDX it was the oddball motor that was known above all for subpar gas mileage. Now that it has the V6 and the latest no-longer-terrible-if-not-yet-attractive version of the “beak”, I’m not surprised it’s getting a fairly high bounce.

    The only thing that really turns me off of it is the rear quarter glass with way too many separate pieces, and a greenhouse outline that recalls the ugly last-gen CR-V. Unfortunately that’s probably not going anywhere for the next couple generations, since the C-pillar perfectly fits the idiom Acura has been developing for its crossovers.

  • avatar
    replica

    I liked Hondas before they were cool (adjusts scarf and non-prescription glasses).

  • avatar
    amac

    I’m not a fan of tall wagons, so I’m automatically biased against Acura’s latest offering. However, if I was ever in the market for one, it would not be this. A premium tall wagon should not look like Hyundai Veracruz.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      An aside: Acura USA May/2012 YTD sales

      RDX 3,301, YTD 8183
      TSX Wagon: 390, YTD 1653

      • 0 avatar
        amac

        Thank you for pointing out the obvious. I’m well aware—like the rest of the car-loving universe—that SUVs/CUVs are very popular. People like them because the taller design makes them feel safer and more important, so they perceive them to be a better value. Also, SUVs/CUVs are in vogue, and there’s always plenty of people who want to be cool and belong. Most people buy them for what they represent, not what they actually are—glorified wagons.

        There’s certainly no real cargo advantage:
        RDX cargo capacity: seats up, 26.1, seats down 61.3
        TSX Wagon cargo capacity: seats up, 31.5, seats down 66.2

        AND the TSX Wagon is about 3k less, a much better value. But whatever, some people just like needlessly large things I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        CUV intenders: vote with their wallets. Wagon lovers: RWD, 6-speed, diesel…

        As for myself? sliding doors, thank you. Must have been a distate after having grown shuttled around in GM B-body wagons.

  • avatar
    86er

    I can’t recall the year, but I believe it was the mid 60s. The Oldsmobile 88 was all-new, meaning all-new sheet metal. You couldn’t tell it from the previous year’s model if you parked them side-by-each and examined them with a magnifying glass.

    I drive by my Chevrolet dealer. It used to sell Oldsmobiles.

    Conservatism works, for a while. I see this as I gaze out the window of my shack in rural Saskatchewan. You can freeze-frame the past and it’ll stay there, suspended, for a while. But much like the melting ice cube from which this vehilce takes its inspiration, exert enough external pressure and it will disappear.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Oldsmobile sales were quite healthy in the mid- and late 1960s, and set records in the 1970s and early 1980s. The division entered its ultimately fatal tailspin when it dramatically downsized its entire line-up and switched them to front-wheel-drive platforms.

      It was badly executed radical change that killed Oldsmobile, not conservative designs.

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        and CAFE. Oops, wrong article thread. :) (good luck with that one by the way)

        No, I think you can draw some parallels to Honda today and Olds back then. Both fat and complacent, courting the same middle-class customers and arguably living off inertial sales.

        Boring sells, but no one gets a monopoly on it and eventually people tire of you.

        If Honda sales ever begin a slow descent (and they will, it’s happening in Canada) we’ll see if they learn from the lessons of their extinguished foes and, like today, hang onto the vast majority of their customers or completely mess it up like Olds.

        I would hazard a third guess, decline through indifference.

    • 0 avatar
      LeeK

      I know several women who are totally put off by this assumption that “all luxury cars are black, white, silver, or gray”. This is a car will that directly appeal to women, a smallish luxury SUV with decent reliability, high seating position, nice interior, and quieter than the outgoing model. If Honda could offer some more color choices, they would have a fighting chance of beating out the RX’s dominance in this segment.

      I’ve been to Germany, and their cars are colorful. Why do our importers only think that Americans want bland?

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      You’re probably thinking of the 1965′s. All new bodies and chassis for GM’s full sizers, and lasted until 1970. ’71 was the first tankers.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Its like a Lexus RX only made my Honda instead of Toyota… so what’s not to love? My guess is the turbo put buyers off before, not sure why soccer moms who buy these things would even notice the power-plant issues other the MPG and premium fuel which it still requires.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I finally figured out what H-A’s problem is. It is the same problem that GM is suffering- a lousy, unimmaginative color palette. The color choices from these two are just awful. They all look like generic rental heaps. The Germans have had fantastic color choices for the last dozen years. Hyundai, in its post 2011 incarnation, offers some pretty colors. Subaru offers some nice colors too- almost like they have coordinated with Pottery Barn. Ford is somewhat spotty but their color choices still beats GM in almost every model.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Amen, they have like four grays plus two whites and a black, probably. YAWN.

      My buddy spent a fortune on a new diesel Golf. Ordered it new with custom options. Spent $800 on VW parts-dept wheels. Bought the mud flaps, 3M film, and cargo organizer.

      “Whoa, sounds nice. What color did you get?”

      “Gray.”

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        BTW I just checked the RDX website and I wasn’t joking.

        Black, white, brick red, AND…

        Four shades of gray.

        One of them is brownish.

        Why not the awesome metallic cocoa on the RDX? Or a green tea?

        At least I can get tan interior with gray, which is better than most other makers will allow with a gray exterior.

  • avatar

    Sales are definitely up. But part of the increase is tsunami-related: many Acura and Honda models are up significantly compared to a year ago.

  • avatar
    spinjack

    Looks like somebody told the guy that designed the 9-7X to take a CR-V and make it look like an Acura.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    So this basically seals the deal on H-A not offering more turbos. “Look, we kill the turbo and sales take off!”

    oh well. That power plant in the ILX or TSX would have been interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      That engine needs some more work. It wasn’t a very polished execution of a turbocharged engine.

      It’s no surprise that RDX customers prefer the new, more refined V-6.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        It wasn’t a bad engine, really, it was just on-boost all the time in the RDX because of it’s weight. In the TSX or CSX it would have been a better choice.

        As a swan-song for the RSX, it would have been awesome.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        It also had turbo-lag issues, from what I had heard. Not very refined for what is supposed to be a luxury vehicle.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Any idea why it requires premium fuel? I thought (could be wrong) the engine was a carryover based on the ‘current’ Accord V6/Pilot/Odyssey, and last time I looked those vehicles require regular unleaded. Not having to run premium fuel I think would be a sales advantage. Having owned a 2008 RDX and hating that vehicle from lack of refinement, performance, economy, and sense of purpose made me self pledge to really look twice before buying another Acura/Honda product. The awesome resale on the RDX saved the day not making that purchase a total disaster. Any RDX replacement could only be better.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Honda traditionally detunes the J-Series V6 in Honda models for regular gas, and provides more horsepower in the Acura versions — presumably as an extra-cost feature — by dialing in more aggressive timing advance that requires premium gas.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    I have a feeling that many of these RDX sales were to buyers who were originally interested in the MDX and had no idea about the existence of the RDX (old or new) until they entered the showroom or started their online research. The new RDX strikes me as a cannibal. How are MDX sales?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      But which is model is which? RDX and MDX are almost indistinguishable to my TLA-filled brain. It’s about as close to a namespace collision as you can get, without actually having it happen….

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This car makes more sense now that the MDX has a third row.

      The car that this would be more likely to hurt is the ZDX. Or rather, it could hurt the ZDX, if the ZDX sold more than two cars a month.

      The existence of the RDX might do the ZDX some favours. As in someone will walk into an Acura showroom intending to look at the new RDX, see the ZDX hunkered down in a corner (probably gathering dust), say “Dear god, what is that thing?” and might, in a fit of insanity, buy one and increase sales of the model by 50%.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’m copyrighting “Boring Sells!”

    But seriously folks…we can complain all we want about the steady and continued march of the American consumer to toaster/appliance vehicles and bemoan companies such as Honda and Toyota for pumping out so many of them as if they’ve lost their way. But truth be told, they’re giving the buying public (those that actually spend the money) what they want. Most Americans don’t want a RWD, Diesel, 6-speed wagon…they want either a F-150, or some variant of Camry/Accord/Malibu/Fusion/Altima/ or CUV (the new wagon..let’s just say it). Enthusiasts will remain the fringe, and they’ll plan their product mix accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Some forget that most 80′s/90′s Hondas were silver, tan, grey, black, not counting Si’s. Green was very popular, too.

      Have to really go back to the 70′s when ‘flashy’ colors were offered. But then buyers bought a lot of brown and green Torinos, Impalas, and Dusters.

    • 0 avatar
      kablamo

      Enthusiasts know what they like, but not what sells. The 1st gen RDX wasn’t an especially good vehicle, but I bet the lesson learned yet again is “don’t take chances”.

  • avatar
    spyked

    I do like this car. WAY cheaper than an RX350. Likely to be easy to drive, run, and maintain. I’ve seen some ads on Youtube….it doesn’t appear to be a slouch by any means, on pavement or off.

    It does come in a red color too.

    • 0 avatar
      kwbuggy

      I agree, it looks like an RX350 with a funny nose job. I’d be interested in one if I didn’t have family working at TMMC in Cambridge. Another good thing about the new RDX is that it is built in Ontario just like the RX350.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The original RDX was not an enthusiast’s car. Hell the K23A1 was not an enthusiast’s engine. Ramblings of “what could have been” are just idle chatter. The NA K engines take to boost like a fish to water, reliably spewing 400-500 hp at the crank whilst spinning at a very Honda-esque 8000-9000 RPM, probably getting better gas mileage and operating under lower boost than a stock K23A. Good riddance.

  • avatar
    jimmy2x

    It might be noted that the original RDX rode like a brick. Part of the revamp is a better ride, at least according to the magazine I saw in a doctor’s office the other day.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    Trust me the old RDX didn’t ride, it crashed with little handling payoff.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Acura looks more and more like the Mercury of the Japanese world. Are any of their cars not badge engineered copies of lesser models? People should really pay attention to what platform the cars they buy are based on.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India