Back in September, I wrote a piece lamenting the death of Honda’s high-perofrmance hallmark, the twin-cam VTEC 4-cylinder engine. It was just the sort of article many of you are fed up with: a lengthy piece filled with flowery prose and Honda fanboy-ism sprinkled with a condescending explanation of the auto industry’s inner workings. Miraculously, it was fairly well-received. But I’ve had a change of heart.
Tag: Acura ILX
The Acura ILX has been derided as being nothing more than a gussied-up Honda Civic, an analogy that I too applied to the compact Acura when it first arrived. But then our own Brendan McAleer caused me to question my dismissal of the ILX. How many shoppers out there are willing to option-up a base model by 50% and don’t think twice about the fact their “limited” model looks just like the base model? All of a sudden the ILX, especially the 2.4L model we tested made sense to me. What was the revelation? Click through the jump to find out.
The Acura TSX’s future has been in doubt ever since the debut of the smaller ILX, but more than ever, the rebadged European Accord appears to be living on borrowed time.
A few weeks ago, I posted an article entitled “Cars That Look Good But Aren’t.” I thought this was a particularly brilliant piece of writing, primarily because virtually every word was spelled correctly. After finishing it, I patted myself on the back and said “Good job, Doug.” Then I got in my Nissan Cube and shielded my face from passersby.
But it wasn’t long before the hate mail started coming in.
The first hate mail came from my mother, as per usual, who wrote: “Does this mean you still don’t have a real job? Also, why are you making fun of the Infiniti G20?” Mom wasn’t alone in her criticism. Minutes later, responses started pouring in from the Best and Brightest, who – once known for their love of the Panther platform – have apparently felt the effects of rising gas prices and decided to instead stand behind the similarly outdated Infiniti G20.
Looks like we were wrong in reporting the demise of the Acura ILX’s 2.0L engine option. Despite reports from Automotive News which claimed that the 2.0L ILX was on its way out of the lineup, Acura PR contradicted these reports, claiming they are “pure speculation”. The initial AN article seemed credible, in part because it was based on negative comments about the car made by Honda’s Executive VP John Mendel. We apologize for not verifying the information before publishing our piece. And by “we” I of course am refering to myself.
Acura’s ILX is 2/3rds of the way to hitting its 30,000 unit annual sales target, and the brand is hoping that the discontinuation of the base car’s 2.0L engine will help kickstart sales.
Like Lexus and Infiniti, Acura launched with two models, a bespoke flagship sedan and a smaller car based on an existing mainstream model. Unlike the Lexus ES 250 and the Infiniti M30, though, the Acura Integra received rave reviews. The Integra was discontinued for 2002 as part of Acura’s failed upmarket push. The Civic-based Integra sedan’s slot was sort of filled with the larger, heavier European Accord-based TSX. The 2004 TSX was a good car, but it was no Integra, and the model gained additional inches and pounds with a 2009 redesign. For 2013 Acura returns to its original playbook with a Civic-based four-door model. They’re not yet ready to officially admit the stupidity of going alphanumeric, so the new car is unfortunately appellated the ILX.
Even though 85 percent of Hondas sold in North American are built on the continent, the strong yen is hurting the company’s Japanese exports to the point where Honda is losing money on them.
With a few of our readers providing some particularly good insight into Acura’s ILX campaign based on their work in marketing, I’m submitting an ad for the TSX from 2009 for their consideration, as well as my own commentary.
The rest of the article talks about a sort of “aspirational fantasy” (my term, not theirs). JC Penny is trying to do it in their ad (discussed in the article) and Acura is trying to do it here. The problem is they haven’t quite got it.
In a forthcoming review of Steve Lynch’s book “Arrogance and Accords“, you’ll see that Acura was doomed from the start by inept management and internal politics that relegated the worst of American Honda’s corrupt to a division that needed its best players. On the other hand, they had the Integra, a wildly popular sedan that sold well – at the expensive of its prestige and Acura’s brand equity. Hoping to re-capture some of that magic is the ILX.