By on December 20, 2014

Acura sales chart TLXEven in the Acura TLX’s best sales month, the brand’s MDX and RDX crossovers still accounted for 55% of Acura sales in the United States.

With the TLX now consistently generating around three out of every ten Acura sales in America, it’s safe to say that Acura’s passenger car division is, for the moment, in safer hands than it was with the TL and TSX last year. Together, they generated 25% of Acura’s total volume in calendar year 2013, down from 40% in 2012 and 50% in 2011. 

2015 Acura TLXIt’s also safe to say that Acura continues to be a moderately successful upmarket brand thanks to its high-volume utility vehicles. Acura sold 15,293 TLX sedans between August and November 2014. The MDX produced 21,805 sales during the same period; the RDX another 13,828.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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45 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: How Important Is The TLX In Acura Showrooms?...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Sedans: vehicles of a lesser god.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      And to top it off; a sedan that comes with a 200hp NA 4-cyl engine in the base. How uninspiring.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Heh.. yeah, combine that with silver paint and you’ve got phlegm, alright.

        In a fair universe, those of us who lived through the ’80s would never again have to see grubby silver cars all over the place. The only thing in Acura’s defense is that very few of those are Acuras. Or of any other color.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The 200hp is not the problem. The lack of torque is the problem – 170lb-ft, presumable at a zillion rpm, and peak at that. This car desperately needs a turbo and another 100lb-ft from somewhere just off idle.

        • 0 avatar
          LectroByte

          I’m thinking most buyers of these will go for the V6.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            Acura needs V6’s in their mid-size cars to define them as premium. They actually have a really smart product with the V6 in the mid-size 5 passenger RDX suv. All the competition has shrunk or gone to 4cyl engines only.(RAV4, Escape, etc.) or have grown into 7 passenger minivan/SUVs (Highlander, Acadia, Explorer). My parents loved their 2007 HighlanderLimited V6 5 passenger. When we looked around they couldn’t find much in terms of a 5 passenger, semi premium V6 suv. The GMC Terrain has aged and felt cheap, Highlander is 7 pass, Escape was just horrible all around.
            The Acura RDX was one of the few vehicles that are a decent size and have a V6. They should try this strategy with their mid-size cars.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          It’s not like they they don’t offer the V6. I don’t get the whining. This seems like a very decent car for the money.

        • 0 avatar
          DearS

          the engine has a flat torque curve that is underrated and so is its hp. Its making close to 200 lb/ft throughout its rpm range. This is thanks to direct injection I believe.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            As long as the 8-speed auto’s shift programming is decent (yes, that is a huge assumption), I’d think the ratios are close enough to allow plenty of immediate torque at the wheels in any situation.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It just needs a manual :)

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Yup, if it’s going against the germans it better have some really small engines available too. 200 hp is overkill XD

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The good thing about the TLX is that it must be relatively cheap to design and build, given its kinship with the Accord.

    The bad thing about it is that there is no coherent relationship between it and the other cars in the lineup. To the extent that it is supposed to be the equivalent of the 5-series/ middle brother of the Acura trifecta, it doesn’t provide an aura for the lesser one (ILX) or rung on the ladder for the higher one (RLX).

    Honda doesn’t seem to grasp that a luxury brand needs to be greater than the sum of its individual parts. It isn’t enough just to have individual products.

    • 0 avatar

      Every example of bringing a luxury brand via a downmarket chassis fails. Cimmaron. X-Type. Acura isn’t a fail on this level, at all, but the same syndrome prevails. Mercury-it’s not special, just the best Ford you can get. You can’t make a cheap frame “luxury”. There has to be a better class of switches, ICE, HVAC, etc. Acura has its own line of each, for the upper vehicles. A few more dollars have to spent on suspension and isolation. The TLX is a very nice Honda, but the chassis of a 3, C class, etc is more expensive to build. A few better engine mounts and more soundproofing don’t convert the sow’s ear to a silk purse. The numbers look good in the board room, but if you want the luxury ride there has to be a greater build quality, beginning at the outset.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The formula for making an Acura sedan hasn’t changed much in the history of the Acura brand, but potential customers have moved on. The car market has bifurcated into everyday transportation appliance cars and aspirational luxury cars with not much middle ground left for near-luxury brands. Real luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes can command a high price while not quite luxury brands have a hard time separating themselves from well equipped versions of the non-luxury brands. Acura can sell some $30k to $40k really nice Hondas, but that market is drying up. Even Asian Americans prefer to be seen in “real” European luxury cars today.

        One specific problem to the Acura formula is everything added to a Honda to add luxury also adds weight. The end result is the more powerful Acura version of the Honda engine doesn’t feel faster than the cheaper Honda version. The main difference the customer notices is the Acura version requires expensive premium gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        As long as the execution is good, it can work very well. Look at the Lexus ES. Not everyone needs a RWD sport sedan. They were advertising TLX leases for $275 with $2000 down. It seems like a whole lot of car for the money.

        I would like to know why there hasn’t been a TTAC review or two on this car.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Audi has used platforms that are shared with VW. BMW is sharing with MINI.

        It’s not a platform sharing problem. But there is too much of an obvious relationship between Acura and Honda for Acura to earn much cachet value. Designing the flagship sedan so that it resembles a big Accord is not a great way of telling the marketplace that it justifies Mercedes-level prices.

        “The formula for making an Acura sedan hasn’t changed much in the history of the Acura brand, but potential customers have moved on. The car market has bifurcated into everyday transportation appliance cars and aspirational luxury cars with not much middle ground left for near-luxury brands. ”

        This is pretty much it. When Acura was launched in the 80s, the US luxury brands had taken a blow but it wasn’t yet clear who the winners would be. Since then, the Germans have become dominant, the Swedes have faded into irrelevance, and the Japanese luxury brands did not repel the German counterattack (the Germans could not match Lexus reliability, so they offered better leases, instead.)

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Conversely, though; if they now how to make an Accord based car “better”, why not apply that know how to the Accord? There is already a fair amount of price overlap between low end Acuras and top end Hondas.

          I honestly don’t think Honda’s engineering division’s heart is 100% committed to the Acura venture. They really seem to treat the brand like a slightly embarrassing show off’y cousin, who cares more about image than substance.

          Either that, or they simply cannot bring themselves to build cars that are not optimized for how people actually used them, meaning cannot bring themselves to build cars optimized for 100+mph and big slip angles, when actual buyers overwhelmingly drive at 75 and conservatively. And Accords are already pretty much perfect for how people do use them. Aside from a nicer Stereo, which Acuras have in spades, what more is there really?

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    This car makes a far stronger case for itself than the mess that was the second gen TSX. No, it can’t compete with the 3/C/A4 or arguably even the IS and Q50, but it’s not really trying to. It competes fairly well against the similarly priced Buick Regal and makes the Volvo S60 look a bit overpriced.

    Similarly, if you’re looking at going past the $30K mark on a Sonata, Fusion, etc. you may start to wonder about whether you should get the Acura instead.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Unless someone knows something I don’t, the reviews I see place this car somewhere in the OK category. Certainly not great. From a consumer perspective, you really have to look hard to find these on the road. At least I do. There is nothing that stands out about these. Until that happens and they are noticeable, this car will continue to have average sales and nothing more. Whenever I get into car conversations and I mention this car, the overwhelming majority of the time people don’t even know what I’m talking about (as in they haven’t heard not have they ever seen it) and in the end…..that is the problem with this car.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I don’t know how anyone could know what this car is. Even I had to open the article to find out what a “TLX” is.

      Cars with actual phonetic names are easier to remember, and sell.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Acura has been spending a lot of money introducing the “TLX” name in television ads, but I think their potential customers skip over or tune out advertisements. A nice inoffensive car replacing an ugly car. It doesn’t inspire many people to run to their nearest Acura dealer, especially when visiting a car dealer ranks up there with dentist visit in ways people like to spend their time.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I agree. Why not bring their names back. Legend, Vigor, Integra had some good brand equity. People would remember those. I bet if you asked an average person, they would not be able to identify what a TLX, ILX, XTS, MKC are and who makes them.

  • avatar
    Fred

    The TLX is a very nice car, especially compared to the RLX and ILX.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    How important are TLX sales? Pretty important it seems. Acura has a modest success for now, but often, there’s a sales spike in the first year followed by consecutive declines.

    Hopefully, Acura can follow up, substantially improving the ILX, delivering on the NSX… and.. and … I’m not sure what they should do with the RLX.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    8DCT would have to be damn good to make 200HP/170TQ/3500lbs feel quick enough IMO. I guess its not that kind of car. I do understand it to the degree that I dont want to spend $35K on a V6 Accord or $60K on a 4 banger 5 series. This makes more sense to me than either. But 0-60 in the 7s is borderline to me.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      That’s not too far off the numbers for my old Volvo 850, and it felt fast enough. Besides, I’m guessing the majority of TLX sales are the V6 with the 9 speed.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The base TLX engine/8DCT transmission would be well suited to the 3300 lb Accord in a currently missing trim level. A car that combines the Accord Sport larger 18 in wheels and handling with the better sound system and leather of the EX-L, but without the cost and weight of the sunroof.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “But 0-60 in the 7s is borderline to me.”

      I am intrigued by people whose sine qua non is max acceleration for attacking each run of potholes between each stoplight.

      Also by the convergence of events; cars get lower, potholes get bigger and more numerous, s1dewalls shrink to tread-depth..hit it!

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        And cars get heavier. It was said above it’s not just HP, it’s torque. 170 lb-ft is anemic and in typical Honda fashion, probably available only at 7000rpm. Up until then, theres just no punch. I don’t “attack” each stoplight run. I commute and drive in suburban Chicago and yes, I’m biased because I drive a sports car, but I just don’t see this car possessing any amount of fun.

  • avatar
    bd2

    It’s an easier sell for FWD-based CUVs (since most are in AWD form, if not only available with AWD) than it is for upmarket FWD-based sedans.

    Which is why both Audi and Lincoln rely heavily on CUV sales and why Lexus bases its CUVs on its FWD and not RWD platforms.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    The real question is how important is Acura at all? The Japanese Lincoln has no future in their current direction and the management and product teams both are to blame.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      They continue to be marginalized. They had their peak in the Legend, NSX, and Integra days. The only vehicle that kept Acura engaged was the MDX and even that car is looking rather boring. There is nothing in the Acura line up that gets people (…buyers) emotional.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    According to C&D the TLX four has 206 hp and 182 lb of torque. 0-60, 6.8 sec, a tad slower than the Accord Sport manual’s 6.6.

    Road & Track called the suspension “suberb” and the 8 speed auto transmission “lightning fast”..

    According to R&T “everyone who drove the two models
    preferred the four-cylinder by a substantial margin”.

    Basically Acura is offering a 5 series sized car at less than 3 series prices. Again, R&T, “it’s a quieter, smoother cruiser than a 3 Series, and it rides far better.” Acura is betting some buyers will appreciate that “less sporty/more value” balance.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I find it very interesting and somewhat telling that when you see reviews for the TLX, they spend 98% of their time reviewing and discussing the car technology. Buried in the review are usually comments such as “lackluster performance”, etc. Doesn’t bode well when car guys from a car magazine struggle to talk about a car and have to revert to a technology discussion.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>“lackluster performance”<<

        Not really.

        R&T said "The four-cylinder is vocal, engaging, and eager. Its transmission's shifts are lightning-fast, and the car is light on its feet. ".

        That would be pretty much the opposite of “lackluster performance”.

        RT sums it up:
        “The bottom line
        The 2.4-liter TLX, especially, hits the perfect compromise between luxury-car refinement and sufficient driver engagement.”

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          I used to be a fan of Acura, back in the day when they had sporty offerings; but that time has passed. You can quote R&T all you want. This is what I read from the same article…”The four-cylinder
          is vocal, engaging, and eager. Its transmission’s shifts are lightning-fast, and the car is light on its feet. The TLX V6’s responses, by comparison, feel dulled—and it requires upwards of 4000 rpm for the engine to come alive. The transmission’s shifts are slurred and low, and the suspension tuning is far softer and less responsive. The car feels far heavier and less agile, and no more refined.”

          So apparently the underpowered 4 cyl with low torque is the better car and the V6 is the one with lackluster performance. So the bigger question is, why by this car at all? Wouldn’t an Accord be a better choice? Per that same article, “As usual, Acura excels at making a very good car, but doesn’t deliver a slam-dunk on the desirability scale.” Doesn’t sound very exciting to me, but it certainly sounds like Acura.

  • avatar
    genuineleather

    The TLX will succeed because it is effectively the sedan version of the RDX: decent-looking, well-priced, and with a premium badge. As with the RDX redesign, Acura is cleaning house, replacing a complex, marginally-executed and overpriced design with a simpler, easier-to-sell product that customers want. They aren’t true German competitors, but as Cadillac, Volvo, and formerly Saab can attest, chasing that segment is far more difficult (and costly) than building upon strengths in the market you already compete in.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I think the degree of success is the real question. Like all Acura products there is a noticeable lack of any passion in what they do or offer. This car is no different. It will be successful by Acura standards, just as the often maligned TL was. But it won’t be the success that Acura truly needs it to be.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    The TLX is a fantastic peice of machinery.

    Unless you have actually flogged an SH-AWD sedan yourself, why judge? The system is genius.

    Did y’all know the TLX V6 FWD with its mere 290hp can trap at 103mph+ easily?

    The TLX is going to be a hit because it provides a great canvas to modify from. A TLX on a nice set of wheels absolutely pops. It is a great subtle design. It will age beautifully.

    Acura just needs to drop in the turbo 4 from the new Type R Civic complete with:
    – 320 hp
    – 300 tq
    – SH AWD

    Everyone should take a moment and read Alex on Autos review of the V6. He loved it

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> Everyone should take a moment and read Alex on Autos review of the V6. He loved it

      The TLX — one small step for Acura, one giant step away from Honda? Ok, not yet, but it is a step in the right direction.

      Heh… at one point, Alex mis-spoke TLX and said RLX. I’m sure it’s a common mistake. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments, no one mixed up the names Acura Integra, Vigor, Legend, NSX. Similarly, I’ve never heard the names Honda Fit, Civic, and Accord mixed up.

      I’m not a marketer, but I imagine Acura switching back to names would be harder than switching from U.S. standard to metric.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      The problem is really who cares what Alex thinks? I drove the I4 and FWD V6 in early September. The 4 was enemic and frenetic, the V6 spun its wheels given a bit of throttle from a stop sign and then had a cyclic vibration on the highway – never mind the ridiculously poor 9 speed auto.

      On the last day of September, I drove the SH-AWD. What a slot car that is – not. Howled the tires going round urban 90 degree corners at a not ridiculous pace. I’d have to go back to the 1970s to remember a car squealing tires around a moderate curve. And it still has the dreadful 9 speed.

      Forget the Audi A4. I drove an A3 half an hour after the SH-AWD, and except for quietness and a bit of room, that 2.0t slaughtered the TLX. And it does a 14.0 second quarter too, and feels like it. Plus, you know, being agile, nimble and non-tire squealing and having a spark of modern interior design instead of Tokyo by night helps.

      A person coming from an early 00s Buick would find the ponderous TLX a modern miracle. It’s a car for people who cannot be bothered test-driving anything else. YMMV and good luck to you.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>had a cyclic vibration on the highway –<<

        That's designed in. Part of the lane-keeping and radar-following technologies built in. That feature can be turned off.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know how many iterations of sh awd exist, but on my second Gen MDX, it makes a huge water buffalo almost “tossable”. The day there was a failure and it went to FWD only for a brief time was instructive.

        Likewise, I’ve driven the TL sh awd, and it totally rocked compared to a FWD only TL I got as a loaner car the next day.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          “I don’t know how many iterations of sh awd exist, but on my second Gen MDX, it makes a huge water buffalo almost “tossable”.”

          I was in my Mazda3 MT and was about to say goodbye to the lumbering MDX following me down a curvy road. I was very surprised it was able to keep up. Granted, I don’t drive like J.B., but I can drive this particular section of road faster then many, and I had the weight and chassis advantage. It had to be the SH AWD and not the MDX driver’s skill! :)

          @wmba above experienced tire squealing. My guess is the TLX’s OEM Goodyear tires. Yes, Acura cheaped out, but their average buyer probably won’t care.

  • avatar
    Wizegui

    Edit – Somehow my comment was marked as spam when I submitted an edited version of it, so here is a repost.

    I think people give the TLX too much crap. Apart from the J35 V6 engine, I think the fact that the unique drivetrain and availability of 4WS and SH-AWD should really be more than enough to make it more than just a “rebadged Accord V6” as some might suggest. Admittedly, the interior does not have the same quality of materials like a BMW 3’er or Audi A4, but it is definitely a step above the Accord in terms of quality, equipment, and design. Hell, even the ILX now has the same 8-speed / 2.4L combo as the TLX. That combined with the unique sheet metal should be more than enough to distance the ILX from its Civic cousin.

    Having said that, I was not impressed with the new RDX when I drove it. Also, the RLX does need a LOT more work in order for it to stand out from its competition. I do think that Acura is heading in the right direction, though with the introduction of the CLA and A3, I do wonder if there is still market for entry luxury brands.


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