By on March 30, 2015

Acura RLXAcura RLX sales plunged 53% to just 173 units in February 2015, the fifth consecutive month in which U.S. sales of Acura’s flagship sedan were chopped in half, or worse.

Year-over-year, RLX sales have decreased in each of the last nine months. Over these three quarters, the RLX is down 60%, a loss of 2873 sales compared to the preceding nine-month period.

Historically, the RLX (formerly known as the RL) wasn’t anything like a top-selling premium car, but it wasn’t typically this unpopular, either. In the seven years leading up to the recession, 2002 to 2008, Acura reported an annual average of more than 9000 RL sales in America.

The 5555 total sales achieved between 2009 and 2012 was explained away by the age of the existing model – the second-gen RL debuted in 2004 – as well as the low-volume nature of the car market at the time.

Acura
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
MDX
4,553 4,563 -0.2% 8,934 8,804 1.5%
RDX
3,862 2,911 32.7% 7,379 5,641 30.8%
TLX
3,419 6,311
ILX
959 1,301 -26.3% 1,951 2,458 -20.6%
RLX
173 371 -53.4% 349 791 -55.9%
TL
22 1,480 -98.5% 40 2,848 -98.6%
TSX
4 911 -99.6% 10 1,804 -99.4%
ZDX
8 -100% 22 -100%
Total
12,992
11,545 12.5% 24,974 22,368 11.7%

Indeed, sales of the new model perked up, rising to the highest level in six years and above 5000 units for the first time since 2007. Yet the dull styling of the RLX didn’t bode well, the high price has never sat well with luxury car buyers, and Acura’s less costly middle-rung cars (the TL and now the TLX) always rubbed up closely in terms of size, matched or exceeded the RLX in terms of performance, and their MSRPs have always undercut the RLX by many thousands of dollars. The RLX, especially in Sport Hybrid guise, is a very nice car, but not at the advertised price, and not with such sleepy exterior design.

Regardless, the uptick was terribly short-lived. Year-over-year volume shot forward from 2012 and early 2013 levels when there was hardly any remaining RLs available. But even in its most popular month so far, October 2013, when 830 RLXs were sold, it trailed low-volume premium players like the Audi A6, Lexus GS, and Lincoln MKS. That same month, Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class range outsold the RLX by nearly 8-to-1; the BMW 5-Series by more than 6-to-1.

From that peak, however, we’ve come a long way in a short time. RLX sales fell to a new low of just 173 units in February, the second consecutive and third month overall in which monthly RLX volume slipped below 200.

The good news for Acura? The TLX isn’t selling poorly. As a result, even with the ILX down 21% year-to-date and RLX volume down 56%, overall Acura car sales are up 10%. The TLX accounts for 6311 of the 8661 Acura cars sold so far this year. The MDX and RDX crossovers generate nearly two-thirds of the brand’s volume. With the TLX, MDX, and RDX rising, Acura sales were up 12% through the end of February.

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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76 Comments on “U.S. February Sales: Acura RLX Takes An Uppercut To Its Glass Jaw...”


  • avatar

    LOL – tha’s what you get for releasing a sub-standard “luxury car” without a V8 option.

    MEANWHILE…over at Dodge… $70,000 HELLCATS with markups of between $5000 and $20,000 sell like hotcakes.

    Star in Jamaica, NY had a Challenger with a markup to $92,000 sell for $86,000 after negotiations.

    This is Darwinism at work here.

    • 0 avatar
      michal1980

      this place would be better without you.

      Are you a dodge employee? Is the TTAC getting paid for allowing you here? They should really disclose that your nothing but an AD bot.

      • 0 avatar

        U mad bro?

        Don’t worry…someday Acura will listen to me. You should have heard me go off on the employee who called us up and asked us why were WEREN’T going to buy another Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          No they won’t because they don’t really care about this model. Its not made for this market and never was.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Actually, the RLX, like most Acura products was developed for this market, but FWD-based sedans at the higher end of the lux market usually don’t do well.

            And as for Honda/Acura investing in a RWD/V8 combo, doubtful that they would have seen a return on their investment.

            Too much competition with Cadillac getting back in the game, the Panamera taking a good bit of sales and Hyundai/Kia attracting the value buyer (with VW getting back in the game as well).

            Despite positive reviews, Jaguar hasn’t been able to get much traction with the XJ.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “LOL – tha’s what you get for releasing a sub-standard “luxury car” without a V8 option.”

      You should let MB (E-Class), Audi (A6), and Lexus (GS) know.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        According to Wikipedia, The Lexus GS F will offer the 5.0 L 2UR-GSE V8. If one ponies up the cash, they can get a V8 in the Mercedes E63 AMG.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexus_GS

        http://www.lexus.com/concept/GSF/

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Neither the GSF or the E63 AMG is a “mainstream luxury car” they’re both tuned sports sedans and sell in very small numbers. A company can easily compete in the mainstream $50-70k luxury segment without a V8, as MB has demonstrated.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree on the tuning/sporting of them but they both use the same mainstream platforms and are both in the same model family. I think the reason for this to be honest, is dodging unrealistic EPA regs. They want to offer a V8 to the 10% of customers with demand and cash to afford them, but to do so they split them off as a different model (a la CTS-V) and then try to turn a “luxury” car into a “sports” car with special wheels/tuning etc. Would be much cheaper and easier to just offer a V8 motor to those who want one without cost added BS, but then again we’d have to do something about the growing unelected bureaucracy in our own backyards.

          • 0 avatar

            Why can’t they just offer a platform that can accept optional engines and optional AWD?

            Why are they so stupid?

            HYUNDAI would have NEVER built the RLX.

            Look at the Genesis sales compared to the RLX!

            I wanna write Hyundai a big thank you that reads:

            “While I’d probably never buy one of your cars, I might, only if my first two options were unavailable or if I was living in Seoul. Thank You for giving me a 3rd option.”

          • 0 avatar

            The S6 and RS6 also employ a V8. But I agree. Offering a V8 in a relatively-obscure (to your clientele) ultra-performance variant doesn’t exactly count. And even with the 5-Series, for example, the 550i is a rare sight, with the 535i being the volume model. I’d say the one mid-sized RWD luxury sedan that has a high V8 take rate is the Jaguar XF, but that should change as Jaguar starts pushing people into a newer forced-induction six-cylinder on the upcoming redesigned model.

          • 0 avatar
            John R

            To be fair, the Genesis doesn’t need a V8 to eat the RL’s lunch. It does it quite handily through the singular virtue of being RWD alone.

            Most here knows, but it is worth repeating, that, aesthetically, RWD cars naturally have the correct proportions. They have, visually, the proper cadence in motion; and a RWD car, even to the lay person, FEEL correct when driven.

            Now, I’m sure many, including Acura, will point to FWD Audi this or Lexus ES that. Or point to the AWD take rate for the RL’s rear driven competitors.

            However, a few things:

            Audi is an exception that proves a different rule. Audi could take a Corolla and put an Auto Union badge on it and it would sell, because, “Mmmm…GERMAN…”

            The Lexus ES is entry level and most still have fond memories of the (Surprise! RWD!) first generation LS.

            Lastly, AWD examples of RWD cars are still RWD based.

            If there is a single car that bears this out it is Hyundai’s Genesis. If an individual had time an energy to do the research I am sure they would find a direct correlation between the rise in Genesis sales and the RL’s descent into irrelevancy.

            If Honda wants to play in this sandbox they have to find the testicular fortitude to make a RWD car. Point blank, period.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            John R, the problem with your argument begins and ends with Lexus ES. Roughly the same price as the Genesis (more expensive on the low end), FWD and unashamed of it, and sells about twice as many copies as the Genesis month in and month out.

            Above $50,000, you need RWD to be taken seriously by the automotive press, but in the $40ks no RWD is necessary for larger cars.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “If Honda wants to play in this sandbox they have to find the testicular fortitude to make a RWD car. Point blank, period.”

            Disagree. RWD and V8s are, much as I hate to say it, the old and busted at this stage of the game. The new hottness is smaller displacement forced induction engines, and AWD. Fortunately for Acura, they have one of the best AWD systems in the business, and hopefully the NSX twin-turbo V6 and the Civic Type R turbo 4 will be trickling across the lineups at H/A.

            Here in Chicago, almost every luxury car you see is AWD, even the vaunted BMWs. Some of that is climate-related, but most people want AWD in a premium car anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            John R

            @dal20402

            The ES and Genesis are in different segments. Apples to apples. The RLX and Genesis are in the same segment – as is the GS. Would love to know how well GS doing relative to the RLX.

            The MSRP of a base RLX is $48,450 (read: FWD only). If I can get a comparable car with the proper drivetrain for less, why wouldn’t I?

            @S2k Chris

            “Disagree. RWD and V8s are, much as I hate to say it, the old and busted at this stage of the game.”

            “Here in Chicago, almost every luxury car you see is AWD, even the vaunted BMWs.”

            I guess I wasn’t clear enough? I said, “To be fair, the Genesis DOESN’T NEED a V8 to eat the RL’s lunch. It does it quite handily through the singular virtue of being RWD alone.” and “Lastly, AWD examples of RWD cars are still RWD based.”

            “The new hotness is smaller displacement forced induction engines, and AWD. Fortunately for Acura, they have one of the best AWD systems in the business,…”

            Well, if I understand this argument then, looking at the table above, the math has yet to bear this assertion out.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The MSRP of a base RLX is $48,450 (read: FWD only). If I can get a comparable car with the proper drivetrain for less, why wouldn’t I?”

            You really think the average person shopping the Genesis and RLX (and you’re fooling yourself if you think they’re ignoring a GS or ES) knows or cares it’s RWD? No. Look, I like and prefer RWD too, but to the man on the street, especially shopping the non-German luxury sedan market, RWD is meaningless, or even a detriment.

            “Well, if I understand this argument then, looking at the table above, the math has yet to bear this assertion out.”

            RLX isn’t available with the basic SH-AWD sysmtem, and the (crazy expensive) hybrid version isn’t out yet. And the new turbo engines aren’t out yet. I’m just saying that Acura is sorta skipping a whole level; for a while you had to be RWD and a V8, then it went FI and AWD. Acura skipped the RWD and V8 era, but hopefully lands right in the FI/AWD era as it becomes ubiquitous.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            John R, wishing by Acura won’t make it so. Acura would like the RLX to be in the GS/A6 segment. But the actual, real-life RLX is in the ES’s segment, just overpriced.

            Also, for 2016 the Tech is the bottom trim level. The base price of the 2016 RLX is $54,450. The base model is gone.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            @dal20402

            The problem with your example is that the FWD ES doesn’t compete with the RWD Genesis, as buyers of FWD and RWD (esp. RWD with the option of V8) tend to be different types of buyers.

            Currently, the Genesis is the 3rd best selling midsize RWD-based lux sedan (the addition of AWD has helped along with the drop in CTS sales).

            The 1G Genesis had a pretty high take rate for the V8, but since then has dropped as the V8 on the 2G doesn’t offer AWD and should drop even further with the addition of the turbo V6 engine.

            As for Audi, even they know not to offer the A7 and A8 in FWD form here and the A8 is still way behind the 7 Series, much less the S Class in sales.

            The RLX is in the same segment as the Cadillac XTS and the aged MKS (which still manages to outsell the RLX by a good margin) – full-size FWD/AWD sedans in the mid-price segment.

            The XTS does around 25k in volume even with the CTS in the same price-segment.

            Lexus could have moved up the ES to the mid-price segment (instead of staying at the entry-level) when they switched the underlying platform from a Camry-based one to the Avalon, but knew that if they did so, they would lose a lot in volume (the ES is the competitor to the LaCrosse and not the XTS).

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “The problem with your example is that the FWD ES doesn’t compete with the RWD Genesis, as buyers of FWD and RWD (esp. RWD with the option of V8) tend to be different types of buyers.”

            Yeah, I don’t believe that for a second. Buyers tend to compare on price, and not a lot else. Marketers, product planners, and those who pretend to play those roles on the internet like to slice and dice market niches, but in the real world, things are not nearly so cut and dried. People generally pick a price range, and look at their favorite brands in that range, and might even look at a sedan vs. a crossover or coupe or whatever. This whole “$45k sedan A is rarely shopped with $45k sedan B” is bollocks.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            @S2kChris

            Well, Lexus execs have stated that there is little cross-shopping between their sedans and the IS and ES are in the same price-range.

            And if pricing is such the factor, then why can’t the cheaper Audi A6 do one-third the volume of the E Class?

            The E Class starts at $52k, whereas the A6 starts at $45k.

            And the new E Class will likely get a bump in price and it will still continue to widely outsell the A6.

            Also, a lot of Genesis owners were specifically looking for RWD, if not RWD+V8.

            And conversely, a lot of FWD buyers wouldn’t even look at RWD w/o AWD if they lived in the cold weather states.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      The RLX sells for less than $60,000 and does everything nicer than any Dodge except burn rubber.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The 2 don’t even compete for the same type of buyer so useless comparison.

      The RLX was pretty much DOA from the start – at the higher end of the lux sedan market, FWD becomes increasingly harder to sell (which is why Audi doesn’t offer the A7 and A8 in FWD form here), and add to that insipid styling and what you get, not surprisingly, is falling sales on volume that wasn’t much to begin with when the RLX launched.

      And as much grief btsr gives Cadillac, they have done pretty well, in comparison, with the XTS (another full-size FWD-based lux sedan), selling around 25k last year even with the CTS in the same price-range (the XTS is doing 10x the volume of the RLX).

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “The RLX was pretty much DOA from the start – at the higher end of the lux sedan market, FWD becomes increasingly harder to sell (which is why Audi doesn’t offer the A7 and A8 in FWD form here), and add to that insipid styling and what you get, not surprisingly, is falling sales on volume that wasn’t much to begin with when the RLX launched.”

        Correlation =/= Causation. Acura can’t sell at $50k+ prices because it’s Acura, not MB or BMW. Do you honestly think that if BMW or MB changed the 5-series or E-Class from RWD to FWD tomorrow, their sales would drop more than, say, 5%? If so, you’re fooling yourself. The vast majority are buying (leasing) a badge, not a drivetrain layout. Otherwise the G8 and SS and others would have been runaway successes.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          If Hyundai had gone with a FWD-based Genesis, it would not have been nearly as successful.

          And while maybe not as much as for MB, but a lot of 5 Series owners would switch if the 5er went FWD.

          There’s a reason why Audi is so much more competitive against MB and BMW when it comes to lower-end sedans and to crossovers and why it still struggles when it comes to higher end sedans.

  • avatar
    dwford

    TLX not TDX

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “…173 units sold, placing it within spitting distance of exclusive, exotic, rare super-car territory.”

    It’s all how one spins it.

  • avatar
    Toad

    The Acura model names are at least as bad as Lincoln’s, and sales are in the same territory. Solution:

    -Redesign the RLX so that it is distinctive, not just a supersized Accord. The current drivetrain is fine, the car just needs a distinctive body.
    -Bring back the Legend name. You know, from when people actually were happy to buy a premium priced Honda.
    -Profits!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Legend is too far back for it to mean much to me. However, I do have good memories of the early 2000s TL.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Bring back the Legend name. You know, from when people actually were happy to buy a premium priced Honda.”

      This is such an intellectually lazy argument. First of all, Acura’s best years were about 1999-2005, when they were, wait for it, alphanumeric. Second, almost every other luxury car manufacturer (Land Rover excluded, and even they have the LR4) does it alphanumerically, with varying degrees of success. You can’t tell me “TLX” and “ILX” are worse than, say, “Z4 sDrive35i”.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I disagree Acura’s best years were in the 80s and probably dropped off by 1993-5.

        “You can’t tell me “TLX” and “ILX” are worse than, say, “Z4 sDrive35i”.”

        I can tell you all three are stupid, stupid is as stupid does.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “disagree Acura’s best years were in the 80s and probably dropped off by 1993-5.”

          The third and fourth gen TLs were the best selling luxury cars after the BMW 3-series, and likely the best selling if you corrected for only sedans (3-series being available in coupe, convertible, and wagon, as well as M3 versions). Add in the success of the 1G MDX, and those were the glory days for Acura.

          Check out their sales by year: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I suppose it would depend on how one defines “best years”, I personally view it as product quality/value compared to the competition at the time. One could also argue in the case of Acura about true JDM spec/designed models vs Acura flavored USDM spec models.

            Btw The third gen TL didn’t come out until 2004 and the fourth 2009. 1999-2005 is mired in the transmission fiasco in my mind. Legend toward the end of gen II seemed to lose a bit of its luster which the RL simply couldn’t replicate.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acura_TL

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Btw The third gen TL didn’t come out until 2004 and the fourth 2009. 1999-2005 is mired in the transmission fiasco in my mind. Legend toward the end of gen II seemed to lose a bit of its luster which the RL simply couldn’t replicate.”

            You’re right, I was mistaken. The 2G did have transmission problems, but it was a big seller, and then the 3G was a huge seller.

            You can argue about “model purity” and crap about USDM vs. JDM models and stuff, but the proof is in the pudding; the 2G and 3G TLs are where Acura figured out the US market and delivered what consumers wanted.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m a big fan of the Gen III so I agree they seem to have figured it out, though I would personally prefer JDM spec vehicles from Acura. The brand as it stands seems like it exists to hurt HMC North America as things which should be offered in a Honda (i.e. AWD on Accord) are only available in an “Acura”.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I think you can make a good case that the first-gen TSX (2004-2008) is Acura’s best-ever product.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Well, I assume that leaves out the NSX, and even then I would still say the 3G TL was better than its contemporary, the 1G TSX, and I was a 1G TSX owner. Plus there’s the Integra, the 1G and 2G MDXs, and the Legends.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Fair point about the NSX.

            I test-drove the TL when I got my TSX, and didn’t like it as much. I did not have the same love for the styling that most people seem to; I found it to be trying too hard. But of course it was a lot more popular.

            For me the only other car that seems as great is the 2nd-gen Legend. That one was ahead of its time.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        German alphanumerics make some sense, as they indicate ranking and body style. (A 7-series is above a 5-series, which is above a 3-series, etc.)

        Acura’s nameplates do not make any sense at all. The letters seem to be random, and the various names have no connection with each other.

        Convention would suggest that nameplates should be kept unless there is a good reason to change them. Legend was pretty successful; I don’t see why they would make the effort to build up that brand equity just to throw it away.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “Convention would suggest that nameplates should be kept unless there is a good reason to change them. Legend was pretty successful; I don’t see why they would make the effort to build up that brand equity just to throw it away.”

          The reason given, at the time, was that Integra owners were calling their Integras “Acuras” and Legend owners were calling their Legends “Legends” to show that they spent a lot more than Integra owners. The idea was to get everyone to call their cars Acuras and increase Acura awareness, not just have one prestigious model that everyone refered to by name and creating two classes of Acura buyers.

          Now, tear that marketing theory apart however you like, but that was the reason. They didn’t want the Legend name to have more prestige than the Acura name.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            “Now, tear that marketing theory apart however you like, but that was the reason. They didn’t want the Legend name to have more prestige than the Acura name.”

            Understood. I’ve heard that explanation before. But that’s like Ford giving up the name Mustang, and GM giving up Corvette or Stingray.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            But when you ask an S Class owner what he/she drives – they probably say an S Class and not a Mercedes (which is why the addition of the CLA has not hurt S Class sales).

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      I don’t think that it is intellectually lazy to suggest distinctive product names. I consider myself a “car guy” and I cannot begin to remember the model names of many, maybe most, alphanumeric models; if I can’t do it there is no way the average car buyer is keeping them straight. Everybody remembers the Camry,Accord, and Malibu names; I’ll bet 5% of car buyers cannot tell you what an RLS, MKS, or i3 is.

      The Germans started the alphanumeric naming, and other manufacturers piled on because they equated it with German quality. But too many alphanumeric names have just created confusion for most car buyers. Acura and Lincoln are prime examples.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I don’t think anyone is going to win this market:

    * People who can make RLX payments can afford the next class up, usually
    * People who can make RLX payments tend to be E/5er buyers anyways
    * People who can’t won’t even try.

    This is a little like the Jeep conundrum: while other companies could make a better Jeep than Jeep, the market for offroad-targeted vehicles isn’t an offroad-buyer market, it’s a Jeep market.

    Similarly, the midsize luxury market isn’t a midsize-luxury market, it’s a E-Class/5-Series market. Everything else is basically playing the role of the FJ Cruiser to the Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      I think you are dead on here. Harley Davidson has a similar corner on the market. Some brands are the standard by which the class is judged, regardless if its competitors can offer a superior product. Actually the competitors in these classes face a double whammy. If they offer a superior product (reliablility, design improvement, etc) at a lower price, they are accused of being “wannabes”. If they offer the product at close to the same price, buyers will usually pick the original. Cadillac vs Mercedes/BMW, John Deere vs Murray riding mowers, Harley Davidson vs Japanese cruiser motorcycles, etc. Tough nut to crack.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Similarly, the midsize luxury market isn’t a midsize-luxury market, it’s a E-Class/5-Series market.”

      Yup, been saying this for years. And for those who want Acura to go even further upmarket, check out how even the 7-series and A8 and LS460 do against the S-Class.

      Acura needs to work their tails off to own the $30k-45k market, because that’s a place they can win. $45k+ belongs to MB and BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        Ding, ding, ding.

        I could afford a car like this, and I like Acura. But I’d never buy it, because I don’t spend $55k on a car. How would you know that about me? Well, it’s because I like Acura.

        People who drive Acuras are people who want a comfortable, quiet, competent-handling car but think it’s silly to spend $55k for it, and like to tell themselves that they (we?) are smarter than everyone who does because of it.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I think a lot of it has to do with Acura owners tend to be less likely to lease their cars than MB/BMW owners; Acura owners are more likely to be buy and hold buyers and value long term reliability and low running costs. Does that make us smarter, or cheaper, or poorer? I dunno.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Certainly cheaper, at the very least. But as far as I’m concerned, I want to drive a nice car, but $10,000 extra I spend on a car is $10,000 less that I can spend on a boat.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          This is very true. There are a lot of reasonable, right-brain reasons for RSX, TSX (probably the prima facie definition), TL/TSX or MDX.

          The RLX belongs to a class of car that isn’t really a right-brain choice at all. It’s rather like a really nice Casio amongst the Swiss marques; it might be better than many or even most, but it just doesn’t matter to the buyer.

          The RLX (like the RL before it) isn’t at all a bad car. It is, in fact, quite nice. It’s just a car without a market.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    New, it was overprices, outdated, and sloppy. The Ford Taurus of Acura. Still better then a Infiniti q40-70. Crap, I’d rather have a Taurus SHO.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Problem is, MOST (not all) people relate V8 and RWD with luxury (Audi is the exception).

    GM and Chrysler learned that mistake in the 80’s and 90’s.

    Ford is learning that currently with the MKS, etc

    Acura is not in the same league as Lexus/Infiniti/Audi/etc. They are more in common with Buick or Lincoln.

    They need to produce a V8 powered car AWD is fine and it will sell. Until then, they are selling a tarted-up Honda and most people know this

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “They need to produce a V8 powered car AWD is fine and it will sell. Until then, they are selling a tarted-up Honda and most people know this”

      Uh no. The other thing that the armchair product planners love to trot out is the whole “tarted up Accord” line, without understanding that a tarted up Accord is EXACTLY WHAT MANY BUYERS IN THE $30k-40k RANGE WANT. They want a 4 door that drives like their Accord, looks a little nicer and more exclusive, is a little nicer inside, and has a slightly more prestigious label. That doesn’t win you sales in the $50k+ range, but like I said, if you want to win at $30-45k, it’s not a terrible strategy. It’s likely a better strategy than trying to downsize and decontent your higher-level offerings a la the Germans.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “They need to produce a V8 powered car AWD is fine and it will sell.”

      Disagree. The entire world is moving to smaller displacement engines, and CAFE requires cars sold in the US to do the same (like it or not). In the sub $60k price range there is no need for a V8, the market is not demanding it, and regulations will make it unusable.

      To design and produce an all new engine to be used in one trim line on one model in one market makes no sense. Honda can profitably leave the few US buyers demanding a V8 in a passenger sedan to other makers.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    It’s amazing how an otherwise reasonably competent automaker can fail THIS HARD for THIS LONG.

    I don’t buy the argument that “oh, MB and BMW own this segment, nobody else should even try.” While it’s true that Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, Infiniti, etc cannot match the volume of the big two in this class, they are still selling cars. Acura is not.

    The A6 and GS are quite good. The CTS and Q70 have their problems, but they are reasonably competent. The RLX is completely incompetent. It has nothing to do with a lack of V8, nobody buys the V8 option in this class anyway. Most of the mighty Es and 5s you’re going to see are going to be BASE engine cars.

    First, if you want to blame the drivetrain, blame the FWD. Who on earth wants to pay $50K+ for FWD? How many 9-5s did Saab sell? Because that’s the closest equivalent to this car. Good luck finding a non Quattro A6 on Audi dealer lots. Nobody wants those, and nobody wants this.

    Second, blame the interior design and layout. Acura’s idiot two-screen system is the worst in the industry. The RLX interior looks dull and downmarket, and the wood trim is FAKE. Stay classy Acura.

    The RLX is a loser not because MB and BMW are untouchable, but because it’s simply a lousy product and a horrible value. The depreciation on these things is as bad as a Volvo S80, so if you pay anything close to full price, you’re a sucker. This is a car designed to have $10K cash on the hood. The product planning and pricing is asinine.

    Honestly at this point Acura should just kill this thing off and be done with it already, this is just embarrassing.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The RLX’s problem begins and ends with the price. It’s a Lexus ES and Cadillac XTS (non-Vsport) competitor being sold at A6 and GS prices. It’s a better car than either the ES or the XTS, but at the price Acura’s trying to get no one cares.

    Lower the price $10,000 and you’d end the sales problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      For a while about a year ago Acura dealers were actually selling these for $10k off, and I came thisclose to buying one. Unfortunately, I waited a bit to see if the hybrid would show up, and by the time I realized it was vaporware, supply had fallen to meet demand, and the deals fell off with it.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Agreed. I suggested my mom cross shop an RLX when she was looking to replace her 2008 ES350, and she said “$50k? What does it do better than my Lexus?” After I couldn’t come up with much, she went right out and bought another new loaded-ish ES350, a 2013, for around $43k.

      FWIW, she’s one who does place a premium on FWD, as she lives in CT, drives in snow, and doesn’t want to pay extra for AWD or take the (slightly) lower mileage associated with it. Say what you want about this mentality, but it is not uncommon in New England.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The XTS starts at $45k for the base model with the Luxury trim (the most popular at around $50k).

      The Premium trim is $55/57k (FWD/AWD) and the Platinum trim is $62/64k.

      And yet, the XTS does 25k in volume with another Cadillac sedan, the CTS, in the same price segment.

      Pricing is not the issue for the RLX (considering the massive discounts).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Actually, I think the RLX’s main problem is simple: Lexus ES. The two cars are both big, V-6 powered FWD sedans and are about the same size (the RLX has a couple of extra inches of wheelbase and length). Both are based on far more plebian sedans.

    RLX price with technology package (nav and sunroof): $55000
    ES price with nav and sunroof: $41320

    Any questions?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Exactly. The FWD RLX at $45k base $50k loaded would be a decent competitor to the ES — it’s a bit nicer. But at $55k it’s just silly.

      The hybrid would make sense at $55-$60k… if it ever comes on the market in volume.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The RLX has been a dog with many quality issues. CR reports average reliability and below average owner satisfaction.

    http://acurazine.com/forums/problems-fixes-432/

    No wonder so few people buy them.

    The hybrid is a joke. The powerful V6 drives just the front wheels with wheel spin and torque steer and has an electric motor just to make sure, while the rear wheels each have an electric motor. No torque sharing between front and rear drivetrains as in regular SH-AWD to mitigate things.

    What were (are) they thinking?

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