Last month, Acura showcased the new Acura ILX premium entry-level sedan at the 2014 LA Auto Show. However, the new ILX actually followed in the footsteps of Acura’s new mid-size sedan, the Acura TLX, which combined the Acura TL and TSX earlier this year. The new Acura TLX has been on sale for a full two months now, and in that time it’s become Acura’s second best-selling vehicle in their lineup.
While two months isn’t very much to go on, and there’s no doubt that some of those sales are due to new car hype, this is still an encouraging accomplishment for Honda’s premium brand. The new TLX was Acura’s first step in reviving their brand name to become competitive with the premium European giants like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, and high sales is a universally good sign.
This becomes a much bigger surprise when you hear that the TLX is apparently beating out European competitors based on raw driving dynamics, in addition to the superior price : performance ratio. According to automotive news, dealers have reported that customers continue to come back to the new TLX even after testing other European models, chiefly because of the new TLX’s on-road performance.
To get a picture of just how desperate Acura has been for a decent premium sedan, we can learn a lot from an interview between Automotive News and an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer.
“Acura hasn’t had a compelling sedan for a decade,” Brauer explained. “The TL [sedan] that debuted in 2004 was great, but every sedan from Acura since then failed to resonate with luxury sedan buyers, until now.”
Acura’s general manager, Mike Accavitti, shared a similar sentiment about Acura’s position and how to improve it. “Regaining leadership in the midsize sedan segment in particular is critical for improving Acura’s image. To really drive prestige for a luxury brand, you do it through the midsize market.”
Of course, the progressive marketing for the new Acura TLX must also be commended. The “It’s That Kind of Thrill” online campaign received a full 1/3 of Acura’s marketing budget for the new mid-size sedan. With results like these, a higher priority on digital marketing can be expected for all future Acura models, which is certainly a good direction to move in.
Ultimately, though, the biggest distinction between the Acura TLX and all of the other sedans that Honda’s premium sub-brand have launched in the past decade is that the TLX actually does what it claims it will do.
In other words, the TLX isn’t the absolute fastest premium car, and Acura is fine with that because it’s extremely fun and reliable to drive, and it has a spacious, high-quality interior with an overall pleasing design that’s easy on the eyes. Only time will tell just how much mileage Acura can get out of their new sedan, but we’re betting things will only get better from here, especially with the new ILX coming in the TLX’s successful footsteps.