Report: Acura Hopes New ILX Helps Boost Sales By 46 Percent

#Acura, #ILX

New and refreshed vehicles, including the new 2013 ILX sedan, will help attract younger buyers to the Acura brand -- and boost its overall sales. Automotive News reports that Acura plans to focus on "Generation Y" buyers in a bid to boost sales by as much as 46 percent in 2012.

Acura had previously eliminated its sporty entry-level car, the RSX, which had replaced the Integra, in a bid to move the brand upmarket. That move failed when the credit crunch hit, causing customers to be more prudent and careful with their car purchases. However, Acura hopes its all-new ILX sedan will appeal to younger, more rational buyers who want a taste of the luxury-car segment.

"People are making more rational purchase decisions, taking pride in the deal they strike," Acura general manager Jeff Conrad told Automotive News. "Generation Y [buyers aged 19 to 31] aspires to luxury, but they need a little help getting there."

Many of those customers will be drawn to the ILX sedan, which will reportedly be priced around $27,000. Acura expects to sell 40,000 units of the ILX, and expects total 2012 sales of 180,000 cars. Last year, Acura sold a total of 123,299 vehicles here, down 8.0 percent compared to 2010. The company's volumes were hurt by supply disruptions in the wake of Japan's earthquake; without the natural disaster, Acura believes it would have sold 150,000 cars in 2011.

Following on the launch of the ILX, Acura also will launch redesigned versions of the TL sedan and MDX crossover for 2013. Acura also already has 3500 buyers whom are interested in the all-new 2013 RDX.

"We're remaking the entire lineup over the next few years," Conrad explained. "We've had a pretty strong reliance on sport-utilities and we want to bolster our sedans."

Acura also must work on winning and keeping loyal customers. The brand's loyalty rate is reportedly only 45 percent, below the 49-percent industry average. However, the age of the company's average buyer is below that of competing brands.

To help draw in younger Generation Y buyers, Acura will focus on a few key areas coveted by those buyers: environmental responsibility, attractive styling, and in-car technologies like Bluetooth and Internet radio.

Source: Automotive News

Evironmental responsibility is fine but to most car buyers value, attractive styling, features and performance would have priority over environmental responsibility. That said the ILX styling is not what I would deem attractive styling (Acura needs to abandon the "Keen edge" styling completely and hire new designers as it don't find its interiors or exteriors to be particularly attractive. I'd be surprised of the ILX sells 40,000 units as it is basically an overpriced Civic (with the Civic's underwhelming 5 speed automatics and carryover Honda engines). To make matters Acura foolishly chose to delete the LSD in 2.4 liter which is the only engine that will offer any "performance".
Reminds me of the Cadillac Cimerron. A rebadged entry level sedan (Honda Civic) with a few bells and whistles added. The base model is using the same engine as the RSX from a decade ago, the other engine options are directly from the civic line. The styling is nice but not worth the extra 5K over a loaded civic EX. I think it will still sell well, especially initially, but not like the old RSX.
Once again, I think Acura will miss the target on this one. They need to channel the "fun" aspect of Generation Y, and a few Xs,and some babyboomers as well. Bring back to RSX's youthfulness. Go after the Genesis Coupe, Mustang, WRX, GTI, Focus ST crowd, but with a backseat. Change the front grill, drop a 300 hp motor in it, lighten up the dash, and add some fun. It should be thought of as a entry level NSX rather than an upscale Civic. The ILX is what the Civic should have been. Moreover, drop the hybrid -- version. If BMW can make a 3 series that gets in the mid-30s, a hybrid system in a sports sedan does not make much sense.
At 1st glance, that seems like a pretty big increase but when you remember that last year had all the natural disasters that hindered Acura's sales, this might be doable. The ILX does seem to be a bit too much on the downmarket side -- even the 1st generation had leather, HIDs & more standard.

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