Disappointing sales are pushing Acura to rethink its entry-level ILX sedan with the goal of shedding its “near luxury” image.
It’s a problem Acura has struggled with for years and enough to hold the brand back from competing on the same level as BMW, Mercedes and the like. Now it seems the maker is preparing to tweak the ILX with less than a year of sales under its belt.
Built in the same factory as the Hond Civic, it’s hard not to see parallells between this and the brand’s reactionary strategy toward competing with cars like the Hyundai Elantra. The biggest difference is that Honda has long been the big player in the compacy economy car market while Acura trails other luxury brands in sales and appeal.
“(The ILX is) not hitting our sales expectations,” American Honda president John Mendel said to reporters at the L.A. Auto Show last November. “Consumers have told us they like the 2.4L and they wish they had an automatic, but they say the midrange vehicle is underpowered and they don’t see the value in it.”
As much of a misstep as choosing not to offer an automatic with the 2.4-liter engined car was, it isn’t the only soft spot to poke at in Acura’s strategy.
It was meant to be seen as the sportier version but customers opting for the reasonably powered gas car are also restricted from picking the tech package, which adds navigation. Given that, it’s hard to think Acura even wanted to sell the 2.4-liter engine in the ILX.
Fancying itself the shepherd, it seems like Acura is humbled into realizing that it’s more of a sheep to its customers.
Mendel hasn’t specified exact tweaks to the ILX yet, but if the Civic is any indication, the car will likely come loaded with far more tech goodies in the near future.
More: Acura ILX to be Tweaked for Better Value on AutoGuide.com