Acura is so confident of its strong position in crossovers that it believes it will further expand in the U.S. market, according to Acura General Manager Mike Accavitti. When it comes to overall sales, Acura (Honda’s upmarket marque) trails behind Lexus and Germany’s luxury brands. However, sales of Acura’s crossovers (including the compact RDX and midsize MDX) are substantially higher than those from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
In 2014, Acura did better than Lexus in total compact/midsize crossover sales. So far though, Lexus is leading this year. When interviewed at the newly held New York auto show, Accavitti said that the U.S. is skewing towards light trucks and that Acura is building out from its solid core of vehicles.
During the first three months of 2015, Acura sold 25,799 units of the RDX and MDX – beating out the 17,757 units sold for the BMW X3 and X5, the 16,140 units sold of Mercedes' GLK and M class, and the 12,806 total of Audi's Q5 and Q7.
The topseller for the quarter is Lexus, which sold 31,347 compact and midsize crossovers, including its RX and NX. This month, Acura will be introducing a refreshed RDX that will be sold as a 2016 model.
With this launch, Acura hopes to keep its lead against the Germans. Acura has updated the styling of the new compact and has given it some modest increases in horsepower and torque. It will be available with a new "advanced" trim level that features adaptive cruise control and automated braking.
Acura also launched the 2016 MDX early in February. Acura is optimistic that with its strength in crossovers, it will result to a higher profile in the luxury sedan business. Accavitti pledged that in going forward, the brand will focus more on performance – evident in how it handled the 2016 ILX entry sedan.
This new model is now powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, replacing the 2.0-liter. It also features an eight-speed transmission – an upgrade from a six-speed. However, it has maintained a starting price of under $29,000, including shipping costs.
Accavitti said that to convince premium-car buyers, Acura is putting the emphasis on the "tremendous value on a luxury scale" that its vehicles offer. He said that buyers have veered away from German brands that are far more expensive and have high maintenance bills.