Can this brand ever learn to be cool again?
Acura really hasn't been on the good side of many enthusiasts in recent years. The company has killed off all its manual models and has moved to a very conservative design language. Acura may finally be realizing its mistake because according to Automotive News, it will add an enthusiast-oriented A-Spec variant to the TLX lineup. We recently had a chance to look at the TLX and found that it would be a better alternative to a top-trim Ford Fusion, not a BMW 3 Series. Acura hopes that it can have a sales increase in 2017 after a decrease in 2016.
In 2016, Acura sales decreased by 8.9 percent, but dealers are optimistic that a new ad campaign can help bring sales up this year. The MDX continues to do very well, which is no surprise given the popularity of crossovers right now. TLX sales dropped by 21 percent to 37,156 units in 2016. The updated 2018 TLX will carry over the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter six-cylinder engines, although the new model will not have styling differences to set them apart. The enthusiast A-Spec trim package will come with sportier wheels, a rear lip spoiler and unique front and rear bumpers, but sadly no power increases. This seems like a missed opportunity for Acura to reintroduce the Type S as a sporty model.
A Type S model could help Acura with the big problems its been having with the NSX. The hybrid supercar has not had the halo effect that normally helps sell other cars in the lineup, and perhaps that's a result of the NSX not sharing anything with its Acura siblings. Acura has tried to show that its other models have NSX technology, but it's proving a hard sell. One owner of an Acura dealer who also owns a Lexus franchise noted that Acura has done no marketing to highlight the NSX's involvement at the Rolex 24 racing event, but Lexus has plenty of marketing material about its involvement. It seems like Acura has forgotten how to be fun, which could be bad news for future sales.