Acura's flagship luxury sedan is being axed.
While the all-new Acura TLX will go on sale for the 2021 model year and spawn a hot Type S variant, the future isn't looking so bright for the Acura RLX luxury sedan. According to Automotive News, Acura is axing the RLX after the 2020 model year to allow the automaker to focus on performance sedans and lucrative crossovers.
It's one of many luxury sedans that have been discontinued in favor of crossovers recently, such as the Lexus GS. The luxury Acura RLX sedan debuted for the 2014 model year and was given an extensive refresh for the 2018 model year, but failed to stand out against its German competitors such as the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.
American Honda told US dealers the RLX will no longer be imported from Japan, where it's sold as the Honda Legend. However, the Honda Legend will still be sold in Japan and other markets. "With SUVs leading the luxury market, the highly successful RDX and MDX now serve as volume leaders of the Acura brand," American Honda said. "At the same time, we will further strengthen our sports sedans, consistent with the performance-focused direction we have been taking Acura over the past four years."
The demise of the RLX in the US isn't surprising when you look at the grim sales numbers. Last year, Acura sold just 1,000 units in the US and has only sold 267 so far this year, so it would have been difficult to justify keeping it on sale. By comparison, Acura sold 62,876 RLX crossovers last year. The Acura RLX starts at $55,925 including destination charges but has been heavily discounted to try and boost sales.
After launching the redesigned RDX, Acura will now focus on launching the all-new TLX and the three-row MDX this year. Its demise means the TLX will become Acura's new flagship sedan. "We will soon reveal an all-new 2021 Acura TLX that exemplifies this direction, assuming an elevated position in our lineup as the quickest, best-handling and most well-appointed Acura sedan yet," American Honda said.