Acura had high hopes for its newest gateway vehicle, the 2013 ILX sedan, which was introduced at last year’s Detroit Auto Show. The idea behind its creation seemed logical enough: by basing an Acura model on the Honda Civic, the automaker could lower the price of entry and attract a younger, hipper audience to the brand.
Word was that the ILX could even replace the aging and slightly larger TSX, but that’s not what actually happened. As Wards Auto reports, Acura sold just 12,251 ILX sedans last year, far short of its 30,000 unit sales goal. To really put that number in perspective, Acura sold 28,865 TSX sedans last year, over twice the ILX’s volume.
Perhaps Honda is once bitten, twice shy, but the automaker has clearly learned from the mistakes made with the last generation Civic. Instead of denying that there was a problem with the ILX, Acura went straight to the source and solicited consumer feedback.
The results weren’t all that surprising. Consumers found the standard ILX, which uses the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in the Honda Civic, to be underpowered. They liked the 2.4-liter engine, shared with the Civic Si, but they wanted it mated to an automatic instead of just a six-speed manual.
According to American Honda president John Mendel, engineers are now working towards giving consumers just that, though no time-to-market estimate has been given for a 2.4-liter automatic transmission ILX. Mendel promises some “value enhancements” for the car as well, which sounds to us like a reshuffling of standard features.
If there’s a silver lining to this particular dark cloud, it’s this: ILX sales are on the rise, and in December it outsold both the TSX and the TL. By making a few (hopefully) simple changes, the ILX may well hit its stride in 2013, becoming the success that Acura needs it to be.