Acura's new TL sedan replacement coming next summer should give a boost to Acura's sluggish sedan sales, a big priority for the brand's dealers.
This summer the venerable TL sedan gets replaced by the TLX, a sedan based on the current Honda Accord's underpinnings that is smaller than the current TL.
Art Wright, owner of Lehigh Valley Acura in Emmaus, Pa., and chairman of the Acura Dealer Advisory Board, says the TLX will have four-cylinder and V-6 options, and all-wheel-drive will be available. Only V-6s are available on the TL.
Wright says the powertrain choices should help the sedan appeal to both TL shoppers and consumers who would have shopped for the TSX, which will be phased out after the TLX goes on sale.
"We think it's going to have a broad appeal, which we think is really good from the standpoint of a customer will now be able to come into our brand on the ILX, move to a TLX, and they'll be able to move up within the TLX before going to the RLX," Wright said. "We think that's a pretty good plan."
Boosting the brand's sedan sales is a priority for Acura dealers in 2014, Wright says. Acura's MDX mid-sized and RDX compact crossovers combined to fuel a 21 percent increase in Acura truck sales last year, driving the brand to a 6 percent overall sales increase to 165,436 units in 2013 despite a 10 percent drop in car sales.
"They got a little bit too conservative, and the evolution of the cars didn't progress as much as they should have," Wright said. "I just think they have to be a little more progressive in their styling, and they have to diversify their powertrains."
Acura will have new German company in the $30,000-and-up price range when the Audi A3 goes on sale this spring, joining the Mercedes-Benz CLA that debuted last fall. Wright says new competition will be a challenge but also could be a positive thing for Acura dealers.
Said Wright: "It is making $30,000 a point where it's acceptable for a luxury brand to be."