Some of the tension in the RDX redesign came from taking it in a more youthful direction without alienating the existing customer base for a vehicle that was already selling well, at around 50,000 a year in 2015-17.
"What we're doing now actually was a risk because this was one of our sales pillars," said St. Cyr, who assumed his current role in April after seven years as president of Honda Performance Development, the racing arm of American Honda. The goal was to take on the best in the segment — BMW, Mercedes, Volvo and Audi — rather than just be another value-oriented luxury marque. "We are looking to use this vehicle as a platform to raise the image and really be the flag-bearer of what Acura is striving to be."
A year out, Acura executives said that record sales of the RDX prove that the rest of the brand is headed in the right direction as they move forward on the next generation of the MDX three-row crossover, the TLX midsize sedan and the compact ILX entry-level sedan.
"By all metrics, this has been a resounding success for us," said St. Cyr. "It has resonated with the customer base that we're going after, and not only that but it's been very impactful to our dealers."
Since June of last year, the RDX has notched 12 straight months of sales growth before last month's double-digit decline. Its performance in 2018 helped propel the crossover to a record 2018 at 63,580 units — a 24 percent jump from a year earlier. It came in at second place in the highly competitive segment, outselling the Lexus NX and BMW X3, and just behind the Mercedes GLC. This year, it's in third place, now behind the X3.
Reviewers have praised the RDX as a good value for its upscale interior and performance chops compared with its pricier rivals.
In the first six months of this year, RDX sales are up 11 percent, and the nameplate has helped keep Acura's sales in the black: a 1.5 percent gain.
The redesigned crossover also gets credit for significantly raising its scores in the National Automobile Dealers Association's Dealer Attitude Survey measuring brands' value and future value, going from well below the luxury average to just above it. The same is true for product, going from below average to average, and climbing month by month, St. Cyr said. RDX buyers are more affluent, younger and more likely to be single than for the previous generation — all positive indicators for the future of the brand.