Why is Acura not Popular?

Acura is the premium, “high value” vehicle division of the extremely popular Japanese automaker Honda. The brand was founded 35 years ago in 1986 as a division of Honda that would produce higher-performance premium vehicles than the average vehicles the company manufactures. 

Over the years, the brand has built up a reputation for being good quality, reliable cars. Though Acura seems to be on par with its competitors, at least on the surface, many consumers have noticed that the brand seems to be less popular or that they themselves have a less favorable opinion of Acura. 

In this article, we’ll be going over all the reasons why Acura is a less popular brand than its competitors. If you’ve always wondered why Acura is not popular, keep reading!

Acura not popular? How come?

Outdated technology, competitive alternatives such as Lexus, boring designs, limited selections, and not being a leader for innovation allowed Acura to slip in popularity among its auto peers. Sticking with premium, middle-tier service and development will not move the market in the 21st century.

Before we get into the brand’s popularity and the reasons why Acura is not popular, let’s take a look at what they stand for as a company and some of the vehicles they offer. Acura is actually the first Japanese luxury automotive brand, and the company is generally known for valuing quality over flashy features. 

In essence, Acura is marketed towards people who are interested in the safety and quality of a luxury or premium vehicle combined with a more practical price and appearance. Some of the main vehicles the Acura brand currently offers include:

  • ILX – compact sport sedan 
  • TLX – sport sedan 
  • RDX – sport crossover 
  • Acura MDX –  performance SUV 
  • Acura NSX – an expensive supercar

According to Acura, their brand is a place “where wild ideas are born, and radical concepts come screaming to life.” While this is a nice statement, it doesn’t seem to match up with the way that the car community seems to view the brand. The foundation seems to be laid for Acura to be a popular choice for auto enthusiasts who want to combine luxury with practicality, but this isn’t the case at all. It isn’t down to just one fatal design flaw, either. There are a variety of reasons that Acura is not as popular of a brand as its competitors.

Marketing and Design

One of the main reasons when discussing Acura’s lack of popularity as a brand is that they have boring marketing and design. It might seem frivolous that something such as marketing and design would affect the popularity of a car, but it makes sense that people are more inclined to purchase a vehicle that they’re familiar with and seems appealing to them. Many people just think Acura cars are boring, plainly stating the obvious.

Since there are other brands such as Lexus geared towards the same demographic with better marketing and designs, it makes it difficult for Acura to compete.

Another company that suffers the same issues are the cheap Kia Stingers. Great direction but for the 21st century, it did not capture its audience well.

Contrast that experience with the cheap Corvette— they have excellent marketing with a product that customers are satisfied and looking forward to.

Competitors are Better

The issue of Acura competing with other brands is actually another one of the main reasons that the luxury vehicle brand is not popular. 

Acura’s main challenge for its unpopularity is whether or not it can attract its customers. For instance, Lexus is considered the main competitor for Acura, as it serves the same luxury branding purposes within the Toyota company as Acura does for Honda. 

In most cases, though, Lexus is considered to be a more desirable car to buy than Acura. With both Toyota and Honda as companies have an excellent track record for safety and quality, Lexus often wins out over Acura for a few different reasons, including:

  • Better Reliability – Lexus vehicles have a reliability score of 4.5 out of 5, while Acura’s range from 2.5 to 3.5 out of 5
  • Fuel Economy – Lexus cars average 27.9 miles per gallon, while Acura averages 26 miles per gallon
  • More Options – Lexus has a wider range of vehicles than Acura does, and their vehicles in each class tend to be rated higher on average

Overall, though Lexus and Acura seem to be similar brands with similar price points, it’s easy to see why a consumer would probably choose a Lexus over an Acura. Because Lexus vehicles are more reliable and have a better fuel economy, they are less expensive to maintain over time. The wider range of vehicles offered means that the average consumer is more likely to find the exact type of vehicle that they were looking for. 

Variety of Choices

It seems that one of the most prominent reasons why Acura is not popular is due to the variety of choices that other brands like Lexus offers. In fact, Acura’s parent company, Honda, offers a much wider range of vehicles. Since so much of Acura’s market encompasses individuals interested in buying a practical car, many people just decide to go for a Honda instead since they’re cheaper. 

In addition to that, the various cars offered by Acura are virtually indistinguishable from each other in the view of the average consumer. If you take a look at the list of Acura’s main vehicles we talked about earlier, it’s easy to see why. While Acura makes cars that are very different from each other, all the way from a compact sports sedan to a supercar, the names of all of the vehicles have the same bland naming structure. Considering many other luxury car brands and supercars put a lot of effort into creating unique names and stories for their vehicles, it’s easy for Acura’s ‘NSX’ supercar to pale in comparison before consumers even know about its features; a different comparison when you talk about the Nissan GTR supercar.

Simply put, companies with a wider range of vehicles and more customizable choices are more likely to appeal to a wider range of buyers.

The Technology Isn’t All There

Another one of the main reasons that Acura is not popular is because their technological advances haven’t been nearly as impressive as other brands.

Acura’s website puts a lot of emphasis on their use of “driver-first technology,” which they say makes their vehicles safe and convenient to drive. 

While Acura branded cars do offer some advanced safety features, like the AcuraWatch driver assistance system, other brands like Lexus and Infiniti have extremely similar features in their vehicles.

One of the reasons for this is because Acura was actually the first premium division of one of these Japanese automakers: Lexus and Infiniti didn’t come out until three years after the Acura. 

This means that throughout the brand’s life, Lexus and Infiniti have had a head start, as they can see how consumers respond to Acura’s new features and technologies ahead of time. As a result, Acura hasn’t been able to keep up with all of the technological advancements over the years and has earned a reputation for being unexciting and out of date.

Acura’s problems with keeping up with technological advancements started when Lexus and Infiniti were founded, but they are still apparent in the vehicles they’re releasing today.

While the brand seemed to initially have some interesting ideas, the vehicles they’ve released over the past ten years or so seem to showcase the same ‘innovations’ every time.

Since the auto industry revolves so much around auto shows, concept vehicles, and new technology, it sticks out like a sore thumb when a brand like Acura continues to produce perfectly acceptable but ultimately boring cars. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, while Acura is a perfectly fine premium auto brand and certain models of their vehicles may be a great fit for some consumers, the brand isn’t as popular because it lacks the features and variety offered by other automobile brands.

While the Acura is high-quality and lower in price than many other luxury or premium vehicles, there are simply more desirable cars out there for a similar price. 

Acura is still relatively young as far as automakers go at only 35 years old, and it seems that if they put some effort into rebranding their company, they can still capture a good audience for your product line.

If Acura were able to combine their high safety and reliability ratings with exciting marketing and cool new technology for their vehicles, they just might be able to compete with Lexus and the other big-name premium brands. 

When you want to withstand the test of time, vintage cars like the best Ford Thunderbirds or the best Barracuda cars should allow you to understand why both marketing and a superior product design is vital to get ahead and be a leader in to audomotive industry.

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