Acura RLX Discontinued In North America For 2021

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 15, 2020

The luxury midsize sedan segment was dealt another blow recently, as Acura announced the RLX sedan won't be sold in North America after the 2020 model year, reports Automotive News. The automaker’s flagship vehicle will continue to be sold in other markets as the Honda Legend, but has reached the end of the line for our part of the world. The outlet claims the decision comes at a time when Acura is attempting to regroup itself around athletic sports sedans and crossovers.

“With SUVs leading the luxury market, the highly successful RDX and MDX now serve as volume leaders of the Acura brand,” the company told the outlet.”

The decision to pull the plug on the RLX isn’t surprising. Since 2015, the sedan hasn’t accounted for more than 2,000 units of sales. Last year, Acura only sold 1,019 units of the RLX. Both the compact ILX and midsize TLX fared much better last year, accounting for 14,685 and 26,548 units sold respectively. Sales for Acura’s trio of sedans, though, are minuscule compared to the RDX and MDX. In 2019, Acura sold 62,876 units of the RDX and 52,019 units of the MDX.

The RLX nameplate was introduced in 2014 as a replacement for the RL. Since then, the sedan hasn’t been completely redesigned, only receiving a mild-refresh in 2018. Besides its age and lack of redesigns, the RLX also faced strong competition from the more affordable TLX that’s similar in size. Interestingly, the RLX was more expensive than the majority of its rivals, too, carrying a larger price tag than the Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and BMW 5-Series. The Audi A6 costs just much as the RLX.

Acura RLX

While SUVs and crossovers have made midsize sedans tougher for automakers to sell, the RLX was well behind competitors in terms of sales. Last year, BMW sold 38,709 units of its 5-Series, Audi sold 17,807 units of the A6 sedan, Lexus sold 51,336 units of the ES, and Mercedes-Benz shifted 40,114 units of the E-Class and CLS-Class combined. With those kinds of numbers, the RLX just couldn’t compete.

Now that the RLX is gone, Acura “will further strengthen our sports sedans, consistent with the performance-focused direction we have been taking Acura over the past four years,” Acura told Auto News.

The outlet claims that Acura is currently looking to significantly update four of its models: the ILX, TLX, MDX, and RDX. The process started with the RDX two years ago when the redesigned SUV was introduced. An updated version of the TLX and MDX are expected to arrive later this year.

Acura isn’t the only automaker to discontinue one of its luxury sedans recently. Lexus recently decided to kill the midsize GS sedan after the 2020 model year. That vehicle also isn't popular when it comes to sales, only accounting for 3,378 units sold in 2019. Interestingly, Lexus, just like Acura, chose to sell two midsize sedans simultaneously: the GS and ES. The ES was the more popular option of the two and will continue into 2021.

Two deaths in the midsize luxury segment may seem like a trend, but it’s unlikely that other automakers will kill off their options in the near future. For the most part, vehicles in the class are doing relatively well – just not as well as similarly priced as SUVs and crossovers. For Lexus and Acura, both brands have two options in the segment, so they had wiggle room to discontinue the least popular choice. That’s not the case with other automakers.

Explore the Acura lineup »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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