Why The Acura ILX Has Been Slow Out Of The GateS

Oh, Acura ILX. I had such high (well, moderate) hopes for you. You're pretty boring in the looks department like all modern Acuras, but you have Civic Si guts. I was hoping you'd hail a return to the sporty Acuras of my youth. But as Honda will readily admit, the ILX has been struggling at launch.

Mark Rechtin over at Automotive News has the scoop on the new baby Acura, and he explains that only 91 ILXs were built in March.

There's actually a very valid reason for this, though: the ILX is built at the same Greensburg, Indiana plant where the Honda Civic is built. They have dialed back ILX production to focus on Civics there for a period after some 15,000 ILXs were built last fall.

So that's why so few were built in March. Makes sense. At the same time, Honda says that the ILX hasn't exactly set the world on fire like they expected:

American Honda executives have admitted the ILX has not had the strongest launch. They acknowledge that the base 2.0-liter engine is a bit underpowered, and only offering a stick shift on the improved 2.4-liter engine has deterred shoppers.

Still, once the ILX got its balance, the car has run near a pretty steady 2,000 sales a month, a bit shy of its projected sales rate. Inventories are a little high, about 90 days. But neither result is anything to cry over for a new entry still finding its way.

The base 150-horsepower 2.0-liter four isn't exactly what people want when they're buying a $30,000 luxury sedan, although the Civic Si-sourced 2.4-liter engine is a bit better at 201 horsepower. But as the story notes, people are scared off by the fact that that version only has a manual transmission.

Great. Honda tries to give us a sporty Acura, and people are scared off by a stick shift. Way to suck, buyers.

The AN story seems to hint that some changes are in store for the 2014 ILX, so maybe people will warm up to it more in the coming months.