Acura’s sales in August were down a little under half of what they were in the same month last year, the automaker said Thursday, which is terrible by any measure but with which Acura also had a perfectly fine excuse. Didn’t you know it but the supply chain is a real mess right now, they say. Just one model did all right in August, while sales were down across the board for the rest.
That model is the car you see above, the new Integra, of which 1,573 were sold in the 26 selling days in August. That is 1,573 more Integras than were sold last August, when the Integra wasn’t sold at all.
Most interesting, though, is a different fact: the fact that, according to Acura, “over 70 percent” of Integra buyers are “conquest,” which is a business speak way to say that over 70 percent of Integra buyers owned a car other than an Acura before they bought their Integra. (That, at least, is the generally understood meaning of the word conquest in this context, though I emailed Acura to get their version. A spokesperson said, “Our own internal customer data allows us to track returning customers. In the case of the new Integra, more than 70% of sales are either new to the Acura brand, or conquested from another manufacturer.”)
This is the kind of stat that raises eyebrows among automakers, because that is an auto executive’s dream: producing a car that is so undeniable it attracts customers loyal to other brands, brand loyalty being a powerful force in cars. According to JD Power, for example, 45.3 percent of Acura buyers stuck with Acura last year, good enough for sixth place among luxury automakers, and also not far off from first place Lexus, which had 51.6 percent of their customers stick with them. If any of the Integra buyers are coming from Lexus or any of the other marques whose brand loyalty is better than Acura — Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi — that would be all the more valuable.
The Integra is also not close to being Acura’s best-selling car; that would be the MDX, 3,368 of which sold in August. But the Integra is significant, accounting for about 20 percent of Acura’s total sales in August. It could all, too, simply be enthusiasm for the first new Integra in more than a decade, nostalgists who drifted to other brands and have now come roaring back. You would expect that effect to be relatively short-term.
Or maybe the new Integra really is that good, and relatively affordable luxury, too, starting at $30,800, which is less than you’ll pay for a Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Lexus, or Audi. Acura would probably tell you that there’s only one way to find out.