Acura Buyer Perception
Acura is one of the most popular luxury car brands in America. In examining the purchasing journey of prospective Acura owners, it is important to hone in on a general customer demographic and psychological profile. While these indicators will differ from model to model, an overarching theme can be gleaned, as outlined below.
Primary Customer Drivers
- In examining primary customer drivers, it is vital to explore the primary demographics served by Acura. While no data could be located on brand-wide demographics, there is information according to specific car models. The Acura TLX model appeals predominantly to married men, aged 35-38, with annual household incomes of $110,000 to $140,000.
- Meanwhile, the Acura RDX model attracts predominantly married couples in their early 30s, with no kids and/or expecting their first child, with annual household incomes of $125,000 or greater.
- The Acura MDX model, on the other hand, attracts predominantly college-graduated, married females in their late 30s or 40s with multiple children and a combined household income of $175,000 or greater. It can be inferred that this model is most popular among well-to-do, professional mothers that want a safe, reliable, and good-looking vehicle to transport their families.
- Overall, it can be inferred that Acura appeals to married individuals (male or female, depending on the model) in their 30s and 40s, with higher than average household incomes.
Alternative Brand Considerations
- Acura is in the luxury vehicle sector of the automobile market. As such, its primary competitors are BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, Infiniti and Lincoln.
- In 2019, Acura ranks as the 7th most-purchased luxury car brand in the United States, with 158,934 units sold.
- Acura has sold fewer units in 2019 than Mercedes (353,183), BMW (311,014), Lexus (298,302), Audi (220,737), Buick (207,223) and Tesla (197,517). However, Acura has sold more units than Cadillac (153,863), Infiniti (149,280) and Lincoln (103,584).
Calls to Action
- Acura has found success in appealing to younger generations with "freewheeling" imagery. The TLX 2018 model was coupled with an advertising push emphasizing optimism and exhilaration, with a tagline of, "What a Ride".
- More recently, in 2019, Acura developed its "Less talk, more drive" campaign. This campaign seeks to place more emphasis on the "driving experience" of Acura. In this, Acura has decidedly taken a step back from merely focusing on its precision engineering, and more towards how a customer's life will be directly benefited with a rewarding driving experience.
- While the research team was unable to triangulate which marketing campaigns were the most successful, sales data does provide a clearer picture. Acura has its highest sales number since 2006 in 2015 (177,165), before dipping in 2016 and 2017. During 2015, Acura ran its biggest ad campaign to date, centered around "My Way", by Frank Sinatra, emphasizing individualistic allure.
- Sales increased in 2018 to 158,934 units, when Acura's "What a Ride" campaign was launched. So far in 2019, Acura has sold 126,770 units, down from 128,107 units at the same time in 2018.
- Overall, the "My Way" imagery of 2015 seems to have played a role in boosting sales. The boost in 2018 can likewise be partially attributed to the "What a Ride" campaign. Overall, the most appealing calls-to-action can be inferred to include appeals to driving experience and individualism.
In order to determine the primary motivating factors of Acura buyers, the research team first consulted Acura's listed key demographics for various models -- namely, the TLX, RDX, and MDX. From that point, the research team compiled sales data from competitor luxury car brands to triangulate the most popular alternative car brands for customers. Finally, the research team examined formally reported sales data in conjunction with advertising campaigns to determine the most effective calls to action.