Acura was founded in 1986 as Honda’s luxury vehicle division, so it is relatively new compared to many of today’s car brands. It is Japan’s first luxury car brand, and although its headquarters are in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, its principal markets are the USA and Canada. Acura focuses on producing luxury and performance cars and SUVs.
The creation of the Acura luxury car brand was prompted by voluntary export restrictions that were imposed on Japan by the U.S. government during the early 1980s. During that time, the U.S. government felt threatened by the growing popularity of cheaper, more reliable, and more fuel-efficient Japanese cars in the USA and imposed these voluntary export restrictions. These restrictions limited the number of vehicles that Japan could export to the USA to 1.68 million vehicles. These export restrictions were effective between 1981 and 1994. To maximize their profits in the USA, Honda opted to offer pricier, more luxurious vehicles in that market, and it was decided that the best way to go about it was to establish a separate luxury car brand.
The name “Acura” was derived from the word “acu”, a Latin word that meant “done with precision”. The Acura brand was officially launched on 27 March 1986 in the USA and Canada. The Acura logo came a little later in 1990. It was stylized “A” that initially did not have the small horizontal bar between the two vertical bars. The logo badges started being produced without the official approval of Soichiro Honda, Honda’s founder. When he learnt about it, Soichiro ordered the destruction of all 5,000 Acura badges that had already been produced, including 309 of them that had already been imprinted on various Acura models. He then instructed the inclusion of the small horizontal bar between the two vertical bars.
The oil crisis of the 1970s had changed the automotive industry. In the early 1980s, car buyers were no longer looking for large, highly-priced, and gas-guzzling cars as they were in the ‘60s; instead, they were looking for cheaper, more reliable, and more fuel-efficient cars. With its Legend executive car and its Integra compact sports car offerings, Acura gave the North American market all the above plus luxurious appointments and pleasing driving dynamics. As a result, Acura was an instant success. By the time of Acura’s official launch, Honda had opened 60 new Acura dealerships across the country, and after just one year, Acura had sold 52,869 vehicles and had opened 150 dealerships.
In 1990, Honda further cemented the dominance of the Acura brand by introducing the Acura NSX 2-seater, mid-engine sports car. It was the first all-aluminum mass-production car, and it was driven by a potent V6 engine that incorporated Honda’s fuel-saving VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system. The 1st generation NSX was and still is referred to as an “everyday supercar” because unlike many of the supercars on the day, it was reliable, practical, and fuel-efficient. The 2nd-generation NSX that debuted in 2016 is even better. It is driven by an advanced, 573-horsepower hybrid powertrain that pairs a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 gas engine with three electric motors.
Today, Acura’s line of luxury cars and SUVs includes the ILX subcompact executive car, the TLX compact executive car, the RLX midsize executive car, the China-specific CDX subcompact luxury crossover, the RDX compact luxury crossover, the 3-row MDX midsize luxury crossover, and the NSX supercar.
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