History of Acura

by : John Walker

The birth of a legend called Acura
1986 was a watershed year for the automobile industry. This was when Honda, one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers, introduced a division that would exclusively manufacture luxury cars. This enterprise, the result of ten years of research, was named Acura. Automobile luxury has never been the same ever since. This was the first ever luxury automobile from Japan. Through its introductory models, the Legend and the Integra that were sold and serviced through 60 dealerships spread across North America and 18 states in the US, Acura brand had heralded the arrival of a pioneering brand. Acura's history makes interesting reading, because it is a history of success and innovation.

Making a habit of earning accolades
had arrived with a bang, in a fashion befitting Honda. In just a year of its launch, the cars that had promised a heady mix of technological innovation; luxury and eye-catching design had won laurels. The first pages of Acura's history were being written. The four-door Acura Legend coupe, the first Acura model to introduce an airbag, was chosen as the Import Car of the Year for 1987; the Integra figured in that year's Ten Best List. With its three and five door models, the Integra had consumers in North America falling over each other to buy a piece of this technological marvel.

By 1988, the Legend had become the best selling imported luxury model in the US for the second year in a row, while the Integra won the International Sedan Championship. In 1992, JD Power and Associates Vehicle Performance Index gave the Acura the "Best Overall Car Line" title, while in the following year, the Legend continued its legendary run as the best selling import make for the sixth consecutive year.

Changing entrenched perceptions...for good, and forever
This brand's entry into the market was earth-shaking. So profound was the entry of Honda's luxury division that it shook the automobile market like few other innovations had done earlier; more than anything else, it showed that a Japanese brand too, was capable of competing with European and American brands when it came to luxury automobiles. It permanently altered the image of Japanese cars being models that were economical and targeted at the lower middle income consumer. Acura's history was now firmly in place.

Leading the way
Taking a cue from it, other big names such as Toyota and Nissan launched their own luxury divisions. All the luxury Japanese brands we see on our roads today are the result of the bold step Honda took all those years back. Many features such as Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD); Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) are entirely owed to Acura.

More innovations; more awards
The tradition of innovating and, with it, winning awards, continued unabated. The next wave to hit the market was the NSX Coupe in 1990. Short for "New Sports Experiment", this was another first from Acura -it was the world's first all-aluminum automobile, and the first automobile brand to integrate luxury and reliability into a sports car. It lived up to its name fully, being new in every sense of the term.

Not surprisingly, it went to on to win the supreme compliment: Motor Trend considered it the "best sports car ever built". The innovation the NSX Coupe brought about was so overwhelming that it was billed as the "Everyday Supercar" for the kind of material it had used in packaging high technology. With this model, Acura had changed the face of sports cars, too. The year following its launch, the NSX Coupe was fitted with Honda's path-breaking VTEC technology, taking it further up the ladder of sophistication.

With the introduction of the Vigor sedan in1992, Acura brought in another high flying model into the market. 1995 marked yet another year of innovation -this was when the TL Series was introduced in the American market, and the CL concept premiered at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The following year was significant for another reason -the much hallowed brand; the daringly innovative Legend was discontinued, to be replaced by the 3.5 RL.??
And the show continues...
By the mid 1990's, the was firmly saddled in the minds of the consumer as popular tuner cars, especially with the younger age group. Starting in 2000, there was a flurry of new models from Acura. The 3.2 TL, which has been giving the makes like Lexus; Infiniti and the BMW a good run for their money is one of them. Here, too, Acura has innovated by adding more luxury standard features than any other brand. It usually incorporates as standard features what most others give as optional ones. The MDX Crossover came to redefine the crossover SUV market, winning awards from Car and Driver and Motor Trend. Some other models that have come to occupy a prime position in the consumer's mind are the TL; CL, RSX and the NSX.?