Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda. The brand was launched in the United States and Canada on 27 March 1986, marketing luxury, performance, and high-performance automobiles. It was introduced to Hong Kong in 1991 (lasting until 2009), Mexico in 2004, China in 2006, Russia in 2014 (no longer available in Russia) and Kuwait in 2015, and was also sold in Ukraine (until 2018). Honda's plan to introduce Acura to the Japanese domestic market (JDM) in 2008 was delayed, due to economic reasons, and later withheld as a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.Acura is the first Japanese automotive luxury brand. The creation of Acura coincided with the introduction of a JDM Honda dealership sales channel, called Honda Clio, which sold luxury vehicles, joining previously established Honda Verno, followed by Honda Primo the following year. In its first few years of existence, Acura was among the best-selling luxury marques in the US. Though sales were down in the mid-to-late 1990s, the brand experienced a revival in the early 2000s, due to drastic redesigns and the introductions of new models.In the late 1980s, the success of the company's first flagship vehicle, the Legend, inspired fellow Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan to launch their own luxury brands, Lexus and Infiniti, respectively. The 1990 launch of the NSX, a mid-engine exotic sports car, offered a reliable and practical alternative to exotic European sports cars, and introduced Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system to the North American market. The 1993 Legend coupé featured Acura's first use of a six-speed manual transmission, mated to a Type II engine. In the late 1990s, Acura produced a Type R version of its compact Integra, which featured a reduced curb weight, a stiffer and lower suspension, and a high-output VTEC engine.
In the early 2000s, Acura introduced new models, including the company's first all-original SUV, the MDX, and two models which replaced the Integra coupé and sedan, the RSX and TSX, respectively.