On March 27, 1986, American Honda Co., Inc. will introduce Acura Automobiles to the U.S. market.
Acura Products wil be sold through the newly established Acura Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., which is separate from the existing Honda Automobile Division. The Acura Division will establish its own independent dealer organization to handle the sales, parts and service requirements of Acura automobiles. This approach was chosen to establish the Acura line in its own right, as an exclusive range of automobiles with their own market position.
The Acura Division will begin retail sales at the end of March, 1986. There will be about 60 dealers initially, and by the end of 1986 the Acura Division is expected to have 150 dealers in operation nationwide. For calendar year 1986, sales are projected to be about 55,000 units.
The initial offerings of the Acura Automobile Division will be the all-new Legend, a 4-door luxury touring sedan powered by a 24-valve, SOHC, 2.5 liter V-6 engine, and the Integra, a line of 3- and 5-door sports sedans powered by 1.6 liter, 16 valve, 4-cylinder DOHC engine.
The establishment of the Acura Division in the United States is the largest challenge that Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. have faced in their 26 year history in the U.S.
Several key factors led to the establishment of the Acura Division in the U.S.: First is the resurgence of the U.S. automobile industry. U.S. sales have rebounded from fewer than 8-million cars in 1982 to sales of almost 11-million in 1985. Industry forecasts project the U.S. automobile market to remain around the 11-million level through the early 1990s.
Even more important than the growth in sales is the change in model segmentation that is occurring in the U.S. market. It's expected that the strongest growth through the 1990s will be in the luxury and sporty car segments, markets where Honda products have not previously competed to any great degree. Recent evidence of the strength in these segments is the growth in popularity of luxury cars such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, and the rising sales of sports cars such as the Fiero, Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX7,Chevrolet Corvette and Toyota MR2.
The new Acura Automobile Division will market a range of sporty/luxury vehicles appealing to these growing market segments. The primary difference between the Honda and Acura Divisions will be in basic product orientation:
1) The Honda Division will continue to stress low to medium priced vehicles--family automobiles with an emphasis on economy, comfort and value for money.
2) The Acura Division will market medium to high priced vehicles which emphasize performance and luxury. These vehicles will use the latest in technology and will be different in concept, styling and drivetrain from Honda Division products.
In order to reach the consumers responsible for the growth in the luxury and sporty car segments it was decided that the Acura Division and its products should be positioned separately and distinctly from existing Honda products:
1) Consumers in these growing market segments are looking for something different than the current line of Honda Civics, Accords and Preludes.
2) Consumers are looking for a combination of upscale products and technology that are not found in the low to medium priced cars of the Honda Division.
3) Consumers in these upscale market segments (Audi, BMW, M-B) do not include current Honda products in their purchase considerations primarily because of the strongly established Honda reputation for low priced, high fuel economy cars, all key elements which have made Honda so successful in the lower priced market segments.
With the newly established Acura Automobile Division, and its new product lines, a strong market position in the growing luxury and sporty car segment is expected to be established.
The Acura automobiles--the Legend 4-door sedan and Integra 3-door and 5-door sedans--were designed for international appeal, and created with input from North America, Europe and Japan. The Integra program also gained from the considerable input of Honda Research of America, and American Honda Motor Co.,Inc.
LEGEND AND INTEGRA OVERVIEW:
The Acura automobiles are performance driver's cars. They're powered by high output, 4 valve engines, have taut suspensions and precise steering, and are aerodynamically efficient. Spacious on the inside, they're designed to satisfy the most demanding driver while delivering the kind of efficiency intelligent people demand today.
The Legend is a luxury touring sedan with an emphasis on performance. Innovative engineering and packaging make it spacious inside while keeping outside dimensions compact. Its powerful 24-valve V-6 engine, road tuned suspension, and precise steering allow it to excel in every performance category. Inside, it provides the driver with an environment which minimizes stress and lets him take full advantage of the car's capabilities.
The Integra models are aerodynamically designed sports sedans with nimble handling and 3-door or 5-door hatchback versatility. Their fuel-injected, DOHC, l6-valve engine is powerful and responsive whether accelerating or cruising. With precise power steering, refined suspension and aerodynamically efficient body, they're exceptional road cars.
The Acura automobiles for the United states will be built at Honda Motor Co., Ltd. plants in Japan: the Legend at Saitama and the Integra at Suzuka.