Acura (Japanese: アキュラ, Akyura) is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It primarily competes with Lexus, Infiniti and BMW among others in the luxury vehicle segment. The Acura brand has been used in the US, Canada, and Hong Kong since March 1986 to market Honda's performance vehicles and near-performance vehicles. The brand was introduced to Mexico in 2004 and to China in 2006. The Acura brand will be introduced in Russia at the end of 2008. Honda plans to introduce Acura to the Japanese domestic market (JDM) sometime around 2010. With the Acura brand, Honda is credited with being the first Japanese company to tap into the foreign luxury market. Before Acura, Japanese automobiles exports were primarily economical in design and largely targeted at low-cost consumers.
In 1986, following a decade of research, Honda opened 60 all-new dealerships in North America to support its Acura automobile division. Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand to be introduced, and its initial offering consisted of two models: the Legend, a V6-powered sedan, and the Integra, available as a five-door and three-door hatchback. The success of these models led to competing Japanese luxury brand ventures (Toyota's Lexus and Nissan's Infiniti).