“Acura.  Precision Crafted Performance.’  The slogan that started it all for Japanese automakers intent on challenging Mercedes-Benz and BMW in the luxury car field.

Honda Motor Company unveiled the Acura Legend and Acura Integra in 1986, a full three years before Toyota unveiled the Lexus line, and the results were excellent in the first full year of production and sales.  Using over 60 new dealerships in North America, Acura sold 109,000 cars that first year, with the Legend accounting for 55,000 of those sales.  By 1990 Acura was selling 138,000 cars in North America, of which 54,000 were Legends, compared to 78,000 Mercedes-Benz’s and 64,000 BMW’s.  Obviously, the new kid on the block had some game.

Also in 1990, Acura unveiled the NSX, a new sports experimental car that was intended to take on Ferrari and Porsche.  It did not!  Also, by the mid-1990’s, Acura had fallen on hard times, many of which could be blamed on a name change, moving from names like Legend to names like 2.5Tl and 3.2 TL.  At the same time, performance lagged and the price increased, and with that increase the market share decreased noticeably.  At the same time, Japan was going through a financial crisis, so the Acura brand was seen as, if not dying, then certainly floundering on the shoreline.

Somehow, and all the credit in the world goes to Honda, the Acura line made a comeback in 2000.  The Acura models were re-designed, and although they certainly were not better than the Lexus ES, Infiniti i30, or the BMW 3-series, they were good enough to be considered serious competition.  Since then Acura has held its own, consistently lagging behind Lexus but still etching out a nice market share in the United States and Europe.

One thing is for certain and that is that Honda, and Acura, make a good automobile.  They are every bit as conscious of craftsmanship as Toyota is; in fact, Japanese automakers are much more reliable in their craftsmanship than their American or European counterparts.  It seems to have something to do with the Japanese culture; whatever the case may be, you can rely on a Japanese automobile time and time again.

You can also rely on their replacement parts.  Whether you need a transmission, brakes, or a new engine, Honda and Acura replacement parts are solid and last a very long time.  Keep that in mind when shopping; your best bet is to buy used parts from a salvage yard since these parts are built to last.