Acura 25th Anniversary Timeline

25 Years of Acura

Official release from

February 1984 – American Honda Motor Company confirms it is establishing a new luxury/performance division for the United States as an alternative to the European imports that traditionally dominate this market segment. Its working title is “Channel II”.

September 1984 – The official name of the new automotive division is announced: Acura.

November 1984 – Honda dealers gather for an exclusive meeting in Dallas to learn about the impending Acura Automobile Division, where they see mock-up models of the first two vehicles (Legend and Integra) to be sold. The selection criteria for Acura dealers are revealed.

February 1985 – The Acura dealership application process begins.

March 27, 1986 – The Acura Automobile Division begins operation as 60 new dealers in 18 states open their doors to the public— making it the first Japanese luxury brand in the United States. Two model lines are available: the Integra 3-door and 5-door sports sedans, and the Legend luxury-touring sedan.

1986 – Acura sales total 52,869 units, with 150 dealerships serving the top 50 metropolitan markets within 36 states.

1987 – American Honda President Tetsuo Chino steps down, and is replaced by Yoshihide Munekuni.

1987 – Integra is named to Car and Driver‘s “10Best Cars.”

1987 – Toyota Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. announce plans to establish new divisions to compete in the luxury/performance market segment.

Spring, 1987 – The Legend coupe debuts. With a standard 161-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine and independent double-wishbone suspension, the car goes on to win Motor Trend‘s Import Car of the Year award.  The Integra is the runner-up.  The Legend is also the first Acura product with airbags.

June 1987 – Acura sales pass the 100,000 mark.

August 1987 – Acura places first in the annual J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Survey, an unprecedented finish for a nameplate in its first year. The Acura dealer service score was the highest ever recorded in the history of the survey.

October 1987 – Acura dealer body reaches 200.

November 1987 – Acura (with its Integra model) wins IMSA International Sedan series Manufacturer’s Championship. Parker Johnstone wins Drivers’ Championship in Comptech-prepared Integra.

December 1987 – Acura sales reach 109,470 units, making Acura the number-one import luxury nameplate in the United States, surpassing all European luxury/performance competitors. Road & Track names both the Legend Sedan and Coupe to its “10Best Cars Based on Value” list and the Legend Coupe to its “10Best Cars in the World” list.

January 1988 – Car and Driver names the Legend Coupe and Integra sports sedan to its “10Best” list.

August 1988 – Acura ranks first for second consecutive year in J.D. Power and Associates CSI Survey.

November 1988 – Acura wins second consecutive IMSA International Sedan series Manufacturers’ Championship. Parker Johnstone, driver of the Comptech Integra, wins a second consecutive IMSA Driver’s Championship.

December 1988 – Dealer network reaches 285 dealers.

December 1988 – Legend is the best selling luxury import model in the United States.

1989 – A Comptech-prepped Integra wins the 1989 IMSA Sedan Driver’s Championship.

1989 – Motor Trend names the Legend Coupe to its Top 10 Import Cars list.

1989 – President Munekuni steps down, and is replaced by Koichi Amemiya.

January 1989 – Car and Driver names the Legend Coupe to its “10Best” list for the second year in a row.

February 1989 – Acura unveils the NS-X at the Chicago Auto Show. The high-performance, mid-engine “New Sportscar-eXperimental” is the first supercar from Japan.

May 1989 – The second-generation Integra 3-door and 4-door sport sedans are introduced as 1990 models.

June 1989 – A select group of American automotive journalists are invited to Japan to test drive prototypes of the new NSX—which was more than a year before its scheduled on-sale date. The exclusive trip is so far in advance; engine specifications have not been finalized.

August 1989 – Acura ranks first for the third consecutive year in J.D. Powers and Associates CSI Survey.

December 1989 – Legend is the best-selling luxury import model in the U.S. for the second consecutive year.

August 1990 – NSX goes on sale.  It is the first production car with an all-aluminum chassis and body, variable valve timing and lift and titanium connecting rods. At $65,000, the NSX is the most expensive Japanese car in history.

August 1990 – Acura badge introduced on 1991 model-year cars. Originally designed as dial calipers, founder Soichiro Honda modifies the badge with crossbar to form an “A.”

August 1990 – Acura ranks first for the fourth consecutive year in J.D. Powers and Associates CSI Survey.

November 1990 – In its first year, NSX garners an impressive list of accolades, including Motor Trend’s “Top Ten Performance Cars,” Road & Track’s “Ten Best Cars in the World,” Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New,” and Popular Mechanics’ “Design and Engineering Award”.

December 1990 – Legend is the best-selling luxury import model in the U.S. for the third consecutive year.

January 1991 – Car and Driver names Integra to its “10Best” list.

1991 – Motor Trend writes that the NSX is “the best sports car ever built.”

1991 – Parker Johnstone drives the Comptech Racing Acura-Spice Camel Lights race car (powered by a modified NSX engine) to the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championships in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Camel Lights series.

August 1991 – Acura ranks first in J.D. Powers and Associates Vehicle Performance Index and Vehicle Dependability Index surveys.

November 1991 – Automobile awards NSX “Automobile of the Year” and “Design of the Year.”

December 1991 – Legend is the best-selling luxury nameplate in the U.S. for the fourth consecutive year.

December 1991 – Acura Division sets an all-time sales record of 143,708 units.

January 1992 – Car and Driver names Integra to its “10Best” list.

1992 – Powered by an Acura engine, Parker Johnstone drives an Acura Spice Camel Lights car to win his second Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship in the IMSA racing series.

1992 – The Vigor sports sedan debuts. Available in GS and LS models with a 2.5-liter inline 5- cylinder engine, the Vigor is priced between the Integra and the Legend to complete the Acura lineup.

August 1992 – Legend tops J.D. Powers and Associates Best Model Vehicle Performance Index survey. Acura is recognized in JDPA’s Best Overall Car Line Vehicle Performance Index.

December 1992 – Legend is the best-selling luxury nameplate in the U.S. for the fifth consecutive year.

January 1993 – Car and Driver names Integra to its “10Best” list.

1993 – Behind the wheel of a Comptech-prepped Acura Spice car, Parker Johnstone wins his third consecutive Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ Championship— making him the most winning driver in IMSA history.

August 1993 – Acura tops J.D. Powers and Associates Best Overall Car Line Vehicle Performance Index for the second consecutive year.

December 1993 – Legend is the best-selling Luxury nameplate in the U.S. for the sixth consecutive year.

1994 – Acura sells its one-millionth vehicle in the United States.

January 1994 – Car and Driver names Integra to its “10Best” list.

1994 – United Press International names Integra GS-R its Car of the Year.

1994 – The all-new TL debuts for the 2005 model year, replacing the Vigor. Available with a 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder or 3.2-liter V-6, it signals Acura’s conversion to alphanumeric model designations.

1995 – Car and Driver names Integra to its “10Best” list.

1995 – The SLX is the first sport utility vehicle offered in the United States by a luxury import nameplate.

1995 – The NSX-T features a removable roof panel, and is the first Acura to offer an optional Formula One-inspired Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.

February 1996 – The 3.5 RL replaces the Legend as Acura’s flagship luxury sedan. With a 3.5-liter, SOHC V-6 engine producing 210 horsepower and 224 lbs-ft of torque, sleek but bold exterior styling and pampering interior, RL sets the standard for luxury performance sedans.

March 1996 – Acura celebrates its 10th anniversary.

1996 – The Acura Division introduces the CL series, the first U.S.-designed, engineered and manufactured model offered by a luxury import nameplate.

1997 – NSX/NSX-T takes a giant step forward in performance with several major enhancements, most notably a larger, more powerful 3.2-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, producing 290 horsepower and 224 lb-ft torque.

Fall 1997 – The RL is the first production car with an in-dash satellite-linked navigation system.  It uses a combination of the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, electro-gyros and state-of-the-art software to map out the best route to a destination and to tell drivers their exact location at all times.

1998 – Richard Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Company, assumes responsibility for the Acura Division.

Fall 1998 – A redesigned TL goes on sale and quickly becomes a brisk seller.

1999 – TL is listed as a “Best Buy” in Consumer Digest and Consumer Guide.

March 1999 – Acura releases the limited edition Alex Zanardi Edition NSX as a tribute to the two-time CART open-wheel racing championship driver. Only 49 vehicles of this limited edition model are available, featuring a revised suspension, exclusive Formula Red color and a curb weight 149 pounds lighter than a standard NSX.

December 1999 – TL is the best-selling luxury sedan in its class.

January 2000 – Acura launches its first mid-size SUV, the U.S.-designed, developed and engineered MDX. MDX is the first luxury SUV to have standard third-row seating; independent front and rear climate control systems, Variable Torque Management® four-wheel drive and have a ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) rating. The vehicle is named North American Truck of the Year as well as Motor Trend Sport Utility of the Year.

December 2000 – TL is the best selling luxury sedan in its class for the second year in a row.

2000 – The RL incorporates significant technical advances such as Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and the application of a DVD database to the Acura Navigation system. 

2000 – NSX receives a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) certification from the Air Resources Board, a testament to Acura’s innovation and industry-leading technology.

March 2001 – Acura celebrates its 15th anniversary.

July 2001 – The RSX sports coupe debuts as a 2002 model year vehicle, replacing the Integra. The RSX features a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which employs the i-VTEC® “intelligent” valve control system with new Variable Timing Control™  (VTC™) that help generate 160 horsepower. The RSX Type-S boasts 200 horsepower and an exclusive 6-speed manual transmission.

December 2001 – TL is the best-selling luxury sedan in its class for the third consecutive year.  For 2002, a new 260-hp Type-S version is added.

December 2001 – Acura posts record year-end sales of 170,469, shattering the previous record set in 1991. The division also sets monthly sales records in 11 out of the 12 months during the 2001 calendar year.

January 2002 – Car and Driver names RSX to its “10Best” list.

January 2002 – Acura introduces the RD-X Concept SUV at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The performance-oriented sporty SUV hints at a 2.4-liter, 16-valve, DOHC i-VTEC® inline 4-cylinder engine with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) and a 6-speed, close-ratio clutchless manual transmission.

2002 – Acura sales reach 2 million units.

2002 – Detroit Free Press names RSX “Car of the Year.”

2002 – MDX is the first luxury SUV to receive NHTSA’s quadruple Five-Star safety rating. The new model also has the ULEV-II emissions rating.

November 2002 – Automobile names MDX “Best Mid-Size SUV.”

January 2003 – Car and Driver names RSX to its “10Best” list. RSX is also named to Ward’s “10Best Engines.”

January 2003 – The 3.2 CL Type-S receives a new close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, along with a limited-slip differential to provide additional performance and handling responsiveness.

Spring 2003 – The all-new TSX goes on sale as a 2004 model year car. With a 200-horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine, the TSX sports sedan bridges the gap between RSX and TL, and is instantly hailed as a serious rival to Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

August 2003 – J.D. Powers and Associates rate RL the Most Dependable Midsize Luxury Car.

Fall 2003 – The all-new TL goes on sale, featuring a 270 hp V-6 engine, Bluetooth® cellular telephone integration, a DVD-Audio Surround System, solar sensing GPS-linked climate control, dual mode/dual zone climate control, bi-xenon headlights and an acoustic glass windshield— all as standard equipment.

January 2004 – TSX is named to Car and Driver‘s “10Best Cars.”

April 2004 – Koichi Kondo is named Chief Executive Officer and President of American Honda.

August 2004 – J.D. Powers and Associates recognize TSX as Highest Ranked Entry Luxury Car in Initial Quality Survey.

October 2004 – The 2005 RSX Type-S receives a 210-hp I-4 engine, a minor exterior refreshing, a retuned suspension and improved steering and braking systems.

October 2004 – A nearly stock TL wins its class and finishes third overall in the super-endurance “25 Hours of Thunderhill” race at Thunderhill Park Raceway in Willows, CA.

November 2004 – The all-new RL goes on sale, featuring a 3.5-liter 300-horsepower V-6 mated to a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission. It also features Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®), the first North American application of a satellite-based real-time traffic information system, a HandsFreeLink™ wireless telephone interface and a Keyless Access System.

January 2005 – Acura announces that 2004 set an all-new record high for sales, totally 198,919 units for the calendar year—  a 16-percent increase from total sales in 2003.

January 2005 – RL is named to Car and Driver‘s “10Best Cars.”

January 2005 – RL is named to Ward’s “10Best Engines.”

January 2005 – Acura unveils the all-new RD-X Concept SUV at the North American International Auto Show. It combines the performance of a sports sedan with all-wheel drive capability with the functionality of a SUV. Built on an all-new platform, RD-X features Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ and the next generation of the AcuraLink™ Satellite Communication System.

April 2005 – Tom Elliott, Executive Vice President of American Honda, retires; John Mendel is named Senior Vice President, Auto Operations.

July 2005 – Acura Division announces it will halt production of the NSX at the end of the 2005 calendar year, but also reveals plans for a replacement vehicle in an unspecified timeframe.

July 2005 – Honda Motor Company announces it will launch the Acura brand in China in early 2006 as a response to the country’s growing desire for luxury vehicles.

August 2005 – Eric Curran wins his first World Challenge Touring Car race in the RealTime Acura RSX.  College sophomore Brandon Davis clinches the Rookie of the Year award.

October 2005 – The 2006 RL offers an optional technology package featuring three innovative safety features: Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™); Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Michelin PAX run-flat tires (which can run up to 125 miles at 55 mph with a puncture or leak).

January 2006 – TSX is named to Car and Driver‘s “10Best” list for the third time.

January 2006 – Acura unveils the RDX prototype at the North American International Auto Show that hints strongly at the production model scheduled to go on sale in the summer. The vehicle features a 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and Acura’s exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™.

March 27, 2006 – Acura celebrates 20 years of excellence and innovation.

March 27, 2006 –Honda breaks ground on a new $15 million Acura Design Center in Torrance, California, the latest expansion of product design and development capabilities in America.

April 12, 2006 – Acura unveils the all-new MD-X Concept SUV at the New York International Auto Show. With bold styling, the MD-X Concept provides a glimpse of the all-new MDX luxury performance SUV.

August 8, 2006 – The all-new RDX, featuring Acura’s first turbocharged engine and the breakthrough Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) goes on sale. The RDX boasts the exceptional handling of a sports sedan with the utility of a SUV.

September 8, 2006 – The 2007 Acura TL arrives in the midsized luxury market with revised exterior and interior styling, an improved navigation system with AcuraLink™ Satellite Communication System with AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ and the re-introduction of the Type-S performance model.

October, 2006 – All-new 2007 MDX goes on sale. Benchmarked against some of the best performance SUVs in the world and tuned on the world famous Nurburgring racetrack in Germany, the completely redesigned 2007 MDX expands on the capabilities (and the appeal) of its highly successful predecessor.

January 3, 2007 – Driven by yearly record sales of light trucks and the TSX sports sedan, Acura surpasses the 200,000-unit sales mark for the second consecutive year.

March 1, 2007 – Acura enters the 2007 American Le Mans Series, competing in the LMP2 class, marking Acura’s first official factory motorsports program in the 20-year history of the company. Three separate Acura-powered prototype sports cars represent the auto manufacturer during the 12-race 2007 American Le Mans Series campaign.

March 19, 2007 – The Acura American Le Mans Series teams makes a spectacular debut by taking the first, second and fourth positions in the LMP2 class at the 55th annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring— one of the world’s most prestigious road-racing events.

May 24, 2007 – The Acura Design Studio officially opens, assuming a key role in the development of new concepts and designs that will lead directly to future Acura products.

March 19, 2008 – Designed and engineered to reaffirm its place as a desirable and affordable entry point for entry-premium buyers, the all-new second-generation 2009 TSX makes its debut at the New York International Auto Show.

February 6, 2008 – The redesigned 2009 RL luxury performance sedan makes its debut at the Chicago Auto Show, featuring bold new styling, an all-new 3.7-liter engine, chassis enhancements and numerous technological upgrades.

April 24, 2008 – The all-new 2009 TSX sports sedan goes on sale, surpassing the popular previous generation in virtually every way.

July 13, 2008 – Acura takes its first overall win in the American Le Mans Series in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. Driver David Brabham puts in one of the best maneuvers in American Le Mans Series history to score Acura’s first overall victory in two seasons of competition.

August 30, 2008 – Acura sweeps the American Le Mans Series podium, leading every lap overall in historic performance on Belle Isle street circuit.

September 24, 2008 – The all-new 2009 TL performance luxury sedan goes on sale. For the first time ever in an Acura vehicle, the newly redesigned TL will be available with a choice of two different VTEC® V-6 engines while also offering both front-wheel-drive (TL) and all-wheel-drive (TL SH-AWD®) models.

February 11, 2009 –At the Chicago Auto Show Acura debuts an all-new TSX V-6 model.

March 31, 2009 –The entire Acura line-up receives top safety ratings from NHTSA and IIHS for crash worthiness— the first time in the history of automotive safety crash testing that an automobile nameplate has simultaneously earned top government and IIHS safety ratings for every vehicle in its line-up.

April 8, 2009 – A prototype of the provocative Acura ZDX luxury four-door sports coupe makes its world debut at the New York International Auto Show. The segment-bending ZDX features stunning coupe-like styling with the added benefit of a commanding presence and flexible utility.

April 8, 2009 – American Honda Finance Corp. (AHFC) launches Acura-branded financial services to better satisfy the needs of Acura dealers and customers.

July 28, 2009 – The new 2010 TSX V-6 goes on sale with a powerful 3.5-liter engine, exclusive suspension tuning, larger diameter wheels and additional enhancements.

July 28, 2009 – The 2010 RDX comes to market with a fresh new exterior look, a more luxurious interior, a host of new technology features and an available two-wheel drive variant.

December 2, 2009 – For the second consecutive year Acura receives the Automotive Lease Guide (ALG) 2010 Residual Value Award for Best Luxury Brand. According to ALG, Acura’s line of luxury performance vehicles is expected to retain the highest percentage of their original price after a three-year period.

December 11, 2009 – Already a leader in its class, the significantly enhanced 2010 MDX gets bold new exterior styling, an all-new six-speed automatic transmission, a revised chassis, additional content, enhanced safety and convenience features and an all-new Advance Package.

December 15, 2009 – The all-new 2010 Acura ZDX four-door sports coupe goes on sale with dramatic styling, outstanding performance and the latest in advanced technology.

March 31, 2010 –The all-new 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon makes its world debut at the New York International Auto Show, offering a smart solution to modern utility needs with its balanced and efficient driving performance coupled with bold styling and versatile cargo capabilities.

June 17, 2010 – Acura moves up 12 positions in the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) within nameplate performance, garnering second place overall in IQS rankings.

November 17, 2010 – The Acura TL performance luxury sedan receives the 2011 ALG Residual Value Award for Best Near Luxury Car.

November 23, 2010 – The 2011 TSX goes on sale with a freshened exterior look along with a wide array of new features and technology. In addition, an all-new Sport Wagon model is added to the TSX lineup.

February 9, 2011 – Making its debut at the 2011 Chicago Auto show, Acura’s newly refined 2012 TL delivers fresh looks, improved performance and upgraded technology.

March 27, 2011 – Acura celebrates 25 years of excellence and innovation.

[Source: Acura]

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