Honda motor organized Acura as its luxury car division in 1986, thereby becoming the first Japanese automaker to break into the foreign luxury car market. To support Acura, Honda opened 60 new dealerships across North America in 1986. The initial US offering from Acura proved a success. These were the Legend, a V-6 powered sedan, and the Integra which entered the market as a three-door and a five-door hatchback option. Both the Legend and the Integra were warmly received in the US market.
Following the success of Acuraâ€™s foray into the US market, other Japanese automakers followed with Toyotaâ€™s Lexus and Nissanâ€™s Infiniti. This trend among Japanese car makers was a marked departure from the earlier marketing thrust of auto exports from Japan to position these vehicles as having economical designs rather than luxury features. Part of Acuraâ€™s success could be attributed to its strong presence in America motor sports, particularly in Sports Club of America and IMSA GT Championship series.