Profile: Who is Acura?

Profile: Who is Acura?

Who is Acura - Integra

Today, we’re all very aware of several of the world’s automotive sub-brands, with many setup to add an extra line of luxury on top of more conservative, mainstream efforts.

One of the biggest such names is Acura – a name that kicked off a trend of luxury sub-brands hailing from the Far East – let’s get into the details of who Acura is.

Who owns Acura – Is Acura Japanese?

Honda is the parent company of Acura, with the Japanese marque launching Acura into the world in March 1986, beating the likes of Toyota and Nissan to establish a luxury sub-brand.

Despite being owned by Honda, a Japanese company, Acura was never destined for the Japanese domestic market (JDM), and instead has been most prominent in North America since its mid-80s inception.

Acura emerged during a midst of change for Honda, where it introduced a dealership sales channel named Honda Clio, which was created to sell Honda’s more up-market models in its domestic market (Honda Primo, meanwhile, was set up to sell the brand’s more accessible car lines).

As its own name, Acura has also been established, at least for a time, in several other territories, such as Hong Kong, Mexico and China.

Is Acura a luxury car?

Is Acura a luxury car - MDX interior

Certainly by Honda’s standards, Acura represents a more luxurious option in comparison to its best-selling line of more conventional ‘everyday’ models.

An Acura model will offer certain comforts and technology that a regular Honda car would either have as an option or just not at all.

However, Acura’s price point for its cars means that it isn’t necessarily a direct competitor to the likes of Mercedes-Benz or Lexus.

Who makes Acura cars?

Acura is seen as a brand in its own right, and so, while being owned by Honda, Acura production is its own responsibility

Where are Acura cars made?

Acura production plant - Marysville, Ohio

The vast majority of Acura production happens in North America, with the luxury brand operating predominantly in four locations within the state of Ohio.

The largest of these is Acura’s Marysville plant, which produces the Acura Integra and TLX models. It is also where the brand’s performance manufacturing center can be found, and was naturally the location of the NSX’s production as a result.

Elsewhere, a plant in Anna is responsible for the manufacture of Acura’s engines and drivetrain components. Meanwhile, East Liberty is home to SUV production, with the RDX and MDX models built there.

Lastly, the Russells Point plant is charged with building Acura’s transmissions and the likes of its four-wheel-drive systems.

What does Acura mean?

What does Acura mean - Acura Logo

The most common interpretation of the word Acura comes from the Latin ‘acu’, which effectively translates to ‘done with precision’ or ‘mechanically precise’.

This approach is further represented by the Acura logo, which is a design used to mirror that of a caliper measurement tool.

However, there were early plans to reflect Acura’s Japanese parentage, and use the word ‘Akira’, which means ‘intelligence’ or ‘wisdom’.

What are some of the more famous Acura models?

Popular Acura cars - NSX

Today, Acura is best known for its duo of SUVs – the mid-size MDX and the more compact RDX – and its sedan pairing of the TLX and the Integra.

Many European and Japanese car enthusiasts will be very well versed in what the name Integra has represented over the years, with some markets in the past championing it as the ‘best front-wheel-drive sports car ever made’.

While the current inception of the Integra doesn’t follow on from this lineage, and is much more of a conventional compact sedan, its predecessor, the RSX, did go some distance to offer a capable sports coupe in the American market.

Speaking of sports cars, one cannot ignore the mighty NSX that, like the Integra, shared both Honda and Acura branding. Born out of the late 1980s, the NSX has since been transformed for the modern car buyer, offering a hybrid-assisted twin-turbo V6 supercar.

In the early days of Acura, however, it was the Legend that was the breadwinner, helping build the brand as it established itself across North America, making up over 50 per cent of Acura’s sales in its first three years in business.

Does Acura go racing?

Acura Motorsports - ARX-06 IMSA

It certainly does, and is one of the biggest names on the IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) circuit.

In fact, Acura has been racing since pretty much day one, and has solidified itself in North American motorsport.

Today, you’ll find Acura in a brace of classifications on the IMSA calendar, participating in both the Grand Touring Prototype category (Acura ARX-06) and the GT Daytona class (NSX GT3).

Does Acura make a hybrid?

Acura ZDX electric SUV

As of writing, Acura does not make a hybrid – but this isn’t because it isn’t embracing electrification…

As its parent company, Honda has decided that, while it has already integrated hybrids into its own line of vehicles, it will bypass this step for Acura.

This is down to Honda wanting a slightly different path for Acura, which will go straight to zero-emissions when the time is right.

And that time is 2024 – unveiled in 2022, the first all-electric Acura will be the Acura ZDX, and will be co-developed with GM – but Acura has plans to establish its own global ‘e:Architecture’ two years later.