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Acura (Japanese: ????, Akyura) is the luxury vehicle brand of Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company. It primarily competes with Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac among others as a certified luxury vehicle. It has been used in the US, Canada and Hong Kong since March 1986 to market Honda's performance automobiles and near-performance vehicles. The brand was introduced to Mexico in 2004 and to the Chinese market 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 two years from 2008 or so. With the Acura brand, Honda is credited with being the first to tap into a market for luxury Japanese cars outside Japan. Before Acura, automobiles exported from Japan 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 appear, and its initial offerings 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)