On June 8, Automotive News will chronicle Honda's U.S. history in a special section, "Honda's American Journey: 25 Pivotal Moments in 50 Eventful Years."
For information about the section, go to www.autonews.com/honda50
In the early 1980s, Tom Elliott was convinced that Honda should sell more than inexpensive cars in the United States. At one memorable meeting in Japan, Elliott, then vice president of automotive operations at American Honda Motor Co., gave a two-hour presentation to Honda engineers and board members. Yoshihide Munekuni, the future president of American Honda, translated.
"We felt that just adding model lines to the Honda franchise would not be the key to large growth," Elliott says.
The solution approved by the Honda board: Acura. It was a first for a Japanese automaker: a luxury brand with a separate distribution channel.
Acura, launched in March 1986, put the Detroit 3 on notice that American Honda could compete in many segments, not just small cars.