Acura: Stuck Between Gears?

Acura came roaring into the U.S. luxury market in 1986, and things haven't been the same since. It was an audacious experiment by Japan's Honda Motor Co. to see if Americans would pay a then-unheard-of $20,000 for a Japanese car. Its pitch? A premium car at a bargain price compared with European luxury imports. The first TV ads from Acura talked of "precision-crafted automobiles" and pictured shocked German executives reading the news in their papers. For four years in a row, Acura topped the prestigious J.D. Power & Associates Inc. customer-satisfaction awards, and it quickly became the best-selling premium import brand.

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