Honda Infuses Luxury Brand with $1 Billion In Investment, and a New Toy

In 1989, the Toyota Motor Company (NYSE:TM) polarized the American luxury automotive market with the introduction of the Lexus LS. Not only was it a new model; it was a new brand entirely. Additionally, it signaled to the world that Japan could build a great luxury car, and it was serious about it, too. Suddenly, the European luxury car market was paying rapt attention.

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Nowadays, virtually every brand of automobile has a luxury division of some kind. Through mergers and acquisitions, companies have either developed their own brand, or bought one. Almost every major Japanese auto brand has its own in-house luxury outfitter: NissanĀ has Infiniti, Toyota has Lexus, andĀ Honda (NYSE:HMC) has Acura — the latter of which has recently gotten itself out of a spot of trouble, and is now moving on to play in the big leagues.

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Since 2005, Acura’s sales have dropped off by some 25 percent. The company has been cutting models out of its portfolio in an effort to condense their operations, but the economic crisis that has happened in the meantime hasn’t exactly helped things in the Acura HQ…