As the pioneer of luxury brands among the Japanese Big Three, Acura carved out a position, but the Honda-owned marque hasn't necessarily protected it well. Honda introduced Acura to the U.S. in 1986 with two primary aims: ensuring it was exporting the highest-value-added vehicles possible under America's "voluntary" restraints; and taking Honda upscale in the crucial U.S. market. Acura's first two models were the Legend, a V-6-powered sedan derived from Honda's reliable Accord platform, and Integra, available as a five-door and three-door hatchback. Acura established enough of a foothold, quickly enough, that Honda considered it a strategic success; within three years, Toyota and Nissan had copy-catted with their own luxury brands. By 1991, Acura introduced the NSX, a midship, V6-powered, rear-wheel-drive sports car -- and the world's first all-aluminum production car. During the Nineties, however, Acura sales lagged as Honda failed to put enough R&D and marketing emphasis on its luxury division. Over the last several years, company leadership has come to understand earlier mistakes and has supplied Acura with unique models that have helped revive the marque, beginning with the TL sedan. The MDX, based on the Honda Odyssey minivan, became a popular three-row crossover. For 2009, Acura introduced all-new TL and TSX models, extending its successful branding departure from Honda.