Just to help out my american friends here.
The Acura brand only exists in three countries. The US, Canada, and I cannot remeber the other country. Acura was set up in the US and Canada, when Honda wanted to bring the Legend to the US. However, Honda at the time was seen as a little Japanese car company that made econony cars. (i.e. cheap cars) They didn't think that americans would pay $25-$35K for a HONDA, when you could get an accord loaded for around $14000. So Honda created the Acura line and gave it the Legend, and the Integra. Currently the RL
is sold around the world as the Honda Legend, and the RS
is sold as Honda Integra, I don't know about the TL
or the MDX. Of course the NSX is the NSX but sold under the Honda badge. Of course the Acura logo is merely the Honda H with a pair of pliers used to crush the top of the H to get an A.
Infiniti was created by Nissan for the same reasons as Acura. Nissan wanted to bring the Primera (G20) and its flagship (Q) (I forget what it was called in Japan or Europe) model to the states, but ran into the same problem with the cost/image percetption.
Lexus is the only one of the brands that exists around the world in this form. I believe Toyota wanted to create a Mercedes type line, and saw this as the way to do it. Of course my personal opinion of Lexus is I can buy a Toyota with almost the same features for a heck of a lot less. I mean the difference b/n a Camry and an ES330 is minimal, unless you want tons of leather and wood and a different look. Same for the Land Cruiser vs LX450, and the Highlander vs the RX300. Lexus is begining to look a lot like Ford and Mercury here in the states. At least Honda and Nissan keep the crossovers to a minimum, at least Nissan did until recently.
Of course for me I drive European cars (2 volkswagens, a volvo, an Audi that just got here). I like them better than the Japanese or American models, and don't get me started on the Korean cars. I have owned one Honda, which i bought after losing a VW
in a crash, I would have bought another VW
except for the dumb seatbelts the US gov made them install on them. Of course for a truck I would take a Ford, Chevy, Dodge any day over a Toyota, Nissan, Mazda (I know its a ford), or Mitsubishi any day.