Is Acura JDM? Explained

‘JDM’ is an initialism that means Japanese Domestic Market. It’s a term that’s used to describe vehicles and parts produced and supplied within the Japanese automotive market.

The term has also been used to describe the style and aesthetic of Japanese automotive culture: extravagant body kits, electrifying decals and unmatched street presence.

If you have found this article, you’re probably wondering: is Acura classed as JDM? We’ll cover a brief history of Honda’s luxury spin-off brand, and whether you can own a JDM-approved Acura of your own.

Is Acura JDM?

No, Acura is not JDM. While Acura was born out of Honda in Japan, Acura does not currently produce or sell any vehicles within the Japanese Domestic Market.

Acura is currently headquartered in Torrance, California (US). The brand was created to become the US-focused luxury and performance division of Honda. Honda is one of the most popular Japanese automakers, known for the reliability and affordability of its vehicles.

While much smaller in size and output than Honda, Acura has built a strong presence in the performance and luxury vehicle market. In 1989, the brand released the NSX – the legendary mid-engine coupe that many deem to be the finest sports car ever built.

Acura markets and sells its vehicles in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Panama and Kuwait. Most of its vehicles are sold in the United States, with a total sales figure of 136,983 vehicles sold to US drivers in 2020.

So why does Acura choose to not sell its vehicles in Japan, the home of Honda?

Why Acura does not sell vehicles in Japan

Initially, the Acura brand was created as a spin-off of Honda to sell luxury vehicles exclusively to the US market. Honda has not yet announced plans to bring Acura vehicles to the Japanese domestic market.

Technically, some Acura vehicles – like the Legend – are available in Japan, but they are rebadged as Honda cars. So while it is not strictly true that you can own a JDM Acura, you can own something pretty darn close.

The Honda brand was born and raised in Japan. It has always been successful there. The truth is that Acura was never really designed to be a JDM brand: it was destined to be Honda’s way into the luxury and performance car markets in the United States.

But what makes JDM cars so attractive to car enthusiasts?

Why are JDM cars so popular?

There are a number of reasons why vehicles produced for the Japanese market are so popular abroad. They tend to be in superior condition with better specifications from the factory. They’re also more sought-after, and a big deal in automotive pop culture.

Less rust. More power. Enhanced reliability. The list of benefits goes on and on. You’re also sure to capture the hearts of fellow enthusiasts by bringing a one-of-a-kind JDM vehicle to your local street.

Of course, there can be downsides to purchasing an imported vehicle. For example, more power means more fuel consumption, which will put a squeeze on your wallet. It’s also likely that you will need to insure your imported vehicle with a specialist insurer.

Plus, importing Japanese vehicles can get really expensive.

Negatives aside, you still get all of the usual benefits associated with the Japanese automotive industry: cheap, widely-available parts and maximum reliability.

Will Acura ever produce vehicles in Japan?

Maybe, in the future. Honda tried to introduce Acura to the Japanese domestic market in 2008, but this was postponed. 

In 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported that Honda planned to launch the Acura brand in Japan in 2008. Honda witnessed significant market share for premium vehicles in Japan going to the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other foreign imports.

Unfortunately, the move was postponed. It’s unclear why this was, or what the motivations of Honda were at that time. To this day, Honda continues to rebadge Acura models as Honda models for the Japanese domestic market. 

It still remains to be seen whether Honda plans to bring Acura to Japan in future.


There are so many reasons for wanting to own a JDM vehicle. Whether it’s for street cred or sentimental reasons, there has never been a better time to own a piece of JDM history.

Unfortunately, Acura vehicles are not technically classed as JDM. Despite its links with Honda and the Japanese heritage of the brand, Acura does not produce or sell vehicles within Japan. Most manufacturing takes place in the US.

Of course, it is possible to own a JDM Honda. See our article: is Honda JDM?

We hope that this article helped to clear things up for you. Got a question? Let us know below!

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