Honda has announced it will delay the introduction of its premium Acura brand to Japan by at least two years. The company was originally intending to bring Acura to its home market in 2008, but is changing its plans to a 2010-11 release. No specific reason was cited, except for the vague "[the decision was] based on a comprehensive evaluation of the current market environment."

Both Lexus and Acura were started as premium brands in the US. Toyota introduced Lexus to the Japanese market in 2005 but sales initially sputtered until the LS was released late last year. Acura has no such super-premium model and will have to compete in the tough small-to-mid size market along with the German marques.

The fact that Acura had already begun a sales strategy and had started recruiting dealerships or the 2008 launch shows that the decision to delay the brand’s introduction wasn’t taken lightly.