HONG KONG (Kyodo) Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., launched Honda’s premium Acura brand Wednesday in China.

With the aim of tapping into the luxury performance sedan sector of the world’s fastest-rowing car market, Honda is importing the 3.2-liter TL and 3.5-liter RL into China.

Currently, Honda is selling the luxury brand only in North America.

The U.S.-made Acura TL is Acura’s biggest-selling model in North America. The sales price for the TL will be 430,000 yuan (about $54,000), with the RL going for 680,000 yuan.

“The introduction to China of the Acura brand will become the first step for the brand to expand from North America to the world,” said Atsuyoshi Hyogo, Honda Motor’s chief operating officer for China operations.

The first Acura dealership was opened in Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong Province. Honda plans to open 10 dealerships throughout China in the next 12 months.

Honda said it aims to sell 3,000 units in the first year and boost annual sales to around 15,000 in around three years.

The automaker created the Acura brand in 1986 to enter the luxury automobile market in North America, as a second sales channel to market luxury performance models.

Since then, Acura has grown into a premium brand exclusively for the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2005, total annual sales of Acura products in North America reached a record 230,000 units.

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