Launched in 1976, the had been designed for America from the start, a deliberate combination of European style, American luxury, and Japanese reliability. Unfortunately, the contrast between the Accord‘s compact size and the large American cars of the time led it to be stereotyped by many as just another small Japanese car. But in 1990, the Accord grew five inches and sported a new, 130-hp, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. The made-in-Ohio sedan went on to surpass the in retail sales and become the most popular car in the United States, a mainstream American car at last. The Accord looked good, drove with spirit, and made its owners feel as if utility could be high fashion, not simply an intellectual exercise. With this car, ever-independent Honda demonstrated that future success in the American market for import brands had to be built on U.S.-based product planning and manufacturing. Nissan and Toyota soon followed Honda’s lead, and, eventually, so did the European brands.