A client and I recently debated the pros and cons of building a new, exclusive Acura dealership.

While this multi-brand client has enjoyed success selling Acuras, I nevertheless advised him to consider either retro-fitting an existing facility or selling off the franchise.

Why? Because no matter how much we crunched the numbers, we could not find enough meaningful data to support major investments in the long-term prospects of Acura.

Rather, all of our data points indicate the brand will struggle for survival in the years to come as it faces heightened competition from luxury heavyweights such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, brands that are expanding their lineups to fight in the lower-premium segment.

Honda launched Acura as a luxury brand in 1986, following the Japanese government-imposed export restraints on mainstream vehicles.

At that time, the brand targeted a more profitable vehicle segment that was not being properly addressed by other automakers: the near-luxury segment. Near-luxury filled the gap at the time between the top Japanese brands (Toyota, Honda, and Nissan) and the top German luxury brands (Mercedes and BMW).

When Acura debuted, Cadillac and Lincoln were languishing with stale and non-innovative products, making the environment ripe for an alternative luxury concept.

Much like other brands, Acura has shown year-over-growth since the end of the recession. But it’s important to note it has not bounced back at the same level as other luxury automakers.

Acura, much like Nissan’s Infiniti, hit its respective sales peak in 2005 and has since lost market share. Last year, Acura sold 165,436 units last year compared with 156,216 the year before, according to WardsAuto data. Acura ranks No.5 in the U.S. luxury market, ahead of Infiniti and behind Cadillac,