It’s often thought that the (1981-84) Triumph Acclaim was marketed by British Leyland (BL) only in EEC markets (including the UK) as part of the deal struck with Honda. Non-EEC markets would be left to Honda to supply direct from Japan with the ‘original’ Japan-built Honda Ballade. Press reports from the time (and the communication to employees posted here) can give that impression.
However, it wasn’t quite that simple. Spain and Portugal didn’t join the EEC until 1986, but the Triumph Acclaim was also marketed in those countries – probably because in both, at the time, imports from Japan faced tighter restrictions than imports from the UK. That was not the case in non-EEC Switzerland and the Swiss were offered the ‘pure’ Honda Ballade, built in Japan.
Meanwhile, other non-EEC European markets such as Norway received a Honda Civic four-door saloon which was essentially a ‘de-contented’ Honda Ballade. The Ballade had originally been conceived by Honda as a premium version of the Civic saloon to be sold through the separate, upmarket ‘Verno’ dealer channel that existed in Japan – so BL had contracted to build one of the posher Hondas.
BL did not have the rights to market the UK-built Acclaim beyond Europe, so in other countries globally (if this design appeared at all) it was as a Honda and not as a Triumph. An example was South Africa (where both Honda and BL had a presence) and where it was the Honda Ballade that appeared on price lists (in that case sold through Mercedes-Benz dealers as a sort of ‘mini-Mercedes’, apparently).
As always if you know more, please do get in touch!
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