Lexus (レクサス, Rekusasu) is the luxury vehicle division of
Japanese car maker Toyota. The
Lexus marque is marketed in more than
70 countries and territories worldwide and has become Japan's
largest-selling make of premium cars. It has ranked among the 10
largest Japanese global brands in market value.
headquartered in Nagoya, Japan. Operational centers are located in
Brussels, Belgium and the U.S. in Plano, Texas.
Lexus originated from a corporate project to develop a new premium
sedan, code-named F1, which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch
Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan,
coupé, convertible and SUV models.
Lexus did not exist as a brand in
its home market until 2005, and all vehicles marketed internationally
Lexus from 1989 to 2005 were released in
Japan under the Toyota
marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the
RX crossover debuted and additional hybrid models later joined the
Lexus launched its own F marque performance
division in 2007 with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by
the LFA supercar in 2009.
Lexus vehicles are largely produced in Japan, with manufacturing
centered in the Chūbu and
Kyūshū regions, and in particular at
Toyota's Tahara, Aichi, Chūbu and Miyata, Fukuoka,
Assembly of the first
Lexus built outside the country, the Ontario,
Canada-produced RX 330, began in 2003. Following a corporate
reorganization from 2001 to 2005,
Lexus began operation of its own
design, engineering and manufacturing centers.
Since the 2000s,
Lexus has increased sales outside its largest market,
the United States. The division inaugurated dealerships in the
Japanese domestic market
Japanese domestic market in 2005, becoming the first Japanese premium
car marque to launch in its country of origin. The brand was
introduced in Southeast Asia, Latin America,
Europe and other regions.
The division's lineup also reflects regional differences for model and
Lexus is quickly becoming a strong competitor to BMW, Mercedes-Benz
Audi which are some of the best-selling luxury automobile brands
in the world.
1.1 1980s: The F1 project
1.2 1990s: Growth and expansion
1.3 2000s: Global reorganization
1.3.1 Hybrids and F models
1.4 2010s: Recent developments
2 Corporate affairs
2.3 US sales figures
2.4 Financial performance
3.1 Vehicle lineup
3.2 F marque
3.3 Model nomenclature
4 Design and technology
5.1 Assembly plants
5.2 Quality rankings
9 See also
11 External links
1980s: The F1 project
The brand was created around the same time as Japanese rivals Nissan
Honda developed their
Acura premium brands. The
Japanese government imposed voluntary export restraints for the U.S.
market, so it was more profitable for Japanese automakers to export
more expensive cars to the U.S.
Eiji Toyoda issued a challenge to build the
world's best car. The project, code-named F1 (“Flagship
One”) developed the
Lexus LS 400 to expand Toyota’s product
line in the premium segment. The F1 project followed the Toyota
Supra sports car and the premium
Toyota Mark II models. Both the
Supra and Mark II were rear-wheel drive cars with a powerful 7M-GE or
7M-GTE inline-six engine. The largest sedan
Toyota built at the time
was the limited-production, 1960s-vintage
Toyota Century, a domestic,
hand-built limousine, and V8-powered model, followed by the
Toyota Crown premium sedan. The Century was
conservatively styled for the Japanese market and along with the Crown
not slated for export after a restyle in 1982. The F1 designers
targeted their new sedan at international markets and began
development on a new V8 engine.
Lexus television debut with champagne glasses stacked on the hood of a
revving LS 400
Japanese manufacturers exported more expensive models in the 1980s due
to voluntary export restraints negotiated by the Japanese government
and U.S. trade representatives that restricted mainstream car
sales. In 1986,
Honda launched its
Acura marque in the U.S.,
influencing Toyota's plans for a luxury division. The initial
Acura model was an export version of the
Honda Legend, itself launched
Japan in 1985 as a rival to the
Toyota Crown, Nissan Cedric/Gloria
Mazda Luce. In 1987, Nissan unveiled its plans for a premium
brand, Infiniti, and revised its
Nissan President sedan in
standard wheelbase form for export as the
Infiniti Q45, which it
launched in 1990.
Mazda began selling the Luce as the
Mazda 929 in
North America in 1988 and later began plans to develop an upscale
marque to be called Amati, but its plans did not come to fruition.
Toyota researchers visited the U.S. in May 1985 to conduct focus
groups and market research on luxury consumers. During that time,
several F1 designers rented a home in
Laguna Beach, California
Laguna Beach, California to
observe the lifestyles and tastes of American upper class
consumers. Meanwhile, F1 engineering teams conducted prototype
testing on locations ranging from the German autobahn to U.S.
roads. Toyota’s market research concluded that a separate brand
and sales channel were needed to present its new sedan, and plans were
made to develop a new network of dealerships in the U.S. market.
In 1986, Toyota’s longtime advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi
formed a specialized unit, Team One, to handle marketing for the new
brand. Image consulting firm Lippincott & Margulies was hired
to develop a list of 219 prospective names; Vectre, Verone, Chaparel,
Calibre and Alexis were chosen as top candidates. While Alexis
quickly became the front runner, concerns were raised that the name
applied to people more than cars (being associated with the Alexis
Carrington character on the popular 1980s prime time drama
Dynasty). As a result, the first letter was removed and the
"i" replaced with a "u" to morph the name to Lexus.
LS 400 sedan launched in 1989
Theories of the etymology of the
Lexus name have suggested it is the
combination of the words "luxury" and "elegance," and that it is
an acronym for "luxury exports to the U.S." According to Team One
interviews, the brand name has no specific meaning and simply denotes
a luxurious and technological image. Prior to the release of the
first vehicles, database service
LexisNexis obtained a temporary
injunction forbidding the name
Lexus from being used because it might
cause product confusion. The injunction threatened to delay the
division's launch and marketing efforts. The U.S. appeals court
lifted the injunction, deciding that there was little likelihood of
confusion between the two products.
Lexus slogan, developed after Team One representatives
Lexus designers in
Japan and noted an obsessive attention to
detail, became "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection." The Lexus
logo was developed by Molly Designs and Hunter Communications.
The final design for the
Lexus logo featured a stylized “L” within
an oval, and according to Toyota, was rendered using a mathematical
formula. The first teaser ads featuring the
Lexus name and logo
appeared at the Chicago, Los Angeles and New York auto shows in
The F1 project was completed in 1989, involving 60 designers, 24
engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians, 220 support
workers, approximately 450 prototypes and more than $1 billion in
costs. The resulting car, the
Lexus LS 400, had a design that
shared no major elements with previous
Toyota vehicles, with a new 4.0
L V8 gasoline engine and rear-wheel drive. The car debuted in
January 1989 at the
North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show in
Detroit and sales of the vehicle began the following September at
a network of 81 new
Lexus dealerships in the U.S. The LS 400 was
sold along with the smaller ES 250, a rebadged version of the Japanese
Toyota Camry Prominent/
Toyota Vista. The launch of Lexus
was accompanied by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign.
1991 SC 400 coupe was the third
The LS 400 was praised for its quietness, well-appointed and ergonomic
interior, engine performance, build quality, aerodynamics, fuel
economy and value. However, it was criticized by some
automobile columnists for derivative styling and a suspension regarded
as too compromising of handling for ride comfort. In some
markets it was priced against mid-size, six-cylinder
BMW models. It was rated by
Car and Driver
Car and Driver magazine as better than
Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL and
BMW 735i in terms of ride,
handling and performance. The LS 400 also won motoring awards from
automotive publications including
Automobile Magazine and Wheels
Lexus quickly established customer loyalty and its
debut was generally regarded as a shock to existing luxury marques.
BMW's and Mercedes-Benz's U.S. sales figures dropped 29 percent and 19
percent, respectively, with
BMW executives accusing
Lexus of dumping
in that market, while 35 percent of
Lexus buyers traded in a Lincoln
In December 1989,
Lexus initiated a voluntary recall of all 8,000 LS
400s based upon two customer complaints over defective wiring and an
overheated brake light. A 20-day operation to replace the parts on
affected vehicles included technicians to pick up, repair and return
cars to customers free of charge, and also flying personnel and
renting garage space for owners in remote locations. This response
was covered in media publications and helped establish the marque's
early reputation for customer service.
By the end of 1989, a total of 16,392 LS 400 and ES 250 sedans were
sold in the four months following the U.S. launch. Although sales
had begun at a slower pace than expected, the final tally matched the
division's target of 16,000 units for that year. Following initial
models, plans called for the addition of a sports coupe along with a
redesigned ES sedan.
1990s: Growth and expansion
1998 RX 300, first
Lexus crossover SUV
In 1990, during its first full year of sales,
Lexus sold 63,594 LS 400
and ES 250 sedans in the U.S., the majority being the LS
model. That year,
Lexus also began limited exports to the United
Canada and Australia. In 1991, Lexus
launched its first sports coupe, the SC 400, which shared the LS
V8 engine and rear-wheel drive design. This was followed
by the second generation ES 300 sedan, which succeeded the ES 250 and
became Lexus' top seller. At the conclusion of 1991,
become the top-selling premium car import in the U.S., with
sales reaching 71,206 vehicles. That year,
Lexus ranked highest in
J.D. Power and Associates' studies on initial vehicle quality,
customer satisfaction and sales satisfaction for the first time.
The marque also began increasing U.S. model prices past those of
comparable American premium makes, but still below high-end European
models. By 1992, the LS 400's base price had risen 18 percent.
Lexus launched the mid-size GS 300 sports sedan, based on the
Toyota Aristo using the
Toyota "S" platform from the
which had sold for two years prior in Japan. The GS 300 was priced
below the LS 400 in the marque's lineup. That same year, Lexus
became one of the first marques to debut a certified pre-owned
program, with the aim of improving trade-in model values. The
marque introduced the second generation LS 400 in 1994. In May
1995, sales were threatened by the U.S. government's proposal of 100
percent tariffs on upscale Japanese cars in response to the widening
Japan trade deficit. SUVs were exempt from the proposed
sanctions. Normal sales operations resumed by late 1995 when the
Japanese auto manufacturers collectively agreed to greater American
investments and the tariffs were not enacted.
ES 300 was the best-selling
Lexus sedan in the 1990s
Lexus debuted its first sport utility vehicle, the LX
450, followed by the third generation ES 300 sedan. The marque's
plans for developing an SUV model had accelerated during the
Japan tariff discussions of 1995.
Lexus added the first
luxury-branded crossover SUV, the RX 300, and the second generation GS
300 and GS 400 sedans in 1998. The RX crossover targeted suburban
buyers who desired an upmarket SUV but did not need the LX's off-road
capability. It was particularly successful, eventually becoming
the marque's top-selling model ahead of the ES sedan. The same
Lexus made its debut in South America's most populous country
when it launched sales in Brazil. In 1999,
Lexus recorded its
1 millionth vehicle sold in the U.S. market and was ranked the
top-selling premium car maker in the U.S. overall.
2000s: Global reorganization
2004 RX 400h, first hybrid version of Lexus' best-selling vehicle
Lexus introduced the IS line, a series of entry-level sport
sedans. In 2001, the first convertible was introduced, as well as the
SC 430, a redesigned ES 300 and the third generation LS 430. The
GX 470 mid-size SUV debuted in 2002, followed by the second generation
RX 330 in 2003. The following year,
Lexus recorded its 2 millionth
U.S. vehicle sale, and the first luxury-branded production
hybrid SUV, the RX 400h. This vehicle used Toyota's Hybrid Synergy
Drive system that combined gasoline and electric motors.
Lexus completed an organizational separation from parent
company Toyota, with dedicated design, engineering, training, and
manufacturing centers working exclusively for the division.
This effort coincided with Lexus' launch in its home market of Japan
and an expanded global launch of the brand in markets such as
China. Executives aimed to increase
Lexus sales outside of its
largest market in the U.S. To accompany this expansion, next
Lexus vehicles were redesigned as "global models" for
international release. In the European market, where
long faced struggling sales owing to low brand recognition, few
dedicated dealerships, and 1990s import quotas, the marque
announced plans to introduce hybrid and diesel powertrains,
increase the number of
Lexus dealerships, and expand operations in
emerging markets such as Russia.
Lexus IS, second generation with F marque variant in 2007
Lexus' arrival in the Japanese market in July 2005 marked the first
introduction of a Japanese premium car marque in the domestic
market. New generation LS, IS, ES, GS, and RX models subsequently
became available in
Japan along with the SC 430, ending domestic sales
of Toyota-branded models under the Celsior, Altezza, Windom, Aristo,
Harrier, and Soarer nameplates, respectively. The Altezza and Aristo
were previously exclusive to Japanese
Toyota retail sales channels
Toyota Vista Store, the Windom was exclusive to
Store, the Celsior and Harrier were exclusive to Toyopet Store, and
the Soarer was previously available at both
Toyota Store and Toyopet
Lexus models sold in
Japan featured higher
specifications and a price premium compared with their discontinued
Toyota counterparts. Sales for the first half-year were slower
than expected, affected by the contraction of the domestic auto
market and price increases, but improved in subsequent months with
an expanded lineup.
Through the mid-2000s,
Lexus experienced sales successes in South
Korea and Taiwan, becoming the top-selling import make in both markets
in 2005; the marque also sold well in the Middle East, where
it ranked first or second among rivals in multiple countries, and
in Australia, where
Lexus reached third in luxury car sales in
2006. Division executives in 2006 announced an expansion goal
from 68 countries to 76 worldwide by 2010. By the end of the
decade, this expansion resulted in official launches in Malaysia and
South Africa in 2006, Indonesia in 2007, Chile in
2008, and the Philippines in 2009.
Hybrids and F models
Lexus began sales of the GS 450h, a V6 hybrid performance
sedan, and launched the fourth generation LS line, comprising both
standard- and long-wheelbase V8 (LS 460 and LS 460 L) and hybrid (LS
600h and LS 600h L) versions. The fifth generation ES 350 also
debuted in the same year. The LS 600h L subsequently went on sale as
the most expensive sedan ever produced in Japan. By the end of
2006, Lexus' annual sales had reached 475,000 vehicles worldwide.
In January 2007,
Lexus announced a new F marque performance division,
which would produce racing-inspired versions of its performance
models. The IS F, made its debut at the 2007 North American
International Auto Show, accompanied by a concept car, the LF-A.
2006 GS 450h, first rear-wheel drive hybrid
In October 2007,
Lexus entered the Specialty Equipment Market
Association show in the U.S. for the first time with the IS F, and
announced its F-Sport performance trim level and factory-sanctioned
accessory line. Increased emphasis on sporty models was an effort
to target rivals from Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M
divisions. Models such as the SC 400 and GS 400 had received
favorable reactions from sport luxury buyers, most
had been characterized as favoring comfort over sporty road feel and
handling, compared with European rivals. By the end of 2007, Lexus
annual worldwide sales had surpassed 500,000 vehicles, and the
marque ranked as the top-selling premium import in China for the first
time. The largest sales markets in order of size for 2007 were
the U.S., Japan, the UK, China, Canada, and Russia.
In 2008, amidst the late-2000s recession and a weakened world car
market, global sales fell 16 percent to 435,000, with
declines in markets such as the U.S. and
Europe where deliveries fell
by 21 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively. In 2009, the
marque launched the HS 250h, a dedicated hybrid sedan for North
America and Japan, the RX 450h, the second generation hybrid SUV
replacing the earlier RX 400h, and later that year debuted the
US$375,000 production LFA exotic coupe. In late 2009, citing
higher sales of hybrid models over their petrol
Lexus announced plans to become a hybrid-only
marque in Europe. By the end of the decade,
Lexus ranked as the
fourth-largest premium car make in the world by volume, and was
the number one selling premium car marque in the U.S. for 10
2010s: Recent developments
Lexus underwent a gradual sales recovery in North America and
Asia as the marque focused on adding hybrids and new model
derivatives. Sales in the U.S. held steady despite the 2009–2010
Toyota vehicle recalls, several of which included
The ES 350 and certain IS models were affected by a recall for
potentially jamming floor mats, while parent company
the brunt of negative publicity amid investigations over its series of
product recalls and problem rates per-vehicle. The
redesigned GX 460 was also voluntarily recalled in April 2010 for a
software update, one week after
Consumer Reports issued a
recommendation not to buy the SUV, citing a possible rollover risk
following the slow stability control response to a high-speed
emergency turn. Although the publication knew of no reported
incidents, the GX 460 received updated stability control
In late 2010 and early 2011,
Lexus began sales of the CT 200h, a
compact four-door hybrid hatchback designed for Europe, in multiple
markets. Sales of lower-displacement regional models were
also expanded, beginning with the ES 240 in China followed by the RX
270; Japan, Russia, and Taiwan were among markets which received model
variants intended for reduced emissions or import taxes. In
March 2011, the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami caused severe
disruption to Lexus' Japan-based production lines, hindering the
marque's near-term sales prospects. Lexus' U.S. executives stated
that due to vehicle shortages amidst close competition from BMW,
Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, the marque would not remain the country's
top-selling premium car brand.
2010 CT 200h, first
Cumulative sales results for 2011 indicated a 14 percent sales drop in
the U.S. market, along with sales increases of 40 percent and 27
Japan respectively, for a global sales
total of 410,000 units. Lexus' streak of 11 consecutive years as
the best-selling luxury marque in the U.S. ended that year, with the
title going to
BMW followed by Mercedes-Benz. While 45 percent of
Lexus sales in the U.S. in 2011 relied upon the RX luxury crossover
SUV, rival Mercedes-Benz's best-selling offering was the E-Class
mid-luxury sedan, which commands considerably higher prices.
Akio Toyoda vowed to restore passion to
the marque and further increase its organizational independence,
admitting that "...back then we did not regard
Lexus as a brand, but
as a distribution channel". As a result of Toyoda's organizational
Lexus senior managers report directly to the chairman for the
first time in the marque's history.
In January 2012, the marque began sales of the fourth generation GS
line, including GS 350 and
GS 450h variants, as well as a
lower-displacement GS 250 model for select markets. In April
2012, the sixth generation ES line, include ES 350 and ES 300h
variants, debuted at the New York International Auto Show.
In April 2014,
Lexus unveiled the five-seater NX crossover. The
vehicle features a very first for a
Lexus vehicle: a turbocharger. Its
nomenclature is denoted as the 200t. In August 2014,
it would be cutting its
Lexus spare parts prices in China by up to 35
percent. The company admitted the move was in response to a probe
foreshadowed earlier in the month by China's National Development and
Reform Commission of
Lexus spare parts policies, as part of an
industry-wide investigation into what the Chinese regulator considers
exorbitantly high prices being charged by automakers for spare parts
and after-sales servicing.
In March 2016,
Lexus announced that it will be producing a new
flagship vehicle: the two-door LC 500. The vehicle will be produced
for late 2017 in a V8 version putting out 467 horsepower. The LC 500h,
a V6 hybrid variant, could potentially become available in late 2017
or early 2018.
Total sales and production
Regional sales, 2011
Type production, 2010
Line production, 2010
Lexus International, headed by managing officer Tokuo Fukuichi,
coordinates the worldwide operations of Toyota's luxury
division. Other executives at Lexus' global headquarters,
located in Nagoya, Aichi, include Mark Templin, executive vice
Lexus International, and managers of the marque's
Japan Sales and Marketing and global Product and Marketing Planning
divisions. While organizationally separate from its parent
Lexus International reports directly to
executive officer Akio Toyoda.
In the U.S.,
Lexus operations are headed by Jeffrey Bracken, group
vice president and general manager of the U.S.
Lexus division, located
in Southern California. In Europe,
Lexus operations are headed by
Alain Uyttenhoven, vice president of
Lexus Europe, located in
Brussels. Companion design facilities are located in Southern
California and central Japan, with the head design studio
devoted entirely to
Lexus models in
Toyota City, Aichi.
Lexus sales operations vary in structure by region. In many markets,
such as the U.S., the dealership network is a distinct organization
from corporate headquarters, with separately owned and operated
Lexus showrooms. By contrast, in
Japan all 143 dealerships in the
country are owned and operated by Lexus. Several markets have a
designated, third party regional distributor; for example, in the
United Arab Emirates, sales operations are managed by Al-Futtaim
Motors LLC, and in Costa Rica,
Lexus vehicles are sold via
regional distributor Purdy Motors S.A. Other officially
sanctioned regional distributors have sold
Lexus models prior to the
launch of, or in absence of, a dedicated dealership network.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2017)
Lexus brand launched in the Indian market in 2017, with the
models RX450h, LX450d, LX570d, ES300h, NX, LS. Dealerships
in Mumbai, Delhi,
Bangalore became operational in March
2017, when the brand began sales in India. A second set of dealerships
will be in Chandigarh,
Chennai and will be operational
toward the end of 2017. This made
Lexus the fifth luxury brand to
be launched in India, after Mercedes-Benz, Porsche,
BMW and Audi.
Global sales of
Lexus vehicles reached an all-time high in 2007, with
a total of 518,000. Sales decreased in subsequent years due to the
effects of the 2008 recession and the Japanese tsunami of 2011.
Following this, sales recovered and reached a new high of 523,000 in
In 2014, the
Lexus brand set a new global sales record after selling
582,000 vehicles. This made
Lexus the fourth best selling luxury brand
in the world, trailing BMW,
Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Lexus College, training facility for dealers in Shizuoka, Japan
Global sales of
Lexus vehicles increased by 12 percent in 2015 to
reach another annual sales record with 652,000 units sold
Global cumulative sales of
Lexus brand hybrid electric cars reached
the 500,000 mark in November 2012. The 1 million sales
milestone was achieved in March 2016. The
Lexus RX 400h/RX 450h
ranks as the top selling
Lexus hybrid with 335,000 units delivered
worldwide as of March 2016[update], followed by the
Lexus CT 200h
with 267,000 units.
Lexus has not sold as well in Europe, where it suffers from smaller
brand recognition, image, and a less-developed dealership
network. In European markets, the
Lexus LS has ranked behind
Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and
BMW in flagship luxury car
Automotive analysts have suggested a possible rationale
for the sales disparity, in that European buyers place less emphasis
on vehicle reliability and have more brand loyalty to established
domestic marques. In contrast, the
Lexus LS has ranked second in
sales to the
Mercedes-Benz S-Class (and ahead of rivals from BMW,
Audi, and Jaguar) in markets outside Europe, such as South
US sales figures
Currently all of Lexus’s models for the US market are imported from
Japan, with the exception of the RX, which is also produced in
Ontario for North America. The RX midsized crossover is
Lexus’s best selling model in the United States, while the ES
mid-sized car is the most popular sedan in the line-up.
Sales (All models)
Market share (Percent / %)
Financial data of
Lexus operations are not disclosed publicly.
However, automotive analysts estimate that the
contributes a disproportionate share of Toyota's profits, relative to
its limited production and sales volume. Interviews with retired
division officials indicate that depending on sales volume, vehicle
product development cycles, and exchange rates,
Lexus sales have
accounted for as much as half of Toyota's annual U.S. profit in
certain years. Division executives have employed pricing
strategies aimed at sustaining profit margins rather than sales
volume, with historically fewer price incentives than rival
brands. In 2006,
Lexus entered Interbrand's list of the Top 100
Global Brands for the first time, with an estimated brand value of
approximately $3 billion annually. In 2009,
Lexus as Japan's seventh largest brand, between
Panasonic and Nissan,
based on revenue, earnings, and market value.
Further information: List of
Lexus lineup features sedans of different size classes,
including the compact IS and HS models, mid-size ES and GS models, and
the full-size LS. Convertibles include the IS C models. Sport-utility
vehicles range in size from the compact NX and RX crossover, to the
mid-size GX and the full-size LX. Hybrid models include the CT
hatchback, HS sedan, and variants of the GS, LS, and RX. The F
marque line produces a variant of the GS sedan, the RC coupe and the
Lexus F and
Lexus F marque emblem
Lexus produces its highest-performance models under its F marque
division. The name refers to Flagship and
Fuji Speedway in Japan,
whose first corner, 27R, inspired the shape of the "F" emblem. F
marque models are developed by the
Lexus Vehicle Performance
Development Division. The first F marque model, the IS F, went on
sale in 2007, followed by the LFA in 2009. A related F-Sport
performance trim level and factory-sanctioned accessory line is
available for standard
Lexus models such as the IS 250 and IS 350.
F-Sport succeeded an earlier in-house tuning effort, the TRD-based
L-Tuned, which had offered performance packages on the IS and GS
sedans in the early 2000s (decade).
The latest editions to the performance F marque include the
Lexus RC F
Lexus GS F.
Lexus production models are named alphanumerically using two-letter
designations followed by three digits. The first letter indicates
relative status in the
Lexus model range (ranking), and the
second letter refers to car body style or type (e.g. LS for
'luxury sedan'). The three digits indicate engine displacement in
liters multiplied by a factor of one hundred (e.g. 350 for a 3.5 L
engine). A space is used between the letters and numbers. The
same letter may be used differently depending on the model; 'S' can
refer to 'sedan' or 'sport' (e.g. in LS and SC), while 'X'
refers to 'luxury utility vehicle' or SUV. On hybrids, the
three digits refer to the combined gasoline-electric output. For
certain models, a lower case letter placed after the alphanumeric
designation indicates powerplant type ('h' for hybrid, 'd' for diesel,
't' for turbocharged), while capital letter(s) placed at the end
indicates a class subtype (e.g. 'L' for long-wheelbase, 'C' for
coupe, 'AWD' for all-wheel drive). On F marque models, the two-letter
designation and the letter 'F' are used with no numbers or hyphens
(e.g. IS F).
Design and technology
Remote Touch controller
Lexus design has traditionally placed an emphasis on targeting
specific vehicle development standards. Since the marque's
inception, design targets have ranged from aerodynamics and ride
quality to interior ergonomics. The backronym "IDEAL"
("Impressive, Dynamic, Elegant, Advanced, and Lasting") is used in the
development process. Each vehicle is designed according to
approximately 500 specific product standards, known as "
on criteria such as leather seat stitching. Design elements
from the marque's concept vehicle line, the LF series (including the
2003 LF-S and 2004 LF-C), have been incorporated in production
Vehicle cabins have incorporated electroluminescent Optitron
gauges, SmartAccess, a smart key entry and startup system,
and multimedia features. Beginning with the 2010 RX and HS models, the
Remote Touch system, featuring a computer mouse-like controller with
haptic feedback, was introduced; other models have featured
touchscreen controls (through the 2009 model year) as a navigation
screen interface. 2014 saw the introduction of the next version
of Lexus’ remote-touch innovations—the
Remote Touch Interface
Touchpad in the new RC Coupe.
Lexus became among the first premium car marques to equip
models with premium audio systems, in partnership with stereo firm
Nakamichi. Since 2001, optional surround sound systems are
offered via high-end audio purveyor Mark Levinson. For reduced
cabin noise, the first LS 400 introduced sandwich steel plating,
and later models added acoustic glass. In 2006, the LS 460
debuted the first ceiling air diffusers and infrared body temperature
sensors in a car.
Telematics services include
G-Link in Asia and
Lexus Enform in North America.
Eight-speed automatic transmission in the IS F and LS 460 Sport
Lexus incorporated the first production eight-speed automatic
transmission in an automobile with the LS 460, and the gearbox
was later adapted for the GS 460 and IS F models. Continuously
variable transmissions, regenerative brakes, and electric motors have
been used on all
Lexus hybrid models. In 2007,
signaled intentions to equip further models with hybrid
powertrains, catering to demands for a decrease in both carbon
pollution and oil reliance. Hybrid models have been
differentiated by separate badging and lighting technology; in 2008,
the LS 600h L became the first production vehicle to use LED
Safety features on
Lexus models range from stability and handling
programs (Vehicle Stability Control and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated
Management) to backup cameras, swivel headlights, and sonar
warning systems. The
Lexus Pre-Collision System (PCS) integrates
multiple safety systems. In 2007,
Lexus introduced the first car
safety systems with infrared and pedestrian detection capabilities,
lane keep assist, a
Driver Monitoring System
Driver Monitoring System with facial recognition
monitoring of driver attentiveness, and rear pre-collision whiplash
protection, as part of the LS 460 PCS. As a safety precaution,
Lexus GPS navigation systems in many regions feature a motion lockout
when the vehicle reaches a set speed; to prevent distraction,
navigation inputs are limited, while voice input and certain buttons
are still accessible. This safety feature has attracted criticism
because passengers cannot use certain functions when the vehicle is in
motion. Pre-2007 models came with a hidden manufacturer override
option, and updated European models allow operation in
2006 LS 600h and LS 600h L in hybrid form
Production models in development have included convertibles,
crossovers, and dedicated hybrids. Under the F marque, Lexus
plans to produce high-performance vehicles with its first expressions
being the IS F and the LFA.
Lexus officials have also discussed
standard production model usage of varying platforms. The LS uses
a dedicated platform, while the entry-level
Lexus ES had been
criticized for being too similar to the
Toyota Camry, with which it
shared platforms until its sixth generation, in both styling and
powertrain design. The
Nürburgring test track in Germany has
Lexus prototype testing.
Lexus introduced a new design language known as "L-finesse" in the
mid-2000s with its LF series concepts and the 2006
L-finesse is represented by three Japanese kanji characters which
translate as "Intriguing Elegance, Incisive Simplicity, and Seamless
Anticipation". Design characteristics, including a fastback
profile, lower-set grille, and the use of both convex and concave
surfaces, are derived from Japanese cultural motifs (e.g. the
phrase kirikaeshi in arrowhead shapes). While earlier Lexus
models were criticized for reserved and derivative styling, and often
mistaken for understated domestic market cars, automotive design
analyses described L-finesse as adding a distinctive nature and
embrace of Japanese design identity. Opinions varied for
L-finesse's debut on the GS; Sports Car International's analysis
praised the vehicle's in-person appearance; Automobile Magazine
criticized the daring of its forward styling, and compared
subsequent rival models for design similarities. In 2012, the
arrival of the redesigned fourth generation
Lexus GS featured the
introduction of a spindle-shaped grille design, intended to be used on
Lexus models. L-finesse exhibitions were
presented at Milan's
Salone del Mobile from 2005 through 2009.
Lexus models produced by the
Tahara plant in Aichi, Japan
Lexus vehicles were manufactured in Toyota's Tahara plant, a
highly sophisticated, computerized manufacturing plant in
Lexus production techniques include methods and
standards of quality control that differ from
At the Tahara plant, separate assembly lines were developed for Lexus
vehicles, along with new molds and specialized manufacturing
Welding processes, body panel fit tolerances, and
paint quality requirements are more stringent.
workers, typically veteran technicians, are identified via repeated
performance evaluations and ranked according to skill grade, with
limited applicants accepted. The highest level takumi (Japanese
for "artisan") engineers are responsible for maintaining production
standards at key points in the assembly process, such as testing
engine performance. Production vehicles are given visual
inspections for flaws, individually test-driven at high speeds, and
subjected to vibration tests.
Through the 2000s (decade), most
Lexus sedan and SUV production has
Japan at the
Tahara plant in Aichi and Miyata plant in
Fukuoka. In addition to the Tahara factory,
have been produced at the Miyata plant (
Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc.) in
Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Higashi Fuji plant (Kanto Auto Works, Ltd.) in
Susono, Shizuoka, and Sanage plant (
Toyota Boshoku Corp.; Araco) in
Toyota City, Aichi.
Front-wheel drive cars, such as the ES
and HS, are produced in the Fukuoka Prefecture. The Kokura plant
in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, which opened in 2008, is a dedicated hybrid
production site for
Lexus models such as the gasoline-electric
RX. The North American–market RX 350 (since the 2004 model
year) is produced at the Cambridge plant (
Toyota Canada, Inc.) in the
city of Cambridge, in Ontario, Canada, which is the first Lexus
production site located outside Japan. In late 2015,
Lexus started to
assemble North American-spec ES 350 sedans at the Georgetown plant
Assembly sites by model
Toyota Motor Corp.
Tahara, Aichi Prefecture
LS, GS, IS, GX, RC
Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc.
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
CT, HS, RX
Toyota Motor Kyushu, Inc.
Miyawaka, Fukuoka Prefecture
ES, IS, RX, NX
Toyota Motor Corp.
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture
Kanto Auto Works, Ltd.
Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture
Toyota Boshoku Corp.
Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc.(TMMC)
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc.
In the 2000s (decade),
Consumer Reports named
Lexus among the top five
most reliable brands in its Annual Car Reliability Surveys of over one
million vehicles across the U.S.
Lexus dealership showroom in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Lexus has become known for efforts to provide an upscale image,
particularly with service provided after the sale. The waiting areas
in service departments are replete with amenities, ranging from
refreshment bars to indoor putting greens. Dealerships
typically offer complimentary loaner cars or "courtesy cars" and free
car washes, and some have added on-site cafes and designer
boutiques. Service bays are lined with large picture windows
for owners to watch the servicing of their vehicle. In 2005,
Lexus also began reserving parking lots at major sporting arenas,
entertainment events, and shopping malls, with the only requirement
for free entry being the ownership of a
Lexus vehicle. An online
Lexus Magazine, features automotive and
lifestyle articles and is published online monthly and on a
Lexus has scored consecutive top ratings in the Auto
Express and 76,000-respondent Top Gear customer satisfaction
surveys in the UK.
Lexus has also repeatedly topped the
79,000-respondent J.D. Power Customer Service Index and Luxury
Institute, New York surveys in the U.S. As a result of service
satisfaction levels, the marque has one of the highest customer
loyalty rates in the industry. To improve customer service,
employees are instructed to follow the "
Lexus Covenant," the marque's
founding promise (which states that "
Lexus will treat each customer as
we would a guest in our home"), and some dealerships have
incorporated training at upscale establishments such as Nordstrom
department stores and
Lexus campaigned at the 24 Hours Nürburgring
Lexus first entered the motorsport arena in 1999 when its racing unit,
Team Lexus, fielded two GS 400 race vehicles in the Motorola Cup
North American Street Stock Championship touring car series. In its
1999 inaugural season, Team
Lexus achieved its first victory with its
sixth race at Road Atlanta. Led by
Sports Car Club of America
Sports Car Club of America and
International Motor Sports Association
International Motor Sports Association driver Chuck Goldsborough,
based in Baltimore, Maryland, Team
Lexus capitalized on the debut
of the first generation
Lexus IS by entering three IS 300s in the
third race of the 2001
Grand-Am Cup season at Phoenix, Arizona.
Lexus won its first IS 300 victory that year at the Virginia
International Raceway. In 2002, Team Lexus' competitive efforts
Grand-Am Cup ST1 (Street Tuner) class achieved victories in the
Drivers' and Team Championships, as well as a sweep of the
top three finishes at
Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada.
After the release of the
Lexus brand in the Japanese domestic market
Lexus sanctioned the entry of four SC 430 coupes in the Super
GT series of the All
Japan Grand Touring Car Championship in the GT500
class. In the first race of the 2006 series, an SC 430 took the
chequered flag, and drivers
André Lotterer and Juichi Wakisaka
raced the SC 430 to capture the GT500 championship for that year.
In 2007, another SC 430 won the GT500 opening round race. In
Lexus raced a hybrid vehicle for the first time, entering a GS
450h performance hybrid sedan in partnership with Sigma Advanced
Racing Development at the 24 Hours of Tokachi race in Hokkaido,
Canada also entered the
GS 450h in 2007's Targa
Newfoundland event. In 2009,
Super GT Team SC 430 and IS
350 racers won the GT500 and GT300 championships, respectively.
In 2006, 2007, and 2008,
Lexus won the Rolex Sports Car Series
Lexus' participation in endurance racing further includes the Rolex 24
Hours of Daytona, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing
Association. After entering the
Rolex Sports Car Series
Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004, Lexus
has won over 15 Rolex Series event races. In 2005,
runner-up, and in 2006, it won the championship. Although Toyota
has won this race in the past, it was the first time that its luxury
arm emerged as the winner. In 2007, six Lexus-powered Daytona
prototypes were entered in the Rolex
24 Hours of Daytona
24 Hours of Daytona event at the
Daytona International Speedway.
Lexus was a repeat winner of the
event, with a Lexus-Riley prototype driven by Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo
Salvador Durán of
Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi Racing finishing first;
Lexus-Riley prototypes also took three of the top ten spots. In
Lexus won its third consecutive win at Daytona. For the
Lexus departed from the Rolex Sports Car Series, and
Ganassi Racing switched to BMW/Dinan engines.
The LF-A prototype also competed on the
Nürburgring from 2008 to 2011
VLN endurance races and in the 24 Hours Nürburgring, also
with the IS F. On May 14, 2011, a CT 200h tuned up by Gazoo
Racing competed in the Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy, a six-hour
3GT Racing, a partnership of
Lexus and Paul Gentilozzi, entered two
Lexus RC F GT3 at the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Lexus 2054, a concept model produced for the film Minority Report
From its inception,
Lexus has been advertised to luxury consumers
using specific marketing strategies, with a consistent motif used for
the marque's advertisements. Beginning in 1989, television ads were
narrated by actor
James Sloyan (the voice of "Mr. Lexus" until
2009), and accompanied by vehicles that performed unusual
stunts onscreen. The first decade of
(1989–99) consisted primarily of disjunctive verbal descriptions,
such as "relentless," "pursuit," and "perfection," while vehicles
were used to claim superiority in precision, idling, and interior
quiet and comfort on camera. Examples included the champagne
glass "Balance" (1989) and rolling "Ball Bearing" (1992). In the
2000s (decade), commercials included descriptions of features, or
a narration of the events onscreen, and were often targeted at the
marque's German competitors. An annual "December to Remember"
campaign featured scenes of family members surprising loved ones with
the gift of a new Lexus. The marque returned to the champagne
glass theme in a 2006 LS 460 spot showing the sedan maneuvering
between two stacks of glasses using its self-parking system, and in a
2010 LFA spot showing its engine sound shattering a glass via
Lexus LFA Crystallised Wind, a full-size glass art model
Industry observers have attributed Lexus' early marketing successes to
higher levels of perceived quality and lower prices than competitors,
which have enabled the marque to attract customers upgrading from
mass-market cars. A reputation for dependability, bolstered by
reliability surveys, also became a primary factor in attracting new
customers from rival premium makes.
Lexus has since grown to
command higher price premiums than rival Japanese makes, with new
models further increasing in price and reaching the more than $100,000
ultra-luxury category long dominated by rival European
Automotive analysts have also noted Lexus' relative newcomer status as
a marketing challenge for the brand, although some have debated
the requirement of a long history. European rivals have
marketed their decades of heritage and pedigree, whereas Lexus'
reputation rests primarily upon its perceived quality and shared
history with parent company Toyota. Several analysts have stated
Lexus will have to develop its own heritage over time by
highlighting technological innovations and producing substantial
Lexus' marketing efforts have extended to sporting and charity event
sponsorships, including the U.S. Open tennis Grand Slam event from
2005 to 2009, and the United States Golf Association's U.S. Open, U.S.
Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, and
U.S. Amateur tournaments since
Lexus has organized an annual Champions for Charity
golf series in the U.S. since 1989. Endorsement contracts have
also been signed with professional athletes Andy Roddick, Annika
Sörenstam, and Peter Jacobsen.
Lexus has run the video website L Studio. Shows on L
Studio include Web Therapy.
Lexus unveiled its new "Experience Amazing" tagline in the U.S. in a
60-second advertisement at the February 2017 Super Bowl LI. The
new tagline replaced Lexus's previous slogan, "The Pursuit of
On March 30, 2018,
Lexus premiered a fake partnership with 23 and Me
during a spot on Saturday Night Live, for a pretend program that
allows buyers to customize vehicles based on their DNA, as an April
Fool's Day joke.
The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection (2001-2010)
The Pursuit of Perfection (2010-2016)
Experience Amazing (2017–present)
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