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Lexus

Lexus is the division of Toyota automobile company that produces luxurious and premium autos. It’s headquartered in Nagoya, Japan.

Origins

By the 80s, Toyota cars were already known as reliable, safe, and high-quality vehicles. However, they weren’t associated with prestige and elegance, and such a problem annoyed Toyota administration. Such a state of affairs prompted them to take on this very segment with an all-new brand created especially for this purpose. Lexus was meant to challenge the best autos in the world.

Interestingly, the largest Japanese automakers did the same in the 80s presumably for the same reason: Honda introduced Acura, Nissan – Infinity.

Name

More than 200 brand names had been considered before favourites were singled out: Verone, Vectre, Calibre, Alexis, and some others. In the long run, Alexis was chosen as the most appropriate. If it weren’t associated with Alexis Colby, the main antagonist in Dynasty TV soap opera that was aired at that time, we’d know such a marque as Alexis. However, the decision was made to modify it. Along with the brand’s name, the motto was made up – ‘The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection’.

The First Creation - The LS 400

Lexus engineers were given a task to design a luxurious auto that would make driving pleasant; the car should have been much better than the best cars constructed in Europe but cheaper.

In 1989, at the North American International Auto Show, the LS 400 (a luxury sedan with a 4-litre engine) and the ES 250 (an executive sedan with a 2.5-litre engine) models were unveiled.

The LS 400 didn’t yield to European luxury sedans. Its interior was made of genuine leather; the Pioneer and Nakamichi audio systems were built in; the car had excellent driving performance due to a 4-litre 1UZ-FE engine that was especially developed by Toyota. The same model in the Toyota line-up was the Celsior. A spectre of the LS 400’s advantages wasn’t unnoticed: the car was awarded the title of the best car of the year 1990 by the Car & Driver magazine; Motoring Press Association called it the best imported car of the year.

The SC400

In 1991, Lexus introduced the SC 400 (a sports coupe). It was designed in the same studio as the LS 400 and was equipped with the same engine. The SC 400 had a 4-speed automatic transmission and was available as the SC 300, with a 3-litre motor. In Japan, this model was turned out as the Toyota Soarer.

The same year, the ES 300 was launched and the LS 400 was improved.

With all these models, Lexus became the leading importer of luxurious autos in the US leaving its main rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, far behind.

Other Models

In 1993, the GS 300, designed by master Giorgetto Giugiaro, made its debut.

1996 saw the first SUV by Lexus, the LX 450, which became the best seller in two months overcoming even Range Rover. Just in a year, another SUV, the LX 470, was unveiled.

1999 was particularly marked with the IS 200 compact sports sedan (the Japanese analogue is the Toyota Altezza). Also, Lexus maintained the leading position in the J. D. Power and Associates rating five years already at that time.

The new millennium was entered with two modernized versions, the IS 300 and the LS 430. The latter was state-of-the-art: a navigation system, 5-speed automatic transmission, interior made of leather and nutwood, 4300 cc 280 hp V8 engine that reached 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.

In 2001, the IS 300 SportCross, the IS 300 Manual Transmission, and the ES 300 were rolled out. They were followed by the GX 470 (the Japanese analogue is the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado). Currently, Lexus line-up includes the CT, GS, LS, IS, RX, NX, and the RCF models.

Interesting Facts

- A million of Lexus autos was sold in 10 years while it took just 5 years to market the second million.

- Lexus opened its representative offices all over the world. Ironically, it didn’t have one at home until 2005.

- Lexus is the largest premium manufacturer of hybrid vehicles in the world.

- The first 8-speed automatic transmission was made by Lexus engineers in 2006.

- Lexus advertisements have been voiced exclusively by James Sloyan from the very beginning, since 1989.

- Before each Lexus car is shipped from the factory, it undergoes a checkout of 500 requirements.

- Lexus built a car for the main character in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Minority Report’ (2002).

- Paul McCartney’s custom-made LS 600h was manufactured without any materials of animal origin used.

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