The History of Lexus

Lexus is the brand under which the Japanese company Toyota Motor produces luxury cars. Originally developed for the U.S. market, but now it is sold in more than 70 countries around the world. The headquarters is located in Nagoya, Japan.

The history of the brand begins in 1983, when Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda set out to create the world's best executive car. After the fuel crisis that echoed in the '70s, customers' eyes were once again turned to the premium segment, which showed steady growth from year to year. This trend was especially pronounced in the United States. There, Toyota Motor had already established itself as a manufacturer of reliable and quality vehicles. However, the segment of luxury cars was not covered, and the Japanese car company was not going to give up such an attractive part of the market.

Before launching Lexus on the market, the company engaged in extensive market research and a long design process. Toyota was divided on the choice of name: some suggested launching luxury cars under the new brand, while others saw the sense in keeping the Toyota name to attract customers to cheaper models as well.

The Japanese automaker conducted extensive research into the luxury car market. During 1985, designers and developers rented a house in Laguna Beach, California, to study the tastes and lifestyles of premium car buyers. The conclusion was that a new name and new sales channels were needed to successfully promote the brand.

In 1986, the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, a longtime Toyota partner, created a special Team One division to create and further promote the new brand. The consulting company Lippincott & Margulies prepared a list of 219 names, from which the best ones were chosen - Vectre, Verone, Chaparel, Calibre and Alexis. The latter became the top choice, but there were concerns about the frequent use of Alexis Carrington as a name for people, as well as the character in the popular Dynasty TV series Alexis Carrington. It was then slightly transformed, getting Lexus.

In 1989, after lengthy development involving 60 designers, 24 engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 mechanics, 220 support staff, 450 prototypes produced and more than $1 billion in investment, the project was completed. The result was an impressive and out-of-this-world Lexus LS 400 with a unique design, a new 4-liter V8 engine and rear-wheel drive.

The model debuted in January 1989 at the Detroit Auto Show. The car went on sale in September of that year through a network of 81 dealers. The Lexus launch was accompanied by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign on television and in the print media.

The debut LS 400 was praised for its handling, generous equipment, ergonomic interior, excellent aerodynamics, and fuel efficiency, though some auto reviewers criticized it for its suspension, which did not provide the level of ride comfort expected of cars in this class.

Car and Driver magazine noted that the Lexus LS 400 outperformed the Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL and BMW 735i in terms of ride, handling, and performance. The Motoring Press Association named it the best imported car of the year, and J.D. Power and Associates gave it the top spot in its ranking. The new brand's entry into the U.S. market came as a real shock to German automakers, especially BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which lost 29 percent and 19 percent of sales, respectively. Do not forget to use Lexus VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.

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