The History of Lexus
A Quick Overview Of Lexus History
Updated September 2, 2018
The history of Lexus can be traced back to 1986, when the unrelated Honda Motor Company introduced a lineup through a new luxury division by the name of Acura. The two vehicles that Acura offered showed very strong sales for the first years in the American market. With the success of Acura, Toyota and Nissan both planned to introduce their very own luxury division with Toyota introducing Lexus and Nissan introducing Infiniti.
Lexus would first make it to the United States market in 1989 with the debut of the Lexus LS. The Lexus LS 400 was the culmination of over 450 prototypes as well as 24 engineer teams and 60 designers to complete the LS which would share no major components with any previous vehicle offered by Toyota including the new 4.0 L V-8 engine. The model could be considered as the most significant moment in the history of Lexus,successfully launching the platform in the US and sparking a new trend.
The vehicle would start selling in September of 1989 through a network of 81 dealerships that were all independent from Toyota dealerships. Lexus would also need to launch a second more affordable vehicle which would be the Lexus ES 250. The ES 250 would be heavily based upon the current Toyota Camry model with only minor changes in the front fascia as well as badges and interior. Lexus LS 400 would receive almost instantaneous recognition for being an incredible value over its competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz S-class and BMW 7-series at the time. The company built up a reputation for being a dependable and affordable luxury vehicle with excellent customer service and would sell over 16,000 vehicles its first year and nearly 64,000 vehicles in the company’s second year. This would help bring attention to the company as it entered the 1990s.
In 1991 Lexus wanted to introduce an affordable luxury sport coupe known as the Lexus SC 400 which would be based with the 4.0 L V-8 engine from the current LS 400 and started a new trend in vehicle design for Lexus as the car utilize molded shape design giving the prototype an actual three-dimensional model instead of the traditional two-dimensional drawings that were standard of the time of design for Lexus. The SC 400 would receive several accolades and bring even more attention to the Lexus name for being an affordable luxury option. Later in the year Lexus would introduce redesigned ES 300. This vehicle continued to be based on the Toyota Camry yet offered a much sleeker front fascia as well as more amenities in the cabin. At the end of 1991 Lexus sold over 71,000 vehicles making it out rank Acura for highest selling imported premium car. In 1991 Lexus would also start exporting its vehicles under the Lexus name for the first time to the European market as well as Canada and Australia.
In 1993 Lexus would launch its midsize model that was based on the Toyota Aristo named the GS 300. The GS 300 was the first midsize release in the history of Lexus and was to marketed as midsize luxury model that offered sporty driving and would be placed in between the current ES 300 and LS 400 Lexus vehicles. In 1996 Lexus would introduce its first luxury sport utility vehicle based on the Toyota Land Cruiser and would be named the Lexus LX 450. At the same time Lexus would also be introducing a redesign of their now top seller for Lexus, the ES 300. In 1998 Lexus would introduce a smaller SUV targeted at individuals that wanted something smaller and did not need the off-road capabilities of the larger LX 450. The vehicle Lexus introduced with the RX 300 which would be the company’s first crossover vehicle. It was also the same year that Lexus would introduce its next generation GS 300 and GS 400 vehicles.
Modern Lexus History
In 2000 Lexus with debut a smaller sport sedan of the GS models known as the Lexus IS and was based upon the Japanese version of the Toyota Altezza and utilized an 3.0 L in-line six cylinder engine used in the current Lexus SC 300 and was targeted at the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class. In 2005 Lexus would bring the luxury division to the Japanese market for the first time thus renaming several of the current Toyota models available at the time. Lexus would also be expanding its company throughout many different international markets therefore raising the overall sales for the company. Each market that Lexus entered would soon see the company rise to either first or second place in luxury imports. Today Lexus vehicles are now available in over 70 different countries and territories and just in the United States market, Lexus sales over 200,000 vehicles annually.
In 2006 Lexus began developing hybrid versions of its vehicles starting with its flagship LS model. Lexus would also be looking into developing its own performance lineup of vehicles which would be branded with the F marque such as the company’s first performance production model the IS-F. The Lexus IS-F and was soon followed by the introduction of the first Lexus supercar known as the LF-A.
Today Lexus offers a broad variety of vehicles in nearly every single niche luxury automobiles. The company offers four different models of sedans including the Lexus IS, ES, GS, and LS. For SUVs Lexus offers the RX, GX, and LX models. For hybrids the company offers five different models including the CT-h, HS-h, RX-h, GS-h, LS-h. For performance F-models Lexus offers the IS-F and LF-A. And for convertibles the company produces the IS-C. The Lexus name still continues to receive accolades as well as their vehicles as a test well with consumer testing companies. Lexus also continues to be the number one selling Japanese luxury auto manufacturer with Acura and Infiniti behind it.
Categories: Production Cars