Lexus is a relatively young brand and has only been around since 1989. Toyota wanted to introduce a new brand in Europe and America that competed with Mercedes and BMW.
How do you come up with a name for your new brand? The Toyota ad agency came up with Vectre, Verone, Chaparel and Caliber, as well as Alexis. Alexis was too associated with in the 80s Dynastycharacter Alexis Colby (played by Joan Collins) and so, after some shuffling, Lexus was born.
Other Japanese brands also came up with new names for their luxury cars around that time: expensive Hondas were called Acura and chic Nissans were sold as Infiniti.
The first model introduced to Europe and the US was the Lexus LS, which was sold in Japan itself as Toyota Celsior. Toyota started developing the LS in 1983 (code name: F1; Flagship 1), it was supposed to be the best car in the world. Toyota left nothing to chance to make the LS a success: a house was rented in California to see how the American jet set lived. The LS could cost something: 60 designers, 1400 engineers and 2300 technicians bent over the first Lexus, 450 prototypes appeared and the costs exceeded the billion.
The immediate success of Lexus in the US was no coincidence: thanks to special export regulations, a luxury limo from Japan was hardly more expensive than a mid-sized car. More than half of Lexus models are sold in the US.
Lexus employs specialized people who check the paint and have to re-examine it four times a year. Just as Lexus also has qualified masseurs call in to make the chair massage resemble a real massage as much as possible.
The GS was offered in Japan as Toyota Aristo, the ES as Toyota Wisdom and the IS as Toyota Altezza. Only since 2005 are the models in our own country with the Lexus logo in the showroom.
BMW has M, Mercedes has AMG. At Lexus, the sporty models get an F after the name. With the LFA (the A stands for apex) with V10 engine, Lexus made a resounding entry into the supercar segment in 2009: 560 hp, 0-100 in 3.7 s and a top speed of 325 km/h. The ten-cylinder of the LFA sounds excruciatingly beautiful.
The first SUV with a hybrid drive was the LX 400h from 2004. In the Netherlands, the CT caught on for a short time, due to tax and addition benefits. This makes it the best-selling Lexus overall for us. After more than thirty years, Europe is still not warm to Lexus, with less than 50,000 cars sold per year.
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