slogan = The Pursuit of Perfection
location = flagicon|Japan
Toyota, Aichi, Japan
key_people= Kiyotaka Ise (Managing Officer) Vince Socco (VP, Asia Pacific) Andy Pfeiffenberger (VP, EU) Mark Templin (VP, USA)
parent= Toyota Motor Corporation
homepage= [http://www.lexus.com/ Lexus.com] [http://www.lexus.eu/ Lexus.eu] [http://lexus.jp Lexus.jp]
nihongo|Lexus|Japanese: レクサス,|Rekusasu is the
luxury vehicledivision of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in the United States, where Lexus has become the highest-selling make of luxury cars, today Lexus brand namevehicles are available throughout the world. In 2005, the Lexus marque launched in Japan, marking the continued global expansion of the luxury division.
Lexus originated from a clandestine flagship sedan project which began in 1983.Dawson, Chester (2004). "Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit", p.4. John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd., Singapore. ISBN 0470821108.] [Mahler 2004, p. 27] This effort developed into the original Lexus LS, which was the first vehicle to wear the Lexus marque upon its launch in 1989.May 2006, p. 43] In following years, Lexus added sedan,
coupe, and SUV models. Hybrid drivetrains arrived in 2005,cite web|url=http://www.dailynews.com/search/ci_3076458|title=Lexus introduces first luxury hybrid SUV|date=2005-10-26|publisher=Associated Press|last=Job|first=Ann|accessdate=2008-06-21] and the F-marque performance division debuted in 2007.cite web|url=http://www.thecarconnection.com/Auto_News/Daily_Auto_News/Auto_News/Lexus_Confirms_F_Performance_Cars.S175.A11531.html|title=Lexus Confirms “F” Performance Cars|date=2006-12-11|publisher=The Car Connection|last=Padgett|first=Marty|accessdate=2007-05-06] From the start of production, Lexus vehicles have been consistently produced in Japan,Mahler 2004, p. 182] with manufacturing centered in the Chūbuand Kyūshūregions.cite web|url=http://lexus.com/about/corporate/manufacturing.html |title=Lexus Manufacturing|publisher=Lexus.com|accessdate=2007-05-06] Assembly of the first Lexus built outside the country, the Ontario, Canada-produced RX, began in 2003.
Since 1989, Lexus has developed a reputation for vehicle
reliabilityand customer service,cite web|url=http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2006119|title=Lexus Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service|date=2006-07-20|accessdate=2007-09-18|publisher= J.D. Power and Associates] as measured by independent surveys. In 2007, consumer ratings firm J.D. Power and Associatesnamed Lexus the most reliable brand in the U.S. for the thirteenth year based on its Vehicle Dependability Survey, a measure of over 53,000 vehicle owners and problems experienced in the first three years of vehicle ownership. [cite web|url=http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2006133|title=Lexus and Toyota Models Rank Highest|date=2006-08-09|accessdate=2007-05-06|publisher= J.D. Power and Associates] [cite web|url=http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2007130|title=Lexus Brand Ties for Highest Rank in Vehicle Dependability|date=2007-08-09|accessdate=2007-08-09|publisher= J.D. Power and Associates] In recent years, " Consumer Reports" has also named Lexus among the top five most reliable brands in its Annual Car Reliability Surveys of over one million vehicles across the U.S. [cite web|url=http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cu-press-room/pressroom/archive/2006/04/eng0604rel.htm|title=Lexus Ranked First in Predicted Reliability for 2006 Models|date=2006-03|accessdate=2008-07-30|publisher= Consumer Reports]
Lexus' slogan is "The Pursuit of Perfection".
The F1 project
In 1983, Toyota Chairman
Eiji Toyodasummoned a secret meeting of company executives, to whom he posed the question, “Can we create a luxury vehicle to challenge the world's best?” [Dawson 2004, p. 5] This question prompted Toyota to embark on a top-secret project, codenamed F1 (“Flagship” and “No. 1 vehicle”). [ May 2006, p. 42] The F1 project, which eventually became known as the Lexus LS 400, aimed to develop a luxury car that would expand Toyota’s product line, giving it a foothold in the premium segment and offering both longtime and new customers an upmarket product.cite web|url=http://www.autolinedetroit.tv/autoline/watch.php?stream=927|title=How Lexus Was Successful in the U.S. (interview)|year=2006|type=WMV|last=Press|first=Jim|accessdate=2006|publisher=Auto Line Detroit] The F1 project followed the success of the Toyota Suprasports car and the luxury Toyota Cressidamodels. [White, John. New Route for Japanese Cars: Luxury. "Boston Globe" (1989-10-23)] Both the Supra and Cressida were rear-wheel drivecars with a powerful "7M-GE"/"7M-GTE" engine. The U.S. launch of the Acuramarque by Hondathree years prior also influenced Toyota in its plans for a luxury division.Dawson 2004, p. 109] Around this same time, Nissan would unveil plans to create its own luxury division, Infiniti, while Mazdaalso considered developing a luxury division.Dawson 2004, p. 72, 116]
Toyota researchers visited the U.S. in May 1985 to conduct focus groups and market research on luxury consumers.Dawson 2004, p. 35, 41] That summer, several F1 designers rented a home in
Laguna Beach, California, to observe the lifestyles and tastes of American upper-class consumers. Toyota’s market research concluded that a separate brand and sales channel was needed to present its new luxury flagship, and plans were made to develop a new network of dealerships in the U.S. market. [ Morgan & Liker, p. 121]
In 1986, Toyota’s longtime advertising agency
Saatchi & Saatchiformed a specialized unit, Team One, to handle marketing for the new luxury brand. [Dawson 2004, p. 109] 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.Mahler 2004, p. 56-57] While Alexis quickly became the front runner (also associated with the Alexis Carringtoncharacter on the popular 1980s primetime drama "Dynasty") and later morphed to Lexus, the name has been attributed to the combination of the words "luxury" and "elegance." [cite web|url=http://www.forbes.com/facesinthenews/2005/07/26/toyota-lexus-autos-cx_cn_0726autofacescan02.html
title=Watanabe's Toyota Rolls Out Lexus In Japan|date=2005-07-26|publisher=Forbes|last=Noon|first=Chris|accessdate=2008-06-05] According to Team One interviews, the name has no specific meaning and simply denotes a luxurious and technological image, although Lexus in Australia claim the original name is short for Luxury Export to United States. (LExUS).
Just prior to the release of the first vehicles, database service
LexisNexisobtained a temporary injunction forbidding the name Lexus from being used as they stated it might cause confusion.Dawson 2004, p. 128-130] Upon reflection, the court lifted the injunction, deciding that there was a low likelihood of confusion between the two products.
The original Lexus slogan, developed after Team One representatives visited Lexus designers in Japan and noted their obsessive attention to detail, became "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection." [Dawson 2004, p. 113-114]
The Lexus logo was developed by Molly Designs and Hunter Communications. [cite web|url=http://www.mollydesigns.com/history.html |title=Molly Designs history, Lexus logo design|publisher=Molly Designs|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.huntercommunications.com/HCmain/company.html|title=Hunter Communications, final Lexus logo design|publisher=Hunter Communications|accessdate=2007-05-06] The final design for the Lexus logo featured a stylized “"L"” within an oval, and according to Toyota was rendered using a precise mathematical formula. The first teaser ads featuring the Lexus name and logo, designed by Team One, appeared at the Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York auto shows in 1988. [Dawson 2004, p. 115]
In 1989, after an extended development process involving 60 designers, 24 engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians, 220 support workers, around 450 prototypes, and over $1 billion in costs, the F1 project was completed. [Dawson 2004, p. 24] The resulting flagship, the Lexus LS 400, had a unique
design, sharing no major elements with previous Toyota vehicles, with a new 4.0 L V8gasoline engine and rear-wheel drive. [Dawson 2004, p. xxi, 69] Mahler 2004, p. 31] Testing locations for the LS 400 included the German autobahn.cite web|url=http://www.edmunds.com/lexus/history.html|title=Edmunds.com Lexus Overview|publisher=Edmunds.com|accessdate=2008-06-20]
The LS 400 debuted in January 1989 at the
North American International Auto Showin Detroit. The following September, Lexus vehicles officially went on sale at a network of 81 new Lexus dealerships across the U.S. [May 2006, p. 47] The LS 400 was sold along with a smaller sibling, the Toyota Camry-based ES 250. The launch of Lexus was heralded by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign in both television and print media.Dawson 2004, p. 117-118] Lexus subsequently began sales in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, and Australiastarting in 1990. [Long, 2001, p. 41-42]
The LS 400 was widely praised for its silence, well-appointed and
ergonomic interior, engine performance, build quality, aerodynamics, fuel economy, and value,Dawson 2004, p. 68-76] though it was criticized by some automobile columnists for anonymous styling and a suspension regarded as too compromising of handling for ride comfort.Dawson 2004, p. 72-76] The LS 400 debuted at $38,000 in the U.S. (in some markets, it was priced against mid-sized six cylinder Mercedes-Benzand BMWmodels),cite web|url=http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=115368|title=Lexus LS 400, LS 430 and LS 460 Generations: Setting the Standard in the Most Comfortable Way Possible|accessdate=2007-04-08|format=HTML|publisher=Edmunds.com|date=2003-03-13] and was rated by " Car and Driver" magazine as better than both the $63,000 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL and the $55,000 BMW 735i in terms of ride, handling and performance.cite web|url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,971153-1,00.html|title="Zen and the Art of Automotive Maintenance"|date=1990-09-17|accessdate=2007-04-29|last=Detroit|first=S.C. Gwynne|publisher= Time Magazine] It was generally regarded as a major shock to the European marques; BMW and Mercedes-Benz's U.S. sales figures dropped 29% and 19%, respectively, with the then-BMW chairman Eberhard von Kuenheim accusing Lexus of dumping in that market. The LS 400 also won several major motoring awards when released. [Davis, David E. 1990 All-Stars, "Automobile Magazine," January 1990.] cite web|url=http://www.alsayeronline.com/lexuse/lexushistory.asp|title=Lexus awards history|year=2007|accessdate=2007-05-15]
In 1990, during its first full-year of sales, Lexus sold 63,594 LS 400 and ES 250 sedans in the U.S.,Dawson 2004, p. 139-141] the vast majority being of the LS model. By 1991, sales had increased to 71,206 cars in the U.S. market, making Lexus the top-selling luxury import in the U.S.cite web|url=http://pressroom.lexus.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2006091195844|title=Lexus History (timeline)|accessdate=2007-05-06] That same year, Lexus earned first place in J.D. Power’s studies on initial vehicle quality, customer satisfaction, and sales satisfaction. [Dawson 2004, p. 75]
Growth and expansion
Lexus introduced two new models in June and September 1991, the SC 400 coupe and ES 300 sedan. The SC 400 (designed in tandem with the Japanese market
Toyota Soarer) shared the LS 400’s V8 engine and rear-wheel drive design, while the ES 300 replaced the ES 250 and became Lexus’ best-selling sedan.Dawson 2004, p. 141-146] The GS series came to America in 1993, based on the Toyota Aristo, which had sold for two years prior in Japan. In 1994, Lexus introduced the second generation LS 400, a complete redesign of the flagship model. [Long 2001, p. 89]
In 1996, Lexus added its first luxury sport utility vehicle, the LX 450. [Long 2001, p. 105-107] Two years later, Lexus debuted the first luxury
crossover SUV, the RX 300, the second generation of the GS 300/GS 400 sedans and a new entry-level sedan, the IS 300. The RX quickly became Lexus' best-selling model, displacing the ES, the previous best-seller.Dawson 2004, p. 171-172] In 1999, Lexus recorded its one-millionth vehicle produced for the U.S. market, and ranked as the top-selling luxury automobile make in the United States overall. In 2001, Lexus introduced its first convertible, the SC 430, and the third generation LS 430. [Mahler 204, p. 27, 196]
In 2005, Lexus expanded its lineup with the debut of the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV, the RX 400h. [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_17/b3930141_mz070.htm |title=Lexus RX 400h|publisher=
BusinessWeek|date=2005-04-25|accessdate=2007-05-06] The vehicle's Lexus Hybrid Drivesystem combined gas and electric motors for increased power, improved fuel efficiency, and lower emissions relative to traditional, gas-powered equivalents.cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/mar2006/bw20060308_999129.htm |title=Hybrid Heaven in a Lexus|last=Petersen|first=Thane|publisher= BusinessWeek|date=2006-03-08|accessdate=2007-05-06] In 2006, Lexus unveiled the GS 450h, a performance hybrid sedan with a V6gas-electric powertrain and rear-wheel drive. [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/sep2006/bw20060912_991505.htm?chan=search
title=007 Lexus GS 450h|date=2006-09-13|publisher=BusinessWeek|last=Peterson|first=Thane|accessdate=2008-06-21]
feature. [cite web|url=http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/126053
title=Quiet crown contender|date=2006-09-17|publisher=The Star|last=Tojiagic|first=Mark|accessdate=2008-06-21] In 2007, the LS 600h L went on sale as the most expensive luxury vehicle ever produced in Japan, with a sticker price of approximately $125,000.cite web|url=http://news.windingroad.com/countriesmarkets/japan/lexus-ls600hl-to-displace-toyota-century-as-japans-priciest-auto/
title=Japan Report: Lexus LS600hl To Displace Toyota Century As Japan’s Priciest Auto|date=2007-05-08|publisher=Winding Road|accessdate=2007-10-01]
In January 2007, Lexus announced a new F-marque performance division, which would produce racing-inspired versions of its luxury performance vehicles. The first of this line, the
Lexus IS F, made its debut at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, accompanied by an exotic supercar concept, the LF-A. By 2007, Lexus' annual U.S. sales had risen to 329,177 vehicles. [http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2008010326480 Lexus U.S. sales statistics for 2007] ] In terms of volume, Lexus was the number one selling luxury marque in the largest automotive market for the past seven years consecutively, [cite web|url=http://www.lexus.com/about/news/articles/2006/1/20060104_1.html|title=Lexus Earns Best-Selling Luxury Brand Title For Sixth Consecutive Year|date=2006-01-04|publisher=Lexus.com|accessdate=2007-05-06] cite web|title=Lexus is the biggest-selling luxury car brand in the U.S.; worldwide data|url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=a4beOTWxpb3c&refer=japan|last=van Loon|first=Jeremy|publisher=Bloomberg|date=2007-05-04|accessdate=2007-05-06] and the fourth-largest luxury car brand in the world by volume. In 2006, Lexus sold approximately 475,000 vehicle sales worldwide, and entered Interbrand's list of the Top 100 Global Brands for the first time with an estimated brand value of approximately $3 billion annually. [cite web|url=http://bwnt.businessweek.com/brand/2006/|title=The 100 Top Brands 2006|year=2007|publisher=BusinessWeek|accessdate=2007-09-28]
In 2005, Lexus completed a full organizational separation from parent company Toyota, with dedicated Lexus design, engineering, training, and manufacturing centers working exclusively for the luxury division. [cite web|url=http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/090601.html|title=Lexus Comes Into Its Own|publisher=Automotive Design & Production|last=Vasilash|first=Gary|year=2006|accessdate=2007-05-06] cite web|url=http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3012/is_11_183/ai_110404995|publisher=Automotive Industries |title=The pursuit of higher sales: new Lexus managing officer|date=2003-11|accessdate=2007-05-06] This effort coincided with the launch of Lexus in its home market of Japan, and an expanded global launch of the brand in major world markets. Executives aimed to grow Lexus sales outside of the U.S. (which comprised approximately 63.5% of global Lexus sales in 2007). The next generation IS, GS, and LS sedans were subsequently designed as "global models" for worldwide markets. [Dawson 2004, p. 210] Lexus launched in China in 2005, [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5562/is_200503/ai_n22716187
title=Toyota Launches first Lexus 4S Store in China|date=2005-03|publisher=Asia Info|accessdate=2008-06-21] Malaysia in 2006, [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn6207/is_20070101/ai_n24910922|title=Lexus launched in Malaysia|date=2007-01-01|publisher=Malaysian Business|last=Razif|first=Muhd
accessdate=2008-06-21] Indonesia in 2007, [cite web|url=http://asia.news.yahoo.com/060221/3/2g5ps.html|title=Toyota Indonesia plans to introduce Lexus vehicles
date=2007-02-21|publisher=Reuters|accessdate=2008-06-21] and the Philippines in 2008.cite web|url=http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/dec/11/yehey/motoring/20071211moto6.html
title=Lexus is here (seriously)|date=2007-12-11|publisher="The Manila Times"|last=Sarne|first=Vernon|accessdate=2008-06-21] By 2007, Lexus was sold in 57 countries around the world.
Total worldwide Lexus sales reached 500,000 vehicles in 2007. [cite web|url=http://www.autoblog.com/2006/09/19/lexus-targets-500-000-units-for-2007/|title=Lexus targets 500,000 units for 2007|publisher=Autoblog|last=Waterman|first=Stuart|date=2006-09-19|accessdate=2007-05-06] That year, the largest Lexus sales markets, in order of size, were the U.S., Japan, U.K., China, Canada, and Russia.
Lexus' arrival in the Japanese market on July 26, 2005 marked the first introduction of a Japanese luxury marque in the domestic market. [cite web|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/30/ap/business/mainD8CA19E00.shtml|title=Toyota Opens Lexus Dealerships in Japan|date=2005-08-30|accessdate=2008-06-21] The compact IS sedans, convertible SC, and mid-size GS sedans became available in Japan in the 2006
model year, ending domestic sales of previous generation Toyota-equivalent models. Sales were initially slower than expected, [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/feb2006/bw20060215_597701.htm|title=Lexus Sales Sputter at Home|publisher= BusinessWeek|last=Rowley|first=Ian|date=2006-02-15|accessdate=2007-05-06] but increased in 2007.cite web|url=http://wardsdealer.com/latest/lexus_progressing_japan/|title=Lexus Slowly Progressing in Japan|last=Schrefler|first=Roger|coauthors=Chrysler, Mack|date=2007-12-28|accessdate=2007-04-18|publisher=Ward's Dealer Business] The introduction of the LS 460 in September 2006, in particular, led to over 12,000 orders in its first month--several times expectations. Lexus Japan's network of 143 new dealerships became profitable in 2007.
In the European market, Lexus has long struggled with smaller brand recognition, perceived lack of prestige compared to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, and Jaguar, minor market share, and the lack of an independent dealership network. [Dawson 2004, p. 195] [cite web|url=http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051123/OPINION03/511230428/1148/AUTO01|title=Lexus Magic Fails to Capture Europeans|date=2005-11-23|publisher=Detroit News|accessdate=2006] Lexus announced plans in 2005 to introduce its first hybrid and diesel vehicles and expand the number of dedicated dealerships. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4309743.stm|title=Toyota targets Europe's urban youth|date=2005-03-01|publisher=BBC News|last=Madslien |first=Jorn |accessdate=2008-06-21] In 2006, the newly introduced diesel IS 220d mainly accounted for sales increases in the United Kingdom; hybrids accounted for a quarter of total sales and outsold their petrol counterparts.cite web|url=http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070908/AUTO01/709080353/1148|title=Lexus aims to conquer globe with luxury sales|publisher=Detroit News|last=Tierney |first=Christine|date=2007-08-07|accessdate=2007-09-28] [Hughes, Steve. (2006-10-06) Successful Mix. The Daily Record, Retrieved on 2007-09-28.] The
London congestion chargehas added incentive by excluding hybrid vehicles. In 2006, 80% of all RX models sold in Europe were of the hybrid model. Total Lexus Europe sales increased 72% in 2006 to over 50,000 vehicles, held flat in 2007 and started dropping in 2008. [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/jan2007/gb20070119_132541.htm?chan=globalbiz_europe_today's+top+story|title=Europe's Car Market: The '06 Report Card|publisher= BusinessWeek|last=Edmundson|first=Gale|date=2006-02-19|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/news_detail/press_releases_monthly_provisional_vehicle_registrations|title=ACEA Monthly Vehicle Registrations|publisher= ACEA|accessdate=2008-08-04]
Russia and China
In 2007, Lexus vehicles in the
emerging marketsof Russiaand Chinasaw high demand, with higher per-dealership sales than any other market. [cite web|url=http://blogs.motortrend.com/6217330/editorial/lexus-is-f-plus-jim-chris-farley/
title=Lexus IS F, Plus Jim & Chris Farley|date=2007-09-27|publisher=Motor Trend|last=St. Antoine |first=Arthur|accessdate=2007-10-01] That year, Lexus ranked fourth in Russia luxury sales, [cite web|url=http://b-ru.com/economics/general/sales-results-foreign-cars-russia-2007/|title=Sales' results of foreign cars in Russia in 2007 |date=2008-01-15|publisher=InvestExp|last=Association of European Business in Russian Federation|accessdate=2008-09-30] and also captured the import sales lead in the emerging Chinese luxury car market. [cite web|url=http://www.gasgoo.com/autobiz/3393/Lexus-knocks-out-Mercedes-in-China-s-high-end-car-market.html
title=Lexus knocks out Mercedes in China's high-end car market|date=2007-09-24|publisher=Global Auto Sourcing|last=Jiu|first=Joanne|accessdate=2007-09-28] The number of Lexus dealerships in China expanded from 12 in 2005 to 23 in 2007; [cite web|url=http://www.gasgoo.com/auto-news/2683/Lexus-sales-to-see-40-000-units-next-year.html|title=Lexus sales to see 40,000 units next year|date=2007-07-23|publisher=Global Auto Sourcing|last=Jorvan|accessdate=2008-09-30] increased demand for luxury SUVs contributed to sales growth in the Chinese market. [cite web|url=http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=124401|title=Lexus LX 570 Enters China Market|date=2007-01-17|publisher=Edmunds.com|last=Jin|first=Vivian |accessdate=2008-09-30]
Asia and Oceania
South Korea, with sales of the ES spearheading its efforts, Lexus was ranked as the top-selling import in 2005; [cite web|url=http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/biz/200701/kt2007010514232811910.htm|title=Toyota's Lexus Remains Best-Selling Foreign Car in Korea|publisher=Korea Times|date=2007-01-05|accessdate=2007-01-07] in Taiwan, Lexus also became the top-selling luxury import in 2005. [cite web|url=http://cens.com/cens/html/en/news/news_inner_3938.html|title=Lexus #1 Luxury Import in Taiwan|date=2006-01-19|publisher=Taiwan Economic News|accessdate=2007-05-06] In Australia, Lexus experienced high sales growth and ranked third in 2006 luxury import sales, with the IS model generating the greatest demand. [cite web|url=http://www.worldcarfans.com/news.cfm/country/jcf/newsID/2061025.003/lexus/chrome-lexus-is250-at-australian-int.-motor-show |title=Lexus at Australian International Motor Show|last=van Weenen|first=F. de Leeuw|publisher=WorldCarFans.com|date=2006-10-25|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.fcai.com.au/sales.php/2006/12/sales.html|title=Australia Vehicle Sales - 2006 YTD|publisher=Driving Australia|date=2006-12|accessdate=2007-05-06]
As of 2008, global Lexus Division product strategy is headed by Kiyotaka Ise, General Manager of the Lexus Development Center in Japan.cite web|url=http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/07/0622.html|title=Toyota Announces Executive and Organizational Changes|date=2007-06-22|publisher=Toyota.jp|accessdate=2008-06-21] Ise, a Managing Officer in Toyota Motor Corporation's executive leadership, succeeded previous head Takeshi Yoshida, who was promoted to Senior Managing Director on the Toyota board in June 2007. Other Lexus Japan executives include YoichiroIchimaru, Senior Managing Director of Lexus Japan Sales & Marketing, and Toshio Furutani, Managing Officer at the Lexus Product & Marketing Planning Division.
In the United States, Lexus operations are headed by Mark Templin, group Vice President and General Manager of the U.S. Lexus Division.cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS169538+07-Jan-2008+PRN20080107|title=Toyota Motor Sales Announces Management Changes|date=2008-01-07|publisher=Reuters|accessdate=2008-06-21] In Europe, Lexus operations are headed by Andy Pfeiffenberger, Vice President of Lexus Europe.
Lexus Japan headquarters are located in
Toyota City(Aichi, Japan). Companion Lexus design facilities are located in Southern California[Sexy Lexus is a huge hit "Sunday Mail", Glasgow (2004-09-26)] and Toyota City, Japan. [State to Get Acura Site for Design (separate design center for Lexus). "The Los Angeles Times", p. C2 (2006-01-09)]
** 2009 IS 250/IS 250 AWD/IS 350/IS 220d/IS F/IS 250C/IS 350C
* ES: mid-size FWD
** 2009 ES 350/ES Pebble Beach Edition (U.S. only)
* GS: mid-size RWD/AWD
** 2008 GS 350/GS 350 AWD/GS 460
** 2008 GS 450h
* LS: full-size RWD/AWD
** 2009 LS 460/LS 460 AWD/LS 460 L/LS 460 L AWD
** 2009 LS 600h/LS 600h L/LS600h L Pebble Beach Edition (U.S. only)
coupé/coupé convertible RWD
** 2009 SC 430
* RX: mid-size
** 2009 RX 350/RX 350 Pebble Beach Edition (U.S. only)
** 2008 RX 400h
* GX: mid-size
sport utility vehicle
** 2009 GX 470
* LX: full-size
sport utility vehicle
** 2009 LX 570
Production model history
* IS: compact RWD/AWD
** 2000 IS 200/IS 300
** 2006 IS 250/IS 250 AWD/IS 350/IS 220d
** 2008 IS F
** 2010 IS 250C/IS 350C
* ES: mid-size FWD
** 1990 ES 250
** 1992 ES 300
** 1996 ES 300
** 2003 ES 330
** 2007 ES 350
* GS: mid-size RWD/AWD
** 1993 GS 300
** 1998 GS 300/GS 400
** 2001 GS 430
** 2006 GS 300/GS 300 AWD/GS 430/GS 450h
** 2007 GS 350/GS 350 AWD/GS 460
* LS: full-size RWD/AWD
** 1990 LS 400
** 2001 LS 430
** 2007 LS 460/LS 460 L
** 2008 LS 600h/LS 600h L
** 2009 LS 460 AWD/LS 460L AWD
coupé/coupé convertible RWD
** 1992 SC 300/SC 400
** 2002 SC 430
* RX: mid-size
** 1998 RX 300
** 2004 RX 330
** 2006 RX 400h
** 2007 RX 350
* GX: mid-size
sport utility vehicle
** 2003 GX 470
* LX: full-size
sport utility vehicle
** 1997 LX 450
** 1999 LX 470
** 2008 LX 570
* LF series concepts
** 2003 LF-X: crossover
** 2003 LF-S: luxury sedan
** 2004 LF-C: convertible
** 2005 LF-A: sports coupe
** 2006 LF-Sh: hybrid luxury sedan
** 2007 LF-Xh: hybrid crossover
** 2008 LF-AR: roadster
* Past concept vehicles
ItaldesignLexus Landau: hatchback
** 1995 Lexus FLV: minivan
** 1997 Lexus Street Rod: roadster
** 1997 Lexus SLV: sport luxury vehicle
** 1997 Lexus HPS: sports sedan
** 2003 Lexus IS 430: sports sedan
Design and technology
Lexus design has traditionally placed an emphasis on targeting specific luxury vehicle standards. [Dawson 2004, p. 33] Since the first Lexus LS, design targets include aerodynamics, performance, smooth ride, interior ergonomics, quiet cabins, fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability. [May 2006, p. 42-43] The acronym "IDEAL"' (Impressive, Dynamic, Elegant, Advanced, and Lasting) is used in the development process. [http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/ir/library/business_report/2005/semi_lexus.pdf Focus: Lexus brand] (PDF) Toyota Motor Corporation, 2005] Each Lexus vehicle must fulfill over 500 specific product standards known as "Lexus Musts" ranging from steering wheel responsiveness to leather seat stitching. [cite web|url=http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/100502.html|publisher=Automotive Design & Production |title=Introducing the '06 IS|last=Vasilash|first=Gary|year=2006|accessdate=2007-05-06]
In the vehicle cabin, Lexus has incorporated
touchscreennavigation system interfaces,cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_30/b4043103.htm|title=One Long, Lean Lexus |date=2007-07-23|publisher=BusinessWeek|accessdate=2008-06-19] a smartkey entry and startup system, SmartAccess, and electroluminescent Optitron gauges (first introduced on the original LS). [Dawson 2004, p. 71] Dealer-adjusted Lexus Personalized Settings allow owners to customize operation of vehicle features. [Lexus tries personal approach. "Detroit News". (2004-09-22)]
Lexus vehicles were among the first to offer
surround soundpremium audio systems, partnering in 1989 with stereo firm Nakamichiand since 2001 with high-end audiopurveyor Mark Levinson.cite web|url= http://www.laaudiofile.com/newcar.html|title=Surveying The Best New Car Sound Systems|last=Nakano|first=Roy|publisher=LA Car|year=2004|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/automobiles/22SOUND.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
title=Boutique Audio Systems: 1,000 Watts of Luxury|date=2008-06-22|publisher="
The New York Times"|last=Quain|first=John|accessdate=2008-06-22] In conjunction with premium audio, cabin quiet is aided by sandwich steel plates [Dawson 2004, p.71] and acoustic glass. [cite web|url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050224.wxwhhybrids24/BNStory/specialMegawheels/|title=Lexus RX 400h review update|date=2005-02-24|publisher="The Globe and Mail"|last=Cato|first=Jeremy|accessdate=2008-06-19]
The fourth generation LS introduced the first production eight-speed
automatic transmission(later adapted for the GS 460 and IS F), and the first ceiling climate diffusers and infraredbody temperature sensors in automobiles.cite web|url=http://www.wcoty.com/media/?release=32&year=2007|title=Lexus LS 460 - WCOTY|accessdate=2007-04-08|format=HTML|publisher=World Car of the Year|date=2007-04-05] The Lexus Hybrid Drive systems used on the RX, GS, and LS hybrids incorporate electrical motors and regenerative braking.
Safety features which have been incorporated on multiple vehicles of the Lexus lineup include the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability/traction control systems,cite web|url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20041209/WHLEXUS09|title=Lexus takes new design direction|date=2004-12-09|publisher="The Globe and Mail"|last=Law|first=Alex|accessdate=2008-06-19] Emergency Steering Assist, twin-chambered passenger airbags, knee airbags, backup cameras, swivel headlights, and sonar warning systems. The Lexus Pre-Collision System (PCS) integrates multiple safety systems along with emergency avoidance and collision detection capabilities.
In 2007, Lexus introduced the world's first automotive safety systems with infrared and pedestrian detection capabilities, lane keep assist, facial recognition monitoring of driver attentiveness, and rear pre-collision whiplash protection, as part of the LS 460 pre-collision system.cite web|url=http://www.sae.org/servlets/pressRoom?OBJECT_TYPE=PressReleases&PAGE=showRelease&RELEASE_ID=548|title=:Automotive Engineering International - LS 460 2007 Best Engineered Vehicle|Society of Automotive Engineers|date=2007-04-10|publisher=SAE International|accessdate=2007-05-06] In 2008, Lexus debuted the LS 600h L, the first production vehicle to use LED headlamps. [cite web|url=http://compoundsemiconductor.net/articles/news/11/1/18/1|title=Lexus is first to deploy LED-based car headlamps|publisher=Compound Semiconductor|date=2007-01-19|accessdate=2007-05-06
As a safety precaution, Lexus GPS navigation systems 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 some criticism because passengers cannot use certain functions when the vehicle is in motion. [cite web|url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0806/p01s01-usgn.html|title=New peril in driver's seat|date=2004-08-06|publisher=The Christian Science Monitor|last=Evarts|first=Eric|accessdate=2007-10-01] Pre-2007 models come with a hidden OEM override option. [cite web|url=http://www.wikihow.com/Override-Lexus-Navigation-Motion-Lock|title=How to Override Lexus Navigation Motion Lock|year=2007|publisher=WikiHow|accessdate=2007-09-28]
characters: "Intriguing Elegance" (純), "Incisive Simplicity" (妙), and "Seamless Anticipation" (予). Derived from Japanese cultural motifs, these characters refer to the goal of "elegance with simplicity" while "anticipating" owner needs. [cite web|url=http://www.lexus-europe.com/about_lexus/news_and_events/geneva_2006_l_finesse_design.asp|title=Geneva Motor Show (L-finesse design)|publisher=Lexus-Europe.com|accessdate=2007-05-06] cite web|url=http://www.worldcarfans.com/print.cfm/ID/2060215.004/lang/eng|title=Lexus Design Exhibition at Milan Design Week|date=2006-02-15
publisher=WorldCarFans.com|accessdate=2007-05-06] Characters are also embodied in design cues; the phrase "
kirikaeshi" is used in arrowhead shapes on the 2007 IS, GS, and LS. [cite web|url=http://lexus.jp/brand/philosophy/design/index.html|title=Lexus L-finesse design philosophy|year=2007|publisher=Lexus.jp|language=Japanese|accessdate=2007-08-06] L-finesse design hallmarks further include a fastbackprofile, lower-set grille,Rechtin, Mark. Lexus Finally Gets a Design of its Own. Automotive News, 2003-10-27.] and the use of both convex and concave surfaces.
In contrast to some earlier Lexus models, which were criticized for reserved and derivative styling (and often mistaken for understated domestic market cars), the debut of L-finesse was described in
automotive designanalyses as adding a distinctive nature and embrace of Japanese design identity. Opinions varied for the 2006 GS; " Sports Car International"'s design analysis found that the vehicle looked better in person than in photos and praised its overall appearance, [Coates, Del. Design Matters. "Sports Car International", 2005-09.] while " Automobile Magazine" suggested that the model was insufficiently daring, particularly in its forward styling. [Cumberford, Robert. Not There Yet But Getting Closer. "Automobile Magazine", 2004-05.] Later models, such as the Jaguar XF, were said to resemble elements of the 2006 GS design. [cite web|url=http://www.automobilemag.com/reviews/jaguar/2009_jaguar_xf/index.html|title=2009 Jaguar XF - Design|year=2007|publisher=Automobile Magazine|last=Conway|first=Gavin|accessdate=2007-10-01] Exhibitions of L-finesse artwork were presented at the MilanDesign Week from 2005-2008; [cite web|url=http://lexus.jp/lexus_art/index.html|title=Lexus L-finesse design exhibition|year=2007|publisher=Lexus.jp|accessdate=2007-06-01] the 2007 LS launch included art shows in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Miami, and New York City. [cite web|url=http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=50626|title=Lexus Marries Art With Design At City Events|date=2006-11-03|publisher=Marketing Daily|last=Greenberg|first=Karl|accessdate=2007-05-06]
Lexus manufacturing techniques include methods and standards of quality control that differ from Toyota models.Dawson 2004, p. 88-94] [Mahler 2004, p. 90] At the Tahara plant, separate assembly lines were developed for the manufacture of Lexus vehicles.Dawson 2004, p. 88-95] Mahler 2004, p. 78] New molds and specialized manufacturing equipment were also developed for the Lexus production process. Lexus plant workers, typically veteran technicians, are identified via repeated performance evaluations and ranked according to skill grade; only a select group of craftspeople are eligible to work on Lexus vehicles. [cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/29/business/AS-FIN-Japan-Toyota-Lexus.php|title=At Lexus 'dojo' plant workers train on virtues to keep up quality, build elite team|date=2007-06-28|publisher=The Associated Press|last=Kageyama|first=Yuri|accessdate=2007-08-26] In addition, welding processes, body panel fit tolerances, and paint quality requirements are more stringent for Lexus models. [cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6DE163EF930A35752C0A966958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1|title=Japan's Luxury-Car Gains Pose New Threat to Rivals|date=1990-01-03|publisher="
The New York Times"|last=Sanger|first=David|accessdate=2008-06-19] Wood inlays are matched by tree from sustainable plantations. [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_09/b3922126_mz017.htm|title=Is Lexus Sexy Enough To Seduce Europe?|publisher= BusinessWeek|date=2006-02-28|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.channel4.com/4car/gl/gallery/gallery/238/8|title=4Car - Lexus IS environmentally-friendly wood|publisher=4Car|last=Conway|first=Gavin|year=2006|accessdate=2007-05-06]
Lexus engines are tested by stethoscope-equipped "takumi" (匠, Japanese for "master craftsmen") engineers to ensure optimum performance. [cite web|url=http://www.lexus.com/magazine/q206/ls_evolution/ls_evolution_0.html|date=2006|publisher=Lexus Magazine|title=LS Radical Evolution|last=Knox|first=Doug|accessdate=2007-05-06] These engineers are responsible for maintaining production standards at key points in the assembly process. Each production Lexus vehicle is given an extensive visual inspection for flaws, individually test-driven at high speed, and subjected to vibration tests to ensure a quiet ride.
The North American-market RX 350 (since the 2004 model year) is produced in the city of Cambridge, in Ontario, Canada, and is the first Lexus plant located outside of Japan. In addition to the Tahara factory, Lexus vehicles have been produced at the Araco, Kanji (Iwate), Kanji (Kanto Jidosha), Katashiki, and Kyushu plants in Japan. As of 2008, most sedan and SUV production occurs in Japan at the Tahara,
Aichi, plant in the Chūbu region, and at the Kyushu (Miyata), Fukuokaplant in the Kyūshū region.
accessdate=2007-05-06] Service bays are typically lined with large picture windows, allowing customers to watch the servicing of their vehicle. [Dawson 2004, p. 122] Followup surveys allow Lexus owners to rate their recent service experience.
To improve customer service, some Lexus dealerships have sent their employees to train at service-focused establishments such as
Nordstromdepartment stores and Ritz-Carltonhotels. [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FJN/is_39_9/ai_n15678176|title=Lexus Kicks Up Service|publisher=Ward's Dealer|last=Schweinsberg|first=Christie|date=2005-09-01|accessdate=2007-05-06] Lexus has also recently added an additional owners' privilege, the use of exclusive parking lots at major sporting arenas, entertainment events, and shopping malls, reserved only for Lexus vehicles. [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_29/c3943008_mz003.htm|title=The Real Reason To Buy A Lexus|last=Gerdes|first=Lindsey|publisher= BusinessWeek|date=2005-07-18|accessdate=2007-05-06]
Since 2002, Lexus has scored consecutive top ratings in the "Auto Express" [cite web |url=http://www.motortrader.com/24880/Lexus-car-dealers-are-Britains.ehtml|title=Lexus car dealers are Britain's best|publisher=Motortrader|date=2007-04-27|accessdate=2007-05-06] [cite web|url=http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/driver_power_2007/207909/lexus_rx.html|title=Auto Express Driver Power 2007 Survey|date=2007-03|publisher=Auto Express|accessdate=2007-09-18] and 76,000-respondent "Top Gear" customer satisfaction surveys in the U.K. [cite web|url=http://www.topgear.com/content/features/stories/2005/11/stories/01/3.html|title=Top Gear Survey 2005|date=2005-11-01|publisher=Top Gear|accessdate=2007-05-06] 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. [cite web|url=http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/01/19/207880.html|title=Wealthy Rate Lexus #1 in Customer Experience|date=2006-01-19|publisher=Luxury Institute/Autochannel|accessdate=2007-05-06] On the strength of its customer service and product satisfaction standards, Lexus enjoys one of the highest customer loyalty rates in the industry. [cite web|url=http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005249 |title=Lexus Ranks Highest in Customer Retention|date=2005-12-08|accessdate=2007-05-06|publisher=
J.D. Power and Associates]
Lexus' customer service efforts date from the outset with the "Lexus Covenant," its founding promise which states that "Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home." [cite web|url=http://www.lexus.com/about/corporate/lexus_covenant.html|title=The Lexus Covenant|publisher=Lexus.com|accessdate=2007-05-15] This commitment was put to an early test in 1989 when Lexus ordered a recall of all 8,000 vehicles sold, based upon two separate safety issues with two different customers' cars. One dealership recalled that the "company didn't run and hide," instead launching a sweeping operation. Instead of asking owners to visit dealers, Lexus sent technicians within weeks to pick up, repair, and return the LS cars to the customers, even flying in personnel and renting garage space for owners in remote locations. The general manager of Lexus U.S.A. said, "We saw it as an opportunity to cement our relationship with the customer right from the beginning."
In the U.S., Lexus offers a four-year or convert|50000|mi|km|sing=on basic and six-year or convert|70000|mi|km|sing=on powertrain/corrosion
warranty. Lexus' Certified Pre-Ownedprogram, among the first in the automotive industry (begun in November 1993), [Dawson 2004, p. 149] features a 161-point inspection of pre-owned vehicles and a three-year or convert|100000|mi|km|sing=on limited warranty. [cite web|url=http://www.lexus.com/cpo/index.html|title=Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Program|publisher=Lexus.com|accessdate=2007-05-15] In 2005, Lexus Financial Savings Bank, in conjunction with US Bank, launched a Lexus Pursuits Visa Card. [ [http://www.lexus.com/pursuits/ Lexus Pursuits Visa Card] , Lexus.com, Retrieved 2007-08-06] "Lexus Magazine" features automotive and lifestyle articles and is issued quarterly. [ [http://www.lexus.com/magazine/ "Lexus Magazine" Online] , Lexus.com, quarterly issues.]
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. In its 1999 inaugural season, Team Lexus achieved its first victory with its sixth race at
Road Atlanta. That year, Team Lexus also attained four podium finishes in nine races and held two track records.cite web|url=http://teamlexus.com/default2.htm|title=Team Lexus - The Team & Team Stats|year=2006|publisher=Team Lexus|accessdate=2007-05-06] Led by SCCA and IMSA driver Chuck Goldsborough, Team Lexus raced to a second victory, two podium finishes, and three top-five finishes in 2000. Team Lexus ranked third overall in the manufacturers championship that year, which each GS 400 race achieving a top ten result.
In 2001, Team Lexus capitalized on the debut of the first generation Lexus IS by entering three IS 300s in the renamed Grand-Am Cup (now run by the
Grand American Road Racing Association). By 2002, Team Lexus had won the Drivers Championship and Team Championship with nine podium finishes, and a sweep of the top three finishes at Le Circuit Mont Treblant in Quebec, Canada. In 2003, Team Lexus achieved four pole positions, six podium finishes, two track records at Daytona 24 and Mosport, and a victory at Miami-Homestead.
Lexus has also participated in endurance racing, in particular the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. After entering the
Rolex Sports Car Seriesin 2004, Lexus has won over 15 Rolex Series event races. [cite web|url=http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=231504&FS=GRANDAM-GRANDCUP|title=Lexus race report|date=2006-09-02|publisher=Motorsport.com|accessdate=2007-05-06] In 2005, Lexus was runners-up and in 2006 it won the championship. Although Toyota has won this prestigious 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 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 Montoya, and Salvador Duránof Chip Ganassi Racingfinishing first; Lexus-Riley prototypes also took three of the top ten spots. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=2746664&type=story|title=Rolex 24 at Daytona final results|date=2007-01-28|accessdate=2007-05-06|publisher= Associated Press] In 2008, Lexus won its third consecutive win at Daytona. [cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/2008-01-27-rolex-24-hours_N.htm|title=Ganassi wins three in a row at Daytona|date=2008-01-28|publisher=USA Today|last=DeCotis|first=Mark|accessdate=2008-06-22]
event. [cite web|url=http://www.yorkregion.com/Leisure/article/44774|title=Lexus tests hybrid power |year=2007|last=Robinson|first=Beintema|accessdate=2008-06-22]
In December 2006, Lexus announced its new F-performance division. The "F" refers to the
Fuji Speedwayin Japan, whose first corner, 27R, inspired the shape of the "F" emblem. [cite web|url=http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story/EE775C71EC94A9A5CA257300001FC985?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,Lexus|title=IS-F, TRD power-plays |date=2007-06-21|publisher=GoAuto|last=Pettendy|first=Marton|coauthors=Martin, Terry|accessdate=2007-08-27] The first "F"-badged vehicle, the Lexus IS F, subsequently premiered at the North American International Auto Showin January 2007. Media reports suggested that the IS F sedan would be followed by a GS F sedan [cite web|url=http://paultan.org/archives/2007/04/03/lexus-gs-f-artists-impression/|publisher=paultan.org|title=Lexus GS-F Artist Impression|accessdate=2007-05-17|date=2007-04-03] and Lexus IS Fcoupe. An earlier in-house tuning effort, the TRD-based L-Tuned, had offered performance packages on the IS and GS sedans in the early 2000s. [O'Dell, John. Toyota Turns Its Tuners Loose on the Lexus. "The Los Angeles Times" (2000-02-23)]
The IS F is targeted at rivals from Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M divisions. Historically, past versions of the SC and GS models have received favorable reactions from sport luxury buyers, [Dawson 2004, p. 141-147, 163-165] while other Lexus models have been characterized as favoring comfort at the expense of sporty performance. Automotive reviewers have also given some of Lexus' German rivals higher marks for road feel and handling,cite web|url=http://www.cars.com/go/video/motorweek/videoPopup.jsp?makeid=27&year=2007&modelid=8237&location=MW_L_2007_BEST_CARS.flv&aff=cg|title=Motorweek Lexus LS 460 test drive|year=2007|accessdate=2007-04-09|format=FLV|publisher=Motorweek] especially during racetrack testing. The F-marque line has been seen as an effort to further bolster Lexus' performance credentials. [cite web|url=http://www.businesscar.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=1182
title=Lexus ISF proves Japanese brand can do sporty|date=2007-03-16|publisher=BusinessCar|accessdate=2007-10-01]
In 2007, Lexus entered the IS F in the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (
SEMA) show, offering a factory sanctioned performance accessory line in conjunction with the debut of its F-marque division. [cite web|url=http://www.autoblog.com/2007/10/31/sema-2007-lexus-f-sport-performance-accessories/
title=SEMA 2007: Lexus F-Sport performance accessories|date=2007-10-31|publisher=Autoblog|last=Ramsey|first=Jonathan|accessdate=2008-06-21]
Lexus’ strategic intentions are hinted at in its LF Series concepts, [cite web|url=http://www.leftlanenews.com/report-lexus-lf-a-greenlighted-for-production.html|title=Lexus LF-A Greenlighted for Production|date=2006-03-02|publisher=Leftlane News|accessdate=2007-10-01] elements of which have translated into production form (including the 2003 LF-S and 2004 LF-C). [Dawson 2004, p. 206] [Geneva debut, Lexus finesses next IS sedan. "AutoWeek" (2005-03-07)] The LF Series concepts include advanced instrumentation, multiple driver-selected vehicle configurations, hybrid/experimental powertrains, and unconventional driver interface designs. [cite web|url=http://www.cars.com/go/features/autoshows/story.jsp?autoshow=New+York&autoshowyear=2004&story=coverage_04_08_05&aff=autoshowny
title=With LF-C Concept, Lexus Drops Gauntlet for BMW|date=2004-04-08|publisher=Cars.com|accessdate=2008-06-21] [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/oct2005/id20051020_443864.htm|title= Toyota Grows a Greener Lexus|date=2005-10-20|publisher=BusinessWeek|last=Hall|first=Kenji|accessdate=2008-06-21] Lexus Managing Officer, Takeshi Yoshida, has further stated Lexus' intentions to produce future production models using more dedicated Lexus platforms, [cite web|url=http://www.responsiblechoice.ca/pdf/page2.pdf|title=Toyota turns Lexus into stand-alone brand|date=2004--09-23|publisher=The Ottawa Citizen|last=Yoxon|first=Grant|accessdate=2007-10-01] as is the case for the LS flagship. The entry-level Lexus ES, in particular, had been chided for being too similar to the Toyota Camry, its shared platform cousin, in both styling and powertrain design. [cite web|url=http://cars.ign.com/articles/607/607487p1.html|title=IGN Car Review - 2005 Lexus ES 330|date=2005-04-25|publisher=IGN.com|last=Kaehler|first=Justin|accessdate=2007-10-01]
According to division executives, Lexus plans to introduce Lexus Hybrid Drive on every vehicle in the Lexus lineup,cite web| url=http://www.motortrader.com/24829/Lexus-plans-for-growth-on-the-.ehtml|title=Lexus GB plans for growth on the back of its hybrid models|publisher=Motortrader|accessdate=2007-04-18|date=2007-04-18] catering to demands for a decrease in both carbon pollution and oil reliance.cite web|url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=ai1kb.oIY_nE|title=Toyota's Lexus May Add High-Performance U.S. Hybrids |date=2007-09-27|publisher=Bloomberg|last=Ohnsman|first=Alan|accessdate=2007-09-28] The advent of Lexus hybrid technology is touted by Lexus officials as a strategy for raising the profile of Lexus in countries with greater public perception of the Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Jaguar rival brands. New Lexus models in development also include convertibles, crossovers, and dedicated hybrids. [cite web|url=http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060815/FREE/60814017/1041|title=Future Products – Lexus|date=2006-08-15
AutoWeek|accessdate=2007-05-06] cite web|url=http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story2/59D124ADF8528A6CCA2572C90016B851
title=Future Models - Lexus to spread its wings |date=2007-04-26|publisher=GoAuto|last=Mathioudakis|first=Byron|coauthors=Pettendy, Marton|accessdate=2007-10-01] Lexus prototypes have been spotted testing at the
Nürburgringtest track in Germany. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awr9Z61Bjeg&eurl=http://thepassionatepursuit.com/2007/09/19/lexus-is-f-lf-a-together-on-nurburgring/ AutoWeek - Spionagevideo Nürburgring (YouTube) (2007-08-15)] ]
Lexus' future brand position in the prestige luxury market involves
pricing strategies. The success of Lexus in the U.S. was attributed to higher levels of perceived quality [cite web|url=http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2006079|title=UK Car Customer Satisfaction Index - Lexus Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction for a Sixth Consecutive Year|date=2006-06-02|accessdate=2007-05-06|publisher= J.D. Power and Associates] and lower prices than competitors, which enabled Lexus to attract customers upgrading from mass-market cars. The more dependable reputation of Lexus than its competitors was seen as a primary sales factor. [cite web|url=http://www.wheels24.co.za/Wheels24/News/0,,1369-1372_1939381,00.html |title='Why I ditched Merc for Lexus'|publisher= Agence France-Presse|accessdate=2007-05-05|date=2006-05-26] [cite web|url=http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/motoring/2006/0222/4238583390MOT22BILDSURVEY.html|title=A warning for German makers from the customers|publisher=The Irish Times|last=Cassidy|first=John|year=2006|accessdate=2007-05-06] However, for ultra-luxury buyers (classed above $100,000 in the U.S.), [cite web|url=http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=120486|title=Full Test: 2008 Lexus LS 600h L, ultraluxury class|date=2007-04-19|publisher=Edmunds |last=Pearley Huffman|first=John|accessdate=2007-11-21] this may have had repercussions as Lexus cultivated a bargain brand image which does not compete at the upper end of the luxury market, where rivals offer chart-topping flagship vehicles. [cite web|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/16/business/Lexus.php|title=Lexus enters ultra-luxury arena|date=2006-04-17|publisher= International Herald Tribune|last=Maynard|first=Micheline |accessdate=2007-11-21] In response, the latest Lexus models are expected to move up in sticker price to more closely match their European rivals; [cite web|url=http://www.businessweek.com/autos/content/jan2006/bw20060109_789752.htm|title=A Lexus Aimed at Mercedes' S-Class|publisher= BusinessWeek|last=Welch|first=David|date=2006-01-09|accessdate=2007-05-06] with flagship models such as the LS 600h L being the first to reach the ultra-luxury barrier.
Additionally, automotive analysts have noted Lexus' relative newcomer status in the luxury market, compared with the storied reputation of its European rivals, as a limiting factor for its initial sales acceptance in worldwide markets. Rivals Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche have stressed their decades of heritage and
pedigreein an effort to promote their products, [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/27/business/worldbusiness/27showroom.html|title=BMW, Mercedes museums promote heritage|date=2007-07-27|publisher= The New York Times|last=Landler|first=Mark|accessdate=2007-09-28] whereas since its inception Lexus' reputation rests primarily upon its perceived product quality and the shared history of its parent company, Toyota.cite web|url=http://www.automobear.com/LexusInTheLapOfLatentLuxury.html|title=Lexus (in the lap of latent luxury)|publisher=AutomoBear.com|date=2004-09-23|accessdate=2007-04-09] The characteristics of heritage,cite web|url=http://research.cars.com/go/crp/research.jsp?revid=51083&makeid=27&modelid=8237&year=2007&revlogtype=20§ion=reviews|title= 2007 Lexus LS 460 Review|date=2007-03-15|publisher=Cars.com
last=Hanley|first=Mike|accessdate=2007-09-28] built up over many years, and pedigree, are regarded by some reviewers as a challenge for Lexus, although their impact is debated. [cite web|url=http://motorshow.cars.uk.msn.com/motorshow/geneva2007/Article.aspx?cp-documentid=3840028|date=2007-06-03|title=Lexus Launches Big Three|publisher=MSN Cars UK|last=Laban|first=Brian|accessdate=2007-09-28] Ultimately, a number of analysts have stated that Lexus will have to develop its own heritage over time by investing in technological innovations and producing substantial products.
Several of Lexus' ideas on the future of automotive design have appeared on film. In 2002, Lexus was requested by
Steven Spielberg, a Lexus owner himself, to design a vehicle which would fit the requirements of year 2054 for his movie "Minority Report". [cite web|url=http://www.newcarnet.co.uk/Lexus_preview.html?id=1415|publisher=NewCarNet.co.uk|title=Lexus Concept from "Minority Report"|accessdate=2007-05-06|date=2002-01-14] Designers working with Lexus came up with an advanced vehicle which would run on fuel cells and have many advanced safety features including a crash-proof structure and biometricsecurity systems.cite web |url=http://lexus.teamoneadv.com/minorityreport/ |title=Lexus Minority Report website |year=2002 |publisher=Team One |accessdate=2007-06-01] (Lexus' cinematic concept car also appears in "The Island", though it is colored blue, not red). A Lexus film tie-in site proposed a Lexus future vehicle that would drive itself, take dinner orders verbally, and select music to match occupant moods. The Lexus 2054 later appeared at several auto shows and public events.
The term "the Lexus of..." has also entered the cultural lexicon as a description of a high-end product, or an upscale brand produced by a mainstream manufacturer. For example, in 2006
Dellannounced a premium lineup of computers, calling it "the Lexus of our lineup." [cite web |url=http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-5730030.html |title=Dell to launch 'Lexus lineup' of PCs |date= |publisher=CNET.com |last=Singer|first=Michael|date=2005-06-02|accessdate=2007-05-15] Further example comparisons include "the Lexus of phones" or "the Lexus of space stations", [cite web |url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h1W8dcUP9H70AmlSfDSenPteDT9gD90TD73G0
title=Lexus of space station labs poised for launch|date=2008-05-26|publisher=Associated Press|last=Dunn|first=Marcia|accessdate=2008-06-21] among others. Late night comedian
Jay Lenofirst coined the term "Lexus-ized" for his automotive columns in "Popular Mechanics", an expression generally used to describe the Lexus approach to luxury motoring. [Dawson 2004, p. 22] [cite web|url=http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/jay_leno_garage/1302871.html |title=Jay's PM Columns - June 2001 |last=Leno |first=Jay |accessdate=2007-05-05 |date=2001-06 |publisher=" Popular Mechanics"] Despite the official pluralized form of Lexus being simply Lexus, the public has also made its own derivatives (the most popular derivative being "Lexi"). [cite web| url=http://www.cartalk.com/content/columns/Archive/1992/July/10.html |title=Car Guys on plural of Lexus |date=1992-07 |publisher=Cartalk.com |accessdate=2007-05-06] "The New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedmancited Lexus as an example of the drive for prosperity and development in his best-selling 1999 book, " The Lexus and the Olive Tree". [Friedman, Thomas L. "The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization." New York, Anchor Books, 1999, p. 32–33.]
In the U.K., the LS 430 flagship was introduced in the
BBCspy drama, " Spooks"; Lexus models were also placed on ITV's " Coronation Street", the BBC's "Judge John Deed", and other programs.cite web|url=http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/article861142.ece|title=Product placement: The car’s the (secret) star|date=2003-08-10|publisher= The Times|last=Dunn|first=Joseph|accessdate=2007-09-15] Lexus GB models saw sales increases after being seen on ITV's " Footballers' Wives". In 2002, comedian Steve Coogan's fictional BBC Alan Partridgecharacter replaced his Rover with an IS 200, calling it the "Japanese Mercedes" and one of many "Lexi"; his superficial character was seen as detrimental to the brand's image.cite web|url=http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/jeremy_clarkson/article824025.ece
title=Lexus RX300 Bling bling! |date=2004-03-14|publisher=
The Times|last=Clarkson|first=Jeremy|accessdate=2007-09-15] By 2004, multiple hip-hopartists, including Jay-Z(in the song " Ain't No Nigga") and Kanye West(in the song " Jesus Walks"), made mention of Lexus vehicles in their songs, an endorsement which "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarksonsuggested added street credibility for the brand.
The introduction of Lexus hybrids have garnered further media attention through celebrity RX 400h owners such as
Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, and Holly Hunter, who were among the earliest adopters of the Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. [cite web| url=http://www.edmunds.com/apps/vdpcontainers/do/vdp/articleId=106271/pageNumber=1 |title=2006 Lexus RX 400h Long-Term Test |publisher=Edmunds.com |date=2005-06-29 |accessdate=2007-05-06] Politicians in the U.K.cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7291323.stm
title=Lexus hybrid woos Sainsbury's chief|date=2008-03-16|publisher=
BBC News|last=Madslien|first=Jorn|accessdate=2008-05-28] and Ireland[cite web|url=http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/frontpage/2006/0508/3608229601HM1MINISTERCARS.html|title=Ministers await delivery of their new 'green' luxury cars|date=2006-05-08|publisher=The Irish Times|last=Reid|first=Liam|accessdate=2007-05-06] have acquired Lexus hybrids, along with government agencies. [cite web|url=http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/08/lexus_gs_450h_m.html|title=Lexus GS 450h Makes the Constabulary Fleet in UK|date=2006-08-22|publisher=Green Car Congress|accessdate=2007-05-07] In Monaco, Prince Albert II purchased an LS 600h and advocated the adoption of hybrid tax credits. [cite web|url=http://www.motorlegend.com/actualite-automobile/albert-ii-en-ls-600h/2036.html|title=Le Prince Albert roule en LS 600|date=2007-06-07|language=French|publisher=Motorlegend.com|accessdate=2007-09-28]
Lexus has used a consistent design for its television advertisements in the United States. The ads are commonly narrated by film and television actor
James Sloyan(who has been the voice of "Mr. Lexus" since 1989), [Dawson 2004, p. 117] and accompanied by vehicles which perform unusual stunts onscreen. The first decade of commercials (1989–1999) consisted primarily of disjunctive verbal descriptions, such as "relentless", "pursuit", and "perfection" [cite web|url=http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=122621|title=First Look: 2008 Lexus IS-F|date=2007-09-23|publisher=Edmunds|last=Huffman|first=John Pearley|accessdate=2008-09-16] while the vehicles were used to claim superiority in braking, handling, idling, and interior quiet & comfort on camera. Newer ads have become somewhat more descriptive, [cite web|url=http://www.darnellworks.com/a52/nr0061.htm|title=Lexus' perfection revealed in new spot featuring VFX, CGI and finishing by A52|year=2007|publisher=A52|last=Darnell|first=Roger|accessdate=2008-09-23] occasionally including full descriptions of novel features [cite web|url=http://www.a52.com/index.php?f=deta&n=91|title=Lexus / Dimples ad|last=A52|year=2007|publisher=A52|accessdate=2008-09-23] or a narration of the events onscreen. Lexus commercials, while consistent in formula, have at times resembled those of rivals Infiniti and Acura, which also have used celebrity voice-overs ( Jonathan Pryceuntil 1997 [Gellene, Diane. Advertising: Outlived by Fame and Fortunes. " The Los Angeles Times", 1997-09-11.] and James Spadersince 2005, [cite web|url=http://www.adweek.com/aw/google/article_brief/1001435091 |title=Acura Defines Turf As Japanese Chase BMW |date=2005-11-07 |publisher=Adweek |last=Solman |first=Gregory |accessdate=2008-06-20] respectively), while providing similar visual cues to the audience about vehicle features and craftsmanship.
Since 1989, the annual Lexus Champions for Charity golf series has raised over $100 million for charity causes. The golf series begins with over 190 local golf tournaments around the U.S., leading to a three-day championship tournament at Pebble Beach. [Lexus Golf Tourney Benefits Charities. The Oregonian, 1997-06-14.] Lexus has also been a primary sponsor of the US Open tennis Grand Slam event since 2005, awarding a GS sedan (and later an IS F) to the men's and women's singles champions, [cite web|url=http://promomagazine.com/eventmarketing/news/lexus_usopen_083006/|title=Lexus Drives Promos Courtside for US Open|date=2006-08-30|last=Scott|first=Andrew|accessdate=2007-05-06|publisher=Promo] and providing player transportation. In January 2007, Lexus became the first automotive sponsor of the
United States Golf Associationat its U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, and U.S. Amateur tournaments. [cite web|url=http://www.usga.org/news/2007/january/2007_06.html|title=USGA Signs Corporate Partnership With Lexus|date=2007-01-25|publisher=USGA|accessdate=2007-06-19] Other Lexus sponsorships vary by region (examples include the Lexus Cupin Singapore and Australia and Lexus Song Questsinging competition in New Zealand). Lexus has also signed endorsement contracts with pro athletes Andy Roddick, Annika Sörenstam, and Peter Jacobsen. [ [http://www.lexus.com/about/partnerships/professional_athletes.html Lexus Professional Athletes] , Lexus.com, Retrieved 2007-08-06]
* Dawson, Chester. "Lexus: The Relentless Pursuit." 2004: Jon Wiley & Sons, NJ. ISBN 0-470821-10-8.
* Long, Brian. "Lexus: The Challenge to Create the Finest Automobile." 2001: Veloce Publishing, Cardiff. ISBN 1-901295-81-8.
* Mahler, Jonathan. "The Lexus Story: The Behind the Scenes Story of the #1 Automotive Luxury Brand in America." 2004: DK Melcher Media, NY. ISBN 0-971793-57-3.
* May, Matthew E. "The Elegant Solution: Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation." 2006: Free Press, NY. ISBN 0-743290-17-8.
* Morgan, James M. & Liker, Jeffrey K. "The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process and Technology." Productive Press, NY. ISBN 1-563272-82-2.
* [http://lexus.jp/ Lexus Japan]
* [http://www.lexus.com/ Lexus USA]
* [http://www.lexus-europe.com/ Lexus Europe]
* [http://lexus.jp/international_links/index.html Lexus International]
** [http://www.lexus.com.au/ Lexus Australia]
** [http://www.lexus.ca/ Lexus Canada]
** [http://www.lexus.cl/ Lexus Chile]
** [http://www.lexus.com.cn/ Lexus China]
** [http://www.lexus.co.uk/ Lexus GB]
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