Lexus is a division of the Japanese firm Toyota, established to design and manufacture luxury vehicles. Initially, the models of this brand were intended for sale in the United States, but its popularity allowed expanding the sales market in other directions. Today Lexus cars can be bought in most countries of the world.
In 1983, the Lexus brand was founded, which had to withstand tough competition with the world's best automakers, such as BMW, Jaguar and others. The parent company "Toyota" gathered the most talented engineers, designers and in 1984 painstaking work on the "F1 project" began. The name was deciphered quite simply: F - flagship - flagship, 1 - the first among their own kind. Ichiro Suzuki and Shoiji Jimbo were appointed as leaders. First of all, they decided to personally visit the United States in order to personally find out the preferences of Americans through a survey. In parallel with this, five designers were actively working on the creation of sketches and the concept of a new car. In May 1985, a large-scale study of driver preferences was carried out in the United States, which formed the basis of Lexus design concepts, created at the California studio "Toyota". The first of them was ready in July.
The prototype was named Lexus LS400, and throughout the next year it underwent many tests, the results of which allowed to improve certain systems of the car. In particular, constant tests on the autobahns in Germany, Canada and Sweden made it possible to determine the need to refine the control system and suspension design. In May 1987, 8 variants of the model's design were presented, of which the company's management chose the final one, and already in January 1988 the first videos with the car were shown at the Los Angeles auto show, and then at other exhibitions. A few months later, in May, project leaders announced a list of auto dealers honored to sell Lexus vehicles in the future. The list included 80 firms, and was headed by Lexus of Columbus from Ohio. Live Lexus was presented to the public only a year later, in Detroit. At that time, the company demonstrated 2 models - LS400 (luxury sedan with a 4-liter engine) and ES250 (executive sedan with a 2.5-liter engine). Literally every other day, all residents and guests of Los Angeles who visited the local salon could admire the new creation of the Japanese car industry. In September 1989, the first sales of cars began through a pre-prepared dealer network, the total number of purchased cars exceeded 4 thousand in the first month.
Among the reasons for the success of Lexus cars in the American market can be called a rich interior decoration, numerous prestigious components that were installed in these cars, a powerful and reliable engine, as well as an exterior made in strict and clear lines that emphasized the luxury of the brand. In 1990, the Lexus LS400 was named Best Imported Car of the Year by Car & Driver magazine and ranked 1st in J.D. Power and Associates ”, one of the most respected companies in the field of automotive market research. At the same time, the first dealerships were opened in Canada and the UK, which allowed the Lexus brand to consolidate its success, achieving widespread recognition.
In May 1991, a new model, the SC400, was presented, which was a sports coupe. The 4-liter engine with automatic transmission allowed it to accelerate to 100 km / h in 6.9 seconds. By the fall, a budget version of the SC300 with a 3-liter engine was released, and the more powerful ES300 came to replace the ES250. In addition, the company's flagship model, the LS400, has undergone a number of enhancements aimed at increasing driver and passenger safety and comfort. The model again took first places in the ratings of the leading researchers of the car market, which was one of the reasons that in 1992 Lexus outstripped BMW and Mercedes-Benz in terms of sales.
In early 1993, the company released the GS300 sports sedan, which was designed by renowned car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. In 1994, the model was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In 1993, a number of Lexus models again receive the highest ratings from expert organizations, and for the third time are at the top of the J. D. Power and Associates. "
The firm achieved the same high success in the next year, 1994, and in 1995. However, under pressure from domestic manufacturers, the US Department almost imposed a 100% duty on Japanese premium cars, which included the entire Lexus range. Only the intervention of the highest officials of Japan made it possible to reach an agreement and avoid the outbreak of a trade war.
In 1996 Lexus introduced the LX450, the first luxury SUV. This car combined the luxury and comfort of an interior with high traffic and a smooth ride, even on bumpy roads. Also, an updated ES300 was released, which became 6 cm longer than the previous generation.
1997 was rich in renewal. In January, the firm showed at the Detroit Auto Show a concept model of the HPS, most of whose ideas have been implemented in the new generation GS300. In February, Lexus unveiled yet another concept, the RX300 sport utility vehicle. In September, the updated SC and GS models with 3 and 4 liters of displacement were released, which received restyling, and the LS400 acquired a number of new options. Also, this year the company set a sales record - almost 100 thousand cars of the brand found their owners, which exceeded last year's mark by 20%.
In March 1998, two new SUVs of the company were released - they had a 4.7-liter LX470 engine and an RX300 equipped with a 3-liter power plant. The latter became a hit of sales, providing explosive growth in Lexus statistics and leaving behind all other luxury car manufacturers. And the expert organization J.D. Power and Associates ranked the company's cars in 1st place in the rating of customer satisfaction for the 7th time in a row.
The 1999 Detroit Auto Show unveiled the company's rear-wheel drive model, the IS200, which began sales in Europe that same spring and nearly doubled Lexus's numbers from the previous year. And in the USA, the brand in the fifth place was awarded the first place among the manufacturers of the most problem-free cars, thanks to the minimum number of calls from its customers to service centers after 5 years of operation. The total number of Lexus sold has exceeded 1 million copies.
In 2000, the company introduced the IS variant, equipped with a 3.0-liter engine, and the new flagship LS430 sedan, whose engine developed 280 horsepower and had a displacement of 4.3 liters. The salon had a chic finish using natural leather and walnut, like previous models. A new model SC430 was also announced, and the firm decided to move the assembly of the RX300 to the Canadian plant of parent company Toyota. In August of the same year, the company set a sales record among luxury brands - more than 20 thousand cars per month.
In early 2001, Lexus moved more of its production to North America, opening an engine and suspension assembly plant for the RX300 in Buffalo. At the Detroit auto show, the SC430 models were shown, as well as the IS300 in 2 variations - SportCross, equipped with a steering wheel with a gear selector, and Manual Transmission - with a manual transmission. Sales of these cars began in the same year, and in October they were added to the third generation ES300, which has absorbed many of the latest achievements of the Japanese car industry.
In 2002, Lexus develops and produces a concept car that became the car of Tom Cruise's character in Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. It also unveils the IS200 update at the Paris Motor Show, featuring a SportCross steering wheel and a VVT-i engine. The GX470 luxury SUV with adjustable suspension was also launched in November.
In the spring of 2003, the company revamped the RX lineup with larger bodywork and a number of prestigious options. The American version also received a new 3.3-liter engine, while European buyers decided to keep the old 3-liter engine. Just a month after the start of sales, the car became the sales leader in its class. Lexus also unveiled the HPX prototype in New York, which combines the features of both a sports car and an SUV. In September, a plant for the production of cars of the brand began work in the Canadian city of Cambridge, and at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the company demonstrated the updated LS430 sedan.
The next few years were challenging for the company as sales in the United States fell. However, Lexus did not stop developing new models, and even began to produce cars equipped with diesel and hybrid engines, which used a number of modern environmentally friendly technologies. At the same time, the company begins to prepare for the conquest of the "super-luxury" class, planning to compete on equal terms with such "monsters" as "Bentley" and "Rolls-Royce". The company's first supercar was released in limited edition in 2009 under the name LF-A.
In 2009, the company introduces the next generation RX450 to the market, which received an additional index h, indicating that these cars are equipped with hybrid engines, and a year later it presents a more economical modification equipped with a 2.7-liter engine.
In 2011, Lexus unexpectedly introduced the CT200h, targeting the luxury compact hatchback niche at a relatively low price point. The ES350 sedan, first presented a year earlier at the Moscow Motor Show, also went on sale.
The 2011 earthquake, which destroyed part of Lexus's production facilities, prompted the company to adjust its sales plans and consider moving some of its factories to China, following the example of its parent company Toyota.
In the same year, there was a significant decline in sales of Lexus vehicles in the United States. Immediately after summing up the results, The New York Times wrote: “Eleven years of earning the title of best-selling luxury brand have ended this year. The company gave the championship to BMW and Mercedes-Benz. " However, the trend has improved somewhat thanks to Europe and Japan, where the purchase of luxury cars began to increase by 40% and 27%, respectively. Subsequently, Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda promised to restore interest in the brand and further increase the company's organizational independence, admitting that "... then we did not see Lexus as a brand, but only as a distribution channel." As a result of organizational changes at headquarters, senior Lexus managers report directly to a chairman for the first time in the brand's history.
Wanting to rehabilitate itself after last year's rating decline, the company's management started working at an accelerated pace. In January 2012, the brand began selling fourth-generation GS vehicles, including the GS 350 and GS 450h, as well as the GS 250 model for selected markets. In April of the same year, the sixth generation of the ES line was replenished with the ES 350 and ES 300h variants, which debuted at the New York International Auto Show.
In August, Lexus unveiled one of its prepared surprises - the LS flagship sedan. Technically, it was a redesigned and improved line of the previous model. In particular, the appearance of the car has changed, the motors have become much more efficient, and the optional potential has also increased. For the first time in the company's history, a flagship sedan has received an optional F Sport package.
At the same time, information appeared about the renewal by the Japanese of the project to create the IS-F model. Together with the Lexus IS, it was to become one of the main innovations of 2014.
In October 2012, the Lexus LF-LC debuted in Sydney. The car did not become an absolute novelty for the audience, as it was already familiar from the exhibition in Australia. However, the company representatives assured that there are significant differences. So, in particular, engineers have reduced the percentage of the use of carbon fiber in the car structure. SEMA, held a week later in Las Vegas, was marked by the presentation of the GS 350 F Sport.
At the end of 2012, Lexus registered new vehicles with the US and Australian patent offices. In America, it became known about the alleged crossovers NX 200t and NX 300h, produced on the basis of the Toyota RAV4. For Australia, the company has prepared the RC 350. The model was based on the LF-CC concept presented at the Paris Motor Show.
Since the first weeks of 2013, Lexus has been announcing its upcoming innovations and transformations over and over again, signaling the company's hopes to regain its leadership position in the US market. The full hybrid IS 300h, the redesigned Lexus LF-LC and the redesigned Lexus F SPORT lineup were unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in February. Almost immediately it became known that Lexus cars again received the J. D. Power and Associates ”as the Most Trusted and Top Awards by the 2013 Kelley Blue Book in the United States for the cost of ownership of a five-year-old luxury car.
To demonstrate the new all-wheel drive Lexus GS AWD, the Lexus Ice Event was held near Montreal in March. The company's management personally selected the guests of the event, giving only 24 invitations. In the spring, the Lexus patent range was replenished with another copy - the GS F brand was registered in the USA.
The Shanghai Show in April was used by Lexus executives to premiere the Lexus GS 300h hybrid. The car, they said, was intended for businessmen and corporate buyers. Koji Sato, deputy chief designer of the company, noted that the new product is also much more environmentally friendly, as it significantly reduces the level of CO2 emissions into the air compared to other models. The company's striving for "cleanliness" of its products has once again ensured it the leading position in the rating "The Greenest Brand in the World." It also became the best car maker in the Driver Power 2013 survey of the English automotive publication Auto Express.
Lexus unveiled the first ever holographic show starring Coco Rocha at Made Fashion Week in Fall 2013 in New York. The spectacle, which consisted of special effects, 3D modeling and many other technical advances, was a breathtaking sight, reflecting the history of the company's development with all the obstacles and ups. The latest version of the LF-NX TURBO concept crossover was unveiled at the most recent Tokyo Motor Show in 2013.
The 2014 Geneva Motor Show in all its glory presented the audience with a new line of RC F, which cars were recognized as the most powerful in the history of Lexus. At the exhibition, four cars of this model were shown at once: the RC coupe, the new RC F sports car F SPORT and the RC F GT3 racing concept. The presentation in Detroit was no less discussed. There, finally, a decent alternative to the BMW M4 and Audi RS5, which has been talked about for several years, was presented - the RC F Coupe. Looking to conquer the premium mid-size crossover segment, Lexus has unveiled the NX in Beijing.
Despite the fact that in 2014 the company slightly reduced the number of developed concepts, the popularity of the brand did not decrease at all, rather the opposite. Lexus has continued to receive international awards for consistent vehicle quality. Lexus, for the 12th time, topped the list of leading manufacturers in the UK's What Car? / JD Power Customer Satisfaction Index. In addition, the company was named the # 1 carmaker in the UK in the 2014 Which Car Survey. As a result, sales growth rates remained consistently high.
The first novelty of 2015 was the Lexus GS F 2016 sedan. However, everyone was eagerly awaiting the main bestseller - the new generation of RX models. This line has held the leading positions in sales for many years. Even the fact that the third collection was not to the liking of critics condemning the design of cars did not affect the love of this model in any way. It should be noted that the fourth collection fully met the expectations of the fans. The exterior has regained its former charm and appeal, combining the sophistication of the NX line with a smooth outline.
Wanting to expand the boundaries of its influence, the company took up several abstract projects. First of all, together with engineers and technologists of Toyotа, Lexus specialists began to develop a new security system. The innovation promises to be not only as efficient as possible, but also affordable. In 2015, Lexus cars have confirmed their status as the most reliable in the world and do not intend to lose this title in the future.
Another news for the fans of the company was the appearance of a modern flying board, which was tested in the summer of 2015. The innovative technology is based on the use of magnetic levitation. To a large extent, the resulting effect was helped by the presence of superconductors and permanent magnets cooled by liquid nitrogen.