One that the American’s would have never envisaged few decades back was a Japanese domination in the sphere of luxury cars in their country. Fed on the Lincolns and Cadillac the country suddenly woke up to see a new star arriving in the horizon in the name of Lexus engineered by Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota.
Though it was not the Pearl Harbor invasion, but was very close to it. The chairman of Toyota called a meeting of his executives and deliberated on the move to producing a Japanese engineered luxury brand of car to compete with the then prevailing American luxury models. The decision was taken and the project was christened as Flagship-1 and till date has proved to be the most lucrative automobile project in the Japanese automobile history. The car became known as the Lexus 400 even before it was debuted in America.
Lexus LS 400 was not just the result of resources and time, but a thorough study of the American way of life conducted by the Japanese research wing. The team went as far as renting accommodation in Laguna Beach and closely watching their future customer’s lifestyles and habits. Combined with the results obtained by the research and cutting edge engineering imparted to the car it became a great hit with the natives. The 1989 Detroit Auto Show saw the unveiling of the LS 400 and was the attention of all auto enthusiasts and car dealers and the pre-build up advertisements had been greatly insightful and helped to enhance the entry. It took $1 billion, 450 prototypes, several thousand employees and man days to bring the effect and it was worth every dollar spent on the car.
Lexus had several advantages over the other Japanese luxury car the Honda Acura and one of them was its original design unlike the later whose design was a rebadged from former Honda models. The LS 400 had nothing like that and had no influence of any Toyota pattern. The car was powerful, reliable, ergonomic and a silent killer and was a nemesis to the European imports like BMW and Mercedes Benz. The entry of LS initiated drastic fall in the sales of these up market cars that were ruling the roost fearlessly before. Along with the subsequent model ES 250 the LS cars clocked tremendous sales that paved the way for opening an 81-dealership network for marketing the Lexus brands. The brand became the top selling luxury car in the debut year itself. Lexus released two more models in 1991 namely SC400 coupe and ES 300 Sedan as the later became the replacement for the ES250. The ES300 became top selling sedans from the company’s assembly line.
The LX 450 of the sports utility segment vehicle was introduced in 1996 and the car was modeled on the Toyota Land Cruiser 100 and was larger in size. In 1998 Lexus came up with the RX a Toyota Camry cross over, a top selling model in the GS series. The sales of Lexus cars were increased further by the introduction of a technologically advanced hybrid model RX 400H the Lexus Hybrid Drive System integrated car. The Lexus brand made quick stride and covered the entire world for customer base and is now having business in 50 countries. The current models include IS, LS, RX and the LF-A concept cars.