Lexus History: Pursuit of Perfection and Unparalleled Luxury

Elevate Your Drive with Lexus History

1983 – 1990 – The origin

In 1983, the president of Toyota, Eiji Toyoda, agreed in a secret meeting with a group of company executives to launch a brand capable of challenging the best in the world, especially in the North American market. The F1 -de Flagship Nº 1 vehicle- (alternatively called Circle-F) gives the LS 400. This model does not use parts or platforms from other Toyota. The idea is to achieve a standard in design, aerodynamics, habitability, comfort, soundproofing, and technology. 

For this reason, it has a newly created 4.0 V8 mechanics, four-speed automatic transmission and electronic control, steel body with sandwich panels to reduce noise. 

The first sketches -60 are created- date from 1985: it is a car with sporty features, great length, wheelbase and width, a prominent grille, multiple interior customization options (leather, 24 types of decorative wood trim, sound systems) -. 

Three thousand nine hundred engineers contribute to the project, and 450 prototypes are manufactured that total 2.7 million kilometers between Europe, the United States, and Saudi Arabia. The classic car was approved in 1987 and debuted two years later at the Detroit Motor Show. Shortly after, its commercialization began through 81 dealerships distributed throughout the United States.

So that the range does not have a single model, the ES (1989) is created, a car based on the Vista – a sedan designed for the Japanese market with a Camry chassis – and powered by the Toyota Camry engine (a 2.5 petrol of 156 hp). 

While this formula contradicts Lexus’ founding principles – not using existing Toyota parts and platforms – it allows you to launch a second vehicle in a short space of time. Between both models, the Japanese brand sold 63,594carss during the first year. 

Previously, in 1986, it decided that the brand be called “Lexus” because of the allusion of this word to luxury, technology, and distinction. The original motto of the firm is ‘The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. The manufacturer continued its expansion, and in 1990 began a limited export to Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

1991 – 2000 – European assault

In 1991, two new models arrived for the American market: the SC 400, a 2 + 2 coupe with an electrohydraulic hardtop, and the ES 300. With original sketches from the studio that the brand owns in California, the first is sketched parallel to the Toyota Soarer and shares the mechanics and rear drive with the LS. The evolution and complete development of this model is the responsibility of the European division. 

As an option, it offers TRAC traction control, which neutralizes the lack of grip by braking the wheel or wheels that have lost grip. The GS range (Toyota Aristo in Japan) appeared in North America, initially drawn by Giugiaro and powered by a 3.0 in-line 6-cylinder engine and 226 hp. Its sales (just over 19,000 units per year) are initially discreet. 

Lexus landed in Spain that same year (1993) from the hand of the Bergé Group, its distributor. The first model to be marketed in the national territory is the LS 400. In 1996, the first Lexus all-terrain vehicle appeared, the LX 450: an adaptation of the Toyota Land Cruiser HDJ with 4.5 in-line six-cylinder mechanics and 212 hp, capacity for seven occupants an almost entirely leather-lined cabin. In addition, it adds other sophistication of the moment, such as a six-CD changer, all-wheel drive with electronic differential locks, electric sunroof. 

The second generation of the GS arrives the following year (although it was officially marketed in 1998. The design is entirely new and has a larger size, Optitron instrumentation, xenon lights, and six-cylinder engines. This same year is the SLV prototype, a preview of the RX SUV. The final model appeared in 1998, with a 3.0 V6 gasoline engine and four-speed automatic transmission. 

It has exciting equipment such as the rear seats with reclining backrest and sliding bench, leather interior, stepped console with multiple chests, or a 240W sound system. But the thing does not end here: a year before the end of the decade, the IS, the first average Lexus saloon, is presented. In the case of the Spanish market, the arrival of the IS 200 represents strong support for the brand’s commercial operations.

2001 – Act – Way to the future

At the Paris Motor Show (2002), Lexus unveils the new generation of the SC. The SC 430, designed between Europe and Japan, opts for a convertible body with a retractable hardtop (inspired by classic models such as the 1938 Peugeot Eclipse), 18-inch wheels, leather-upholstered interior … presents the LF-S concept car, a preview of future solutions for the brand’s hybrid saloons. 

The third generation of the GS arrived in 2005: it debuts the L-finesse aesthetic concept, more aerodynamic (its Cx is 0.27), with a fastback type rear (similar to a two-volume car) a more muscular stamp, in addition of pilots with light-emitting diodes. This same year, at the New York Hall, the LF-C study was unveiled, which could be a coupe.

For its part, the new RX 400h hybrid has a 3.3 V6 and two electric heat engines that offer a combined performance equivalent to that of a V8. 2006 brings the fourth version of the LS: it is available in two body lengths for the first time, although its interior care is the most remarkable. On the other hand, the appearance of the first diesel Lexus in Spain (IS 220d) causes sales to double. 

On October 1, 2007, a momentous event took place: Toyota Spain assumed the brand’s distribution in Spain. In another vein, the GS 430 gives way to the 460: the range receives a slight facelift that includes new bumpers, instrumentation, steering wheel, trim … Also, the hybrid version GS 450his was added. During 2007, when the brand sold 500,000 units, the RX 350 with a 3.3 V6 engine arrived. In 2008 the IS-F made its appearance, a sports version with 423 hp and eight-speed automatic transmission.

The last year of this decade brings several novelties: the GS 450h modifies its batteries to gain 30 liters of capacity in the trunk; the IS 250C, a convertible coupe from the IS range with a 2 + 2 cabin, is launched; and the debut of the HS 250h medium hybrid saloon, made with a multitude of recycled or environmentally sustainable materials, is produced. 

The brand announces its most efficient model, with an energy-saving 30% higher than the best Lexus of this type manufactured to date. It has a 2.4 four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric one that yields 187 hp, in addition to a CVT-type continuously variable transmission. In the national territory, the four Lexus Hybrid Drives that are marketed account for 50% of the subsidiary’s sales.

In 2012 the Japanese brand launched the Lexus LFA. This supercar was born with the idea of ​​being the best sports car ever made in Japan. It mounts a 510 horsepower V10 engine to reach 100 km / h in 3.7 seconds.

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