The Lexus is the one vehicle that has truly scared the great marques from Europe. This is a car that has claimed many awards for quality of finish, smoothness, luxury, and reliability. J.D. Power and Associates, in a survey taken in 2013, rated it the most reliable car brand in the U.S.A. This was based on its Vehicle Dependability Survey, which tested over 47,000 vehicle owners and the problems they experienced in the first three years of vehicle ownership. It was the twelfth consecutive year that Lexus obtained this top rating. If you didn’t know, Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation.
Before its entranec into the Australian market, The beginnings of Lexus hark back to the year 1983, when the Toyota Chairman Eiji Toyoda challenged his company to build a luxury flagship to “challenge the world’s best.” Toyota’s endeavor to make the Lexus brand the best car in the world was labeled the F1 project and was kept a deep secret. Extensive research was carried out in America by a market research group. Their aim was to find out the tastes of the American luxury buyer.
After extensive research and focus group meetings, the first LS 400 prototypes were built in 1985. Discussions were held on where the best testing tracks would be for the Lexus prototype. It was agreed on that the LS 400 prototypes would be tested on the great German autobahns. This was carried out in 1986. Extensive testing was also carried out on American roads. Within a year, the final design for the debut Lexus was agreed on. The LS 400 design was clean and sophisticated, but was styled to appeal to the American buyer and was therefore reasonably conservative. The final look of the car was pleasing on the eye, and the long sweeping lines were smooth and un-ruffled. So it was in the year 1989 that the V8 powered LS 400 debuted at the Detroit Motor Show, and it went on sale in September of that year. Lexus reached the Australian car dealers in 1990 and Lexus Australia was born.
During the first decade of the Lexus manufacturer, the model range in Australia was extended offering a mix of luxury sedans, and sport sedans. The ES300 was put on display in Sydney in 1991 and by the next year, the models were in hot demand. And Lexus also successfully ventured into the luxury 4X4 market to compete against other top brands from Range Rover, BMW and Mercedes Benz. People queued for hours outside dealers in Sydney, Melborne, Brisbane and Adelaide to see (and buy) the new LX470 in 1998.
Lexus cars made a cameo appearance the movie Minority Report, where the car’s good looks rival those of driver Tom Cruise (personally, I prefer the Lexus).
The worldwide motto of Lexus is: “The Pursuit of Perfection”. Lexus has used this signature phrase since its beginning. The Lexus car is a superb blend of quality, luxury and power. Owning one of these is a satisfying experience which many Australians have enjoyed over the last 20 years.
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