General Lexus Information
The Toyota Motor Corporation started its operations in 1937 with the idea of producing quality, and affordable family use cars in Japan. However, they could not gain popularity in USA due to their small size as compared to American cars. However, with time, Toyota gained a reputation in the market for being the affordable, inexpensive and good quality alternative to the American made cars. Toyota wanted to further develop their brand, and with this thought started working on a new luxury car. This was in part due to the introduction of Acura and Infiniti by rival companies Honda and Nissan. Chicago Autohaus offers Lexus servicing and collision repair for Lexus vehicles.
Development started on the new product as early as 1983. The reason behind making a luxury car was to build a brand which could be called the best car in the world. The car had to be built from scratch as the new sedan model required a larger, more powerful engine than the other models offered by Toyota. The car also had to be bigger than the other models as the company wanted to target the international markets. Development took time and finally the Lexus was introduced in 1989 with the first model being the Lexus LS 400, costing more than $1 billion to develop with more than 450 prototypes by a team of more than 4,000 individuals.
During the first year of sales, the company sold more than 60,000 cars and also started to export to European, Australian and Canadian markets. The first sports model of Lexus was introduced in 1991, called the SC 400. The mid-sized sports model GS 300 was introduced in 1993 and another complete sports model the LX450 was debuted in 1996. The company had to adapt to the US market even further with demands rising of the SUV models. Hence in 1998, the company introduced the models RX 300, GS 300, and GS 400.
Global Automobile Market
With the company looking towards further recognition and penetration the global markets, the IS line was introduced. These were sports sedans geared more towards being executive luxury cars. The main aim was bigger engines than the previous luxury sports models in Japan as well as marketing it as a competitor to the European counterparts. These were introduced in 1999 and stayed in the market till 2006. There was also a station wagon version of the model first available in Japan and later introduced in the American and European markets. Entering the global market, Lexus was set to compete with popular auto makers such Mercedes and Audi.
The first model geared towards hybrid engine and green energy was the Lexus RX 400h. This was the first model to use the new Hybrid Synergy Drive system which combined both electricity and petrol to form a true economical engine in luxury cars. This was introduced in Japan as Toyota Harrier and then rebranded as the Lexus RX to export to the global market. The first generation was small in size with the next three being mid-sized models. These were also manufactured in both front and four wheel drive configurations. This was also the timer that the Toyota company started looking at creating a different entity and brand for Lexus separate from the Toyota organization itself.
Separating From Toyota
The separation of the Toyota brand was a long project which gradually phased out both the companies from each other. Completed in 2005, the new organization has its own engineering, designing, and manufacturing departments, independent from the parent company. Now the Lexus was ready to be introduced in Japan. This was followed by exports to countries like China and Russia. The main idea behind doing so was introduction of the brand outside its main market the US, and further global expansion to other markets.
This fuelled the manufacturing of new models of the brand. To combat the problem of being a lesser known brand in Europe, the company decided to introduce diesel and hybrid engines, and increase the dealerships in those markets. With the introduction of the brand in Japan, Toyota ended the production of various models such as Harrier, Altezza, Windom and etc. With offering better quality and luxury than other Toyota models, the Lexus had a higher price tag than previous cars; hence it faced slow sales in the first year in Japan. This changed with further model changes, expansion of the lineup.
Within the next years, the company faced tough competition from rival luxury brands such as BMW and Mercedes. It also lost its spot as the best seller in the American market for 11 consecutive years in 2011. But further improvement in quality, design, introduction of bigger and more powerful engines, and delving into the proper sports category with models such as the Lexus LFA strengthened the brand in recent years.
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