The Lexus Timeline - Lexus Media Site (2024)

1983August 1983. At a secret meeting in Japan, Toyota’s Chairman Dr Eiji Toyoda sets a challenge to a team of strategists, engineers and designers: “Can we create a luxury car to challenge the very best?”More than 400 prototype vehicles are built, 100 are crash tested and more than 4.3 million test kilometres are driven in Japan, the USA and Europe.More than 1,400 engineers and 2,300 technicians rise to Toyoda-san’s challenge.

Sixty designers, 24 engineering teams, and 220 support workers are engaged on the “F1” project. Every detail was exhaustively thought through – build tolerances were at least twice as accurate as competitors’.

1987In May 1987, four years of development time and many full-sized clay models later, Lexus executives sign off on the final LS design.1988The brand name ‘Lexus’ is chosen to represent luxury and high-end technology. Early alternative suggestions included Alexis and Lexis.1989The Lexus brand is bornThe first LS 400 is launched, incorporating hundreds of new patents and setting new standards for quality and value. Almost 3,000 are sold in the first month after launch.At the Lexus Tahara plant in Japan, the welding process for the LS 400 is fully automated, making welds 1.5 times stronger than those on conventionally welded vehicles.1990Lexus is launched in Europe with a single model range: the LS 400.On the LS 400, aerodynamic considerations lead to the underside of the vehicle having a smooth floorpan and a number of special fairings to direct airflow. This gives the model class-leading underbody aerodynamics.1991Lexus starts its dominance in J.D. Power customer satisfaction surveys in the USA, becoming the first brand to win the ‘triple crown’ of sales satisfaction, initial quality and being rated overall top brand for customer satisfaction.

Lexus becomes the USA’s number one luxury import brand, outselling BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

A new coupé, the SC 400, is launched for the American market. Its design is the work of the CALTY centre in California.1993The new Lexus GS 300 is launched in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show.1995The second-generation LS 400 is launched. The philosophy of steady evolution of Lexus cars was evident in its design.The second-generation Lexus LS 400 is also the first production car to feature a collapsible steering column. This patented innovation featuresa corrugated shaft coupling toabsorb primary and secondary impacts in the event of a collision.1997A 4.0-litre V8 engine with VVT-i is used in the HPS concept car. This intelligent valve technology revolutionises efficient yet high-performance driving.1998Lexus becomes the USA’s top-selling luxury brand for the first time, outperforming domestic manufacturers Cadillac and Lincoln.The RX 300 is launched creating a completely new market segment – the luxury SUVThe RX 300 4×4 is fitted with a V6 3.0 litre VVT-i engine and an automatic transmission with Power, Normal and Snow modes.

The European-specificationLS 400becomes the first car in the world to have satellite navigation fitted as standard.

1999.The IS 200 compact sports saloon is introduced; the first Lexus model to be specifically developed for the European market.IS 200 features the best of Lexus innovation and engineering, including aluminium driving pedals, chronometer-style instruments and the first use of LED rear lights.2000.The first generation RX 300 goes on sale in EuropeAir suspension debuts on the new LS 430, in a system that maintained vehicle ride height regardless of the number of passengers or load level. It could be raised by 20mm for uneven roads and automatically lowered at high speeds to improve aerodynamics.2001Lexus receives its first JD Power & Associates gold award in the UK.Lexus’s European model range expands to five cars with the launch of the SC 430 coupé-convertible. Its sleek lines and classic styling were created by the Lexus European Design Centre (ED2) in the South of FranceThe SC 430 is equipped with an elegant, all-weather aluminium hardtop that can be retracted in 25 seconds.2002In Germany, the IS saloon achieves a customer satisfaction index of 86%, the highest score of all cars listed in the J.D. Power survey.

This year sees Steven Spielberg ask Lexus to help design a car for Tom Cruise to drive in his blockbuster movie, Minority Report, a film set in 2054.

Without the support of Akio Toyoda, President and Member of the Board of the Toyota Motor Corporation, the legendary Lexus LFA supercar may never have been built. Approached for support in 2002 by the vehicle’s creators, Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and the late master driver Hiromu Naruse, Toyoda-san quickly becomes the LFA’s primary champion2003An all-new RX 300 goes on sale in Europe.

By June 2003, Akio Toyoda, Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and the late master driver Hiromu Naruse, were already test driving LFA prototypes.

Technology highlights on the second-generation RX 300 include air suspension, intelligent Adaptive Front-lighting, an automatic tailgate and Park Assist.2004Lexus’s L-finesse design direction is unveiled, inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetic values.The LF-C concept makes its debut at the New York Motor Show, establishing the hallmarks of the new Lexus design direction, incisive simplicity and advanced technology.The RX 400h is launched – the world’s first luxury hybrid SUV. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain gives it the fuel consumption and emission levels of a much smaller, compact vehicle.2005This year the Lexus brand is launched in Japan and becomes an instant success. In its home market, Lexus successfully developed a network of 143 new dealerships and trained2,000 high performing employees, from sales people on the shop floor to engineers.Lexus’s L-finesse design philosophy is applied to new production vehicles – the second-generation IS and third-generation GS saloons.The second-generation LexusIS becomes theworld’s first car to be fitted with a twin-chamber front passenger airbag, designed to deliver greater protection to the neck and shoulders in an impact.2006The LS 460, the fourth-generation of the Lexus flagship saloon, is launched and features the world’s first eight-speed automatic transmission.

The new RX 350, replacing the RX 300 offers greater fuel economy, acceleration and improved driving dynamics.

The world’s first high-performance luxury hybrid saloon is launched. The GS 450h offers a unique combination of performance, economy and low emissions.

Four world firsts in advanced safety technology are introduced with the new LS: Advanced Obstacle Detection System, Emergency Steering Assist, Rear Pre-Crash Safety system and Driver Monitoring System.

2007The LS 460 is voted “World Car of the Year 2007”.The new IS F, the first of Lexus’s ‘F’-marque cars is launched in Europe at the Geneva Motor Show.The LS 600h and LS 600h L take V8-powered Lexus Hybrid Drive technology into the super-premium limousine market.2009Lexus presents its LF-Ch hybrid concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show, signalling its interest in launching its first model to compete in the European C-premium market.

Lexus introduces the third-generation RX 350 and RX 450h, reinventing the vehicle that created the luxury SUV market.

The all-new IS 250C hard-top convertible and the all-new third-generation GS 460 go on sale.

The LFA team take their V10 supercar prototype to the Nürburgring in Germany and compete in the legendary 24-hour endurance race “to get more feedback on the production car,” as Akio Toyoda says. The LFA finishes an impressive 18th in the race, turning heads immediately, and prompting universal acclaim.2010.World premiere of the CT 200h hybrid luxury compact at the Geneva Motor Show.2011A unique Lexus full hybrid LS 600h L Landaulet featuring a one-piece, transparent polycarbonate roof serves as the official royal wedding car on the occasion of the marriage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.The first LFA V10-powered production car arrives in Europe, one of only 500 hand-built supercars that are planned for production.

The CT 200h, the world’s first full hybrid luxury compact, becomes Lexus fifth hybrid to go on sale in Europe.

Lightweight, balanced, powerful and amazing to drive, the Lexus LFA supercar features advanced Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) construction for its chassis and bodywork to deliver a light, incredibly strong and impact-resistant structure.2012The final Lexus LFA is completed on December 14, 2012, ending the supercar’s production run of 500 units.World premiere of LF-LC concept vehicle in Detroit which is named best concept car in the annual EyesOn Design Awards at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

A hallmark of Lexus design innovation, the sporty mesh of the Lexus signature grille is a daring visual statement that is now a brand-defining element on every Lexus. The feature is first introduced on the GS saloon establishing a new, stylish and provocative identity for Lexus.

2013Located in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district, INTERSECT BY LEXUS opens, looking beyond the traditional car showroom to give visitors a chance to experience the lifestyle around the Lexus brand without having to get behind the wheel.The third generation IS saloon is launched.2014Lexus collaborates with the multi-faceted and highly talented for the Striking Angles campaign for the new NX crossover. The musician-artist designs a one-off version of the car that is unveiled during Paris Fashion Week.

In the UK, Lexus is ranked first in the What Car?/ J .D. Power customer satisfaction for a 12th year.

The Lexus NX crossover and RC F high-performance coupé are launched.

At the Geneva Motor Show, Lexus also showcases the iridescent, rainbow-adorned RC F GT 3 race car.

The Lexus Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) is the world’s first torque transfer-type torque-vectoring system to be installed in a front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports coupé. TVD enhances traction and control for extraordinary levels of handling and performance.2015Lexus partners with experts in superconductor technology to create one of the most advanced hoverboards ever developed. The project forms part of its Amazing in Motion international brand campaign.

Lexus becomes the first vehicle manufacturer to win the “Best Entertaining” honour in the Milano Design Awards for its Lexus – A Journey of the Senses exhibit at Milan Design Week.

The fourth generation RX is launched.Lexus introduces the Lexus Safety System+ package of advanced active safety features, designed to help prevent accidents happening and lessen the consequences if an impact does occur. Features include a Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert and an Adaptive High-beam System.

The visionary Lexus LF-FC (Lexus Future-Flagship Car/Fuel Cell) Concept offers a glimpse of the design and technology under consideration for a future flagship saloon that could reach the market around the end of the decade.

2016Lexus forms a creative collaboration with the actor Jude Law to launch the The Life RX. The international promotional campaign is designed to amplify the qualities and appeal of the new luxury SUV, the 2016 Lexus RX.The production version of the LF-LC, the Lexus LC, is unveiled.Lexus develops its Multi Stage Hybrid System for the LC 500h coupé and LS 500h flagship saloon, a next-generation drivetrain technology designed specifically for high-performance vehicles.2017The Lexus Sport Yacht concept is launched in Miami Beach, USA, and is followed shortly afterwards by a futuristic Lexus Skyjet in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a science fiction film set in the 28th century.


The all-new Lexus LS embraces Japanese takumi craft forms such as kiriko cut glass for interior trim and origami handwork for the hand-pleated door panels. Exquisite laser-cut marquetry is perfected for the Art Wood decoration on the new flagship saloon.Imaginative new technologies such as the new Multi-Stage Hybrid system and the advanced Lexus Safety System+ A are launched with the all-new Lexus LS flagship saloon. The safety elements include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Alert and Active Steering Assist, Lexus Co-Drive (Lane Tracing Assist with the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control) and Front Cross Traffic Alert.2018Lexus breaks new ground with its Driven by Intuition commercial for the new ES, the world’s first advert written entirely by artificial intelligence (AI).

THE LOFT by Lexus and Brussels Airlines opens at Brussels Airport, marking the next milestone for the Lexus luxury lifestyle brand.

Inspired by the design of the LS flagship saloon and LC luxury coupé, the provocative yet elegant new ES executive saloon is the first ES to be introduced to Western and Central Europe.

Especially designed for European urbanites, the new UX compact crossover displays a fresh yet dynamic approach to contemporary luxury, while the LF-1 Limitless concept explores the future of Lexus luxury SUV design and innovation.

The UX 250h and ES 300h are launched with fourth generation Lexus self-charging hybrid powertrains. Both hybrids feature an incredibly efficient petrol engine, new hybrid transaxle, new compact battery and new power control unit. Both are also capable of running in zero emissions mode for up to 50% of the time.2019Marking 30 years of amazing experiences, in February Lexus announces its 10 millionth vehicle sale. Key to this growth is the world’s widest range of electrified luxury hybrid cars. More than 1.6 million Lexus self-charging hybrids have been sold since 2005.The new RC F Track Edition coupé is 55kg lighter than the standard RC and features exclusive motorsport-inspired carbon fibre styling. It makes its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the new LC Convertible Concept.The pioneering new RX luxury SUV offers segment-leading levels of safety provided by the world’s first BladeScan-type Adaptive High-beam System and latest Lexus Safety System+.
The Lexus Timeline - Lexus Media Site (2024)


What is the oldest Lexus car? ›

The first Lexus, the flagship LS 400, was introduced in fall 1989, setting a new standard for luxury cars around the world. Since that historic launch, Lexus introduced the ES, SC, GS and IS. In the following years, Lexus introduced the LX, GX and RX Luxury Utility Vehicles.

Is Lexus still owned by Toyota? ›

Lexus is a division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation.

How to check Lexus maintenance history? ›

You can access your account directly from the automaker's website.
  1. Step 1: Log In to My Lexus. To view the service history of a Lexus vehicle online, you must log into your Lexus account, or sign up if you don't have an account already. ...
  2. Step 2: Add the Vehicle to Your Account. ...
  3. Step 3: Check the Vehicle's Service History.
Apr 19, 2024

Is Lexus better than Toyota? ›

Consumer Reports speaks highly of both brands. However, Lexus is top ranked of all brands in the 2023 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study. Kelley Blue Book has awarded Lexus with the 2022 Most Trusted Luxury Brand and 2023 Best Luxury Brand for resale values.

What came first, Toyota or Lexus? ›

In 1989, Toyota branched out by establishing a luxury line of vehicles with the debut of the Lexus LS 400 and the ES 250. Highly acclaimed cars, plus exceptional customer service, quickly became the hallmark of Lexus. In 1991, Lexus earned the title of No.

Do Lexus require a lot of maintenance? ›

Lexus vehicles usually come with pretty average upkeep costs. According to data from RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for a Lexus vehicle is $551.

Are you supposed to get your Lexus serviced every 10000 miles? ›

As a general rule of thumb, Lexus recommends that you service your vehicle at least once every six months or 5,000 miles. It's important to keep up with this schedule if you want your Lexus to run at peak performance.

What Lexus is on recall list? ›

Recall no. Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain 2023 Mirai, Lexus LS500, LS500H, 2023-2024 Lexus ES250, ES300H, ES350, 2024 Lexus LC500, and LC500H vehicles equipped with a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) system.

What does Lexus stand for? ›

Theories of the etymology of the Lexus name have suggested it is the combination of the words "luxury" and "elegance", and that it is an acronym for "luxury exports to the U.S." According to Team One interviews, the brand name has no specific meaning and simply denotes a luxurious and technological image.

Is BMW better than Lexus? ›

In fact, Lexus ranked as the #1 brand in J.D. Power's 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, while BMW ranked far lower at #15. And this isn't just a one-off occurrence — this is the Lexus brand's tenth time in 12 years ranking as the number one most dependable brand according to J.D. Power's study.

What cars are better than a Lexus? ›

On the whole, Mercedes-Benz models offer higher performance capabilities, unique interior features as standard, and greater efficiency than Lexus models. We compare the two brands side by side for Rancho Cucamonga drivers below to show them why Mercedes-Benz is truly a one-of-a-kind brand.

Which came first Acura or Lexus? ›

Acura vs. Lexus origin stories begin with the Acura brand. They arrived first, launching in 1986 to make similarly upscale versions of Honda vehicles. The Lexus company debuted in 1989 to sell luxury versions of Toyota vehicles.

Why Lexus is not called Toyota Lexus? ›

But Toyota Motors understood they had yet to enter the luxury segment, so they created the Lexus brand. In many ways, Lexus is drastically different than Toyota. Lexus vehicles use many of the same components but include higher quality and performance. Toyota cars prioritize reliability over premium amenities.

What was the first Lexus product? ›

As the first model developed by Lexus, the LS 400 debuted in January 1989 with the second generation debuting in November 1994. The LS 430 debuted in January 2000 and the LS 460/LS 460 L series in 2006.

Is Lexus an old person car? ›

This was my initial guess for the stereotypical new car for old folks, for good reason. The Lexus RX is a beautifully refined vehicle that prioritizes comfort over sportiness, has a spacious five passenger interior, has legendary Lexus reliability and safety on its side, and is a solid value for the money.


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