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Media post: Lexus History – the new premium

1989 Lexus LS 

When Toyota decided to build a new premium sedan they code-named it F-1. Designing a brand new car from scratch is a pretty big thing, so a secret code name is a must. Well, all that secret measuring and engineering and drawing board stuff began in 1983, and after six years of exhausting creative labor, the Lexus LS was born. That luxury car was an immediate hit with consumers and after the initial vehicle came out, Toyota produced the sedan, convertible, SUV and Coupé models, which also were mega hits around the world.

The Lexus was conceived as a luxury vehicle by Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda. He had the very bright idea to build the world’s best car. Since his company already manufactured some of the best cars in the world he felt that Toyota should also be competing against Mercedes Benz and other legendary luxury carmakers. Of course, while the Lexus was being carved out in clay and the designers were in the middle of creating more head, leg and arm room in the context of one of the most comfortable cars ever made, the question came up as to how to market this new elegant automobile.

That question was answered quickly with the help of Toyota’s advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. They came up with the name Lexus by going through a number of beautiful sounding (and meaning) names and whittled them all down to a combination of “luxury” and “elegance,” which somehow came out to Lexus. Of course, that name fit the car to a tee and the advertising team ran with it.

We could say the rest is history but we wanted to share a little about what it really takes to design and manufacture a brand new automobile from just an idea from the chairman of the corporation. As we said, it took six years from concept to launch, but it also took the work of 24 engineering teams, 60 designers, 1,400 engineers, 220 support workers (we’re still trying to figure out exactly what they did), 2,300 technicians to build 450 prototypes of the Lexus. All this creativity cost Toyota over $1 billion. That is, in case you forgot how much a billion really is, 1,000 million dollars, which is a lot of money.

Was it worth it, you might ask? Well, the popularity of the Lexus brand has only increased each year since it came out and you can see why when you take a Lexus for a test drive at Atlantic Lexus of 110.

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