TOWARDS A GLOBAL LEXUS MARQUE

Initially established within the Toyota Motor Corporation as an entirely separate marque, the Lexus Division finally achieved total, worldwide development autonomy within the group with the creation of the Lexus Development Centre in June 2003. The new Centre is exclusively dedicated to Lexus; committed to perfection in the crafting of new vehicles, the refocusing of the Lexus brand image and the creation a truly global awareness of the unique Lexus model range.

Conceived under the banner “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection”, the Lexus LS400 went on sale in America in 1989; the world’s first all new, luxury marque in a generation. The arrival of Lexus amongst the world’s established luxury car makers was distinguished not only by the quality of the LS400 itself, but also by a wholly new concept of customer service, setting exceptional standards of exclusivity, intelligent design, integrity and attention to detail.

By 1991, Lexus had become the USA’s leading luxury import marque, the remarkable standards of customer care reflected in Lexus’ unprecedented and ongoing domination of the world-famous JD Power and Associates Awards: The first time Lexus became eligible for the Initial Quality Study award, in 1990, the marque took the top position by a significant margin. And, since 1990, Lexus has gone on to win more than 35 individual premier awards from JD Power and Associates.

To date, however, Lexus has been heavily dependent on the US market. But, in both launching the Lexus marque in Japan in August 2005 with a dedicated, nationwide dealership network and establishing a new, worldwide development centre, the restructured Lexus Division aims to maintain its outstanding competitive edge over rival luxury brands through strengthening the unique qualities of the Lexus premium image and further enhancing an already renowned sales service, whilst significantly raising the global profile of the marque.

Fundamental to a development organisation exclusively dedicated to the specific qualities of the Lexus marque, the Lexus Development Centre has its own Planning, Engineering and Experimental divisions, a Chief Engineer responsible for each new model and, of course, its own Design Division and model studio.

At the heart of a new, Lexus Craft Product Development Process committed to bespoke vehicle research and development programmes running over the significantly expanded time-scales appropriate to a premium brand, is a new “Lexus Design” philosophy.

First demonstrated through the highly acclaimed LF-S and LF-X concept vehicles displayed at the 2003 Tokyo Motorshow and presented at the 2004 Geneva Motorshow through the new generation GS, “Lexus Design” is a ground-breaking design rationale expressing three fundamental elements, “Seamless Anticipation, Incisive Simplicity and Intriguing Elegance”, and is deeply rooted in Japanese culture with references drawn from the timeless heritage of true Japanese design iconography, both ancient and modern.

“But this is not about merely mimicking the surface attributes of something Japanese” explains General Manager of Lexus Design Division, Mr Kengo Matsumoto. “Rather, it involves looking carefully at the sometimes unique ways of thinking that led to them, and utilising this in a way that is acceptable on a global level.”

“‘Seamless Anticipation’ forms the basis for the way in which Lexus must both portray its hospitality and interact with the customer” continues Matsumoto. “Japanese hospitality is based heavily on anticipation. If we take, for example, the tea ceremony, the tea is the product, but the real value comes from careful anticipation of the customer’s feelings and expectations before he reaches the tea house; the mood set by the approach, response to them in the present, simplification of the utensils, and preparation for unforeseen eventualities in the future. The use of seamless anticipation in the tea ceremony enables the building of a complex, personal experience, worth far more than the ‘product’ by itself.”

“And this hints at how we can integrate this way of thinking into the product, allowing us to create a unique, simplified and personalized experience for the Lexus Customer.”

“Intriguing Elegance” and “Incisive Simplicity” further constitute the essence of the new Lexus Design philosophy, guiding future Lexus styling objectives by challenging the paradox that simplicity only leads to clinical, mathematical design and, conversely, that intriguing design must be complex.

“In a word, ‘Lexus Design’ is attempting to create ‘incisive simplicity'” explains Kengo Matsumoto. “To achieve this, we have to accept a number of things that, on the surface, seem illogical. For instance, that simplicity need not to be just simple…”

“Simplicity has become a pre-requisite in design today, but at the same time, users are demanding more emotion. If we look at the Japanese aesthetic, we can see that simplicity does not necessarily mean minimal or reduction but, rather, that simplicity is there to create contrast.”

“If we accept this, there is a chance to bring together these two opposing factors into design. And integration of a wide range of surface and architectural language in ‘Lexus Design’ is integral to achieving our goals; dynamic yet intriguing design, born from the contrast in surface language rather than relying solely on exaggeration to create dynamism.”

Thus the “Lexus Design” philosophy instigates an entirely new form of luxury experience; cars that artfully meld bold, striking, leading-edge design with simplicity, yet, at the same time, have an air of mystery and elegance, imbuing the marque with a unique cultural identity.

Along with the rise of its new design language, Lexus will further focus on a unique powertrain strategy for the premium automotive segment, first shown at the 2004 Geneva Motorshow in the new RX400h petrol/electric hybrid SUV.

“We want to turn hybrid technology into a kind of trademark for Lexus” says the Director of Lexus Europe, Stuart McCullough. “To us, hybrid drive is a key element of the future of the luxury segment. It offers at least the same power, but at a much smaller fuel consumption and greatly reduced CO2 emissions. We are convinced that hybrids will revolutionise the automotive industry; this drive concept will form an integral part of fuel cell technology. And those who can convince their customers with economical products which do not force them to do without luxury will be successful.”

From the outset, the Lexus philosophy has been to stress absolute customer orientation as the very core of the marque. “That is really the foundation of our success” adds Stuart McCullough. “For us, customer orientation and quality are closely related, which JD Power keep confirming to us again and again in their surveys.”

J.D. Power & Associates awards garnered by Lexus – United States

 

VDI

IQS

SSI

CSI

APEAL

1990

Not eligible

Best overall brand

Not available

1991

Not eligible

Best overall brand

ES250 – upper Middle Class

LS400 – luxury class

Best overall brand

Nr1 carline

Not available

1992

Not eligible

LS400 – $22,001 & up

Best overall brand

Nr1 carline

Not available

1993

Not eligible

Best overall brand

LS400 – $29,001 & up

Nr1 carline

Not available

1994**

Not eligible

Best overall brand

LS400 – $29,001 & up

Best overall brand

Nr1 carline

Not available

1995

Best overall brand

LS400 – best car model

Nr1 carline

1996

Best overall brand

LS400 – best model

ES300 – entry luxury segment

SC400/300 – premium luxury

Best overall brand

 

LS400 – premium luxury

1997

Best overall brand

LS400 – premium Luxury

LX450 – full size SUV

Nr1 carline

ES300 – entry luxury

1998

Best overall brand

ES300 – entry luxury

LS400 – premium luxury

Nr1 carline

RX300 – luxury SUV

LS400 – premium luxury

1999

Best overall brand

LS400 – premium luxury

LX470 – full size SUV

Nr1 carline

LX470 – luxury SUV

2000

Best overall brand

LS400 – premium luxury

ES300 – entry luxury

LX470 – full size SUV

Nr1 carline

2001

Best overall brand

LS430 – premium luxury

ES300 – entry luxury

RX300 – luxury SUV

Nr1 carline

ES300 – entry luxury

GS – mid luxury

LS430 – premium luxury

2002

Best overall brand

GS – mid luxury

LS430 – premium luxury

LX470 – full size SUV

LS430 – premium luxury

2003

ES300 – entry luxury

RX300 – luxury SUV

LS430 – premium luxury

ES300 – entry luxury

RX300 – luxury SUV

GS430/400 – mid luxury

LS430 – premium luxury

RX330 – luxury SUV

GS430/400 – mid luxury

LS430 – premium luxury

 

Europe

 

UK

Germany

2001

CSI – top make overall

CSI – top model overall (LS400)

Not available

2002

CSI – top make overall

CSI – best upper medium car (IS200)

2003

CSI – Top make overall

Asia

 

Thailand

Taiwan

2001

SSI – best overall brand

CSI – best overall brand

CSI – best overall brand

2002

SSI – best overall brand

CSI – best overall brand

CSI – best overall brand

2003

CSI – best overall brand

Other rewards

Production
plant

2002

Platinum awards for
Tahara plant (GS300/430, LS430)

2003

Platinum awards for
Tahara plant (GS300/430, LS430)

VDI
(Vehicle Dependability Index)

Satisfaction with
vehicle as measured by incidence and severity of problems as well as service
experience after five years of ownership.

IQS
(Initial Quality Study)

Measure of owner
reported problems and repair experience during the first months of
ownership. Best Overall Carline category was eliminated beginning in 1996.
Class categories have changed through the years.

SSI
(Sales Satisfaction Index)

Satisfaction with the
sales and delivery process.

CSI
(Customer Satisfaction Index)

Satisfaction with
product quality and dealer service.

APEAL
(Automotive, Performance,

Execution
and Layout)

Measure of owner
reaction to current model year vehicle design and features. Examines
consumer’s perspective on models they chose not to purchase

ENDS

Lexus Press Team

For further information, please contact one of the following:
James Clark on 01737 367919 or by e-mail at james.clark@tgb.toyota.co.uk
General media enquiries
Erica Haddon on 01737 367308 or by e-mail at erica.haddon@tgb.toyota.co.uk
General media enquiries
David Crouch on 01737367505 or by email at david.crouch@tgb.toyota.co.uk
General, fleet and motorsport media enquiries
Richard Seymour on 01737 367272 or by e-mail at richard.seymour@tgb.toyota.co.uk
General and technical media enquiries