Just 40 years ago, no one heard about Lexus, and today it is a respectable brand that fights on equal terms with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Fans of the Germans, of course, will not agree about equality but it makes no sense to deny that the history of Lexus is rich in fascinating events and facts. The Indy Auto Man car dealership experts have selected the most interesting ones.
Lexus is an excellent, easy-to-remember, rather beautiful-sounding name, which also contains allusions to the word “luxury”. But initially, the manufacturer planned to name it differently.
In 1986, Lippincott & Margulies, a New York-based agency, was selecting a name for a new premium brand of Toyota. Five out of more than two hundred options made it to the final: Vectre, Verone, Chaparel, Caliber, and Alexis.
Everyone almost immediately liked “Alexis” – loud and easy to remember. The client also agreed. Everything has already been decided, but at the very last moment, one of the agency managers turned on the TV in the evening, hitting the then-popular TV series Dynasty. And it turned out that Alexis is also the name of the main on-screen villain! Capital A was urgently removed from the already approved name of the new brand, then they changed I to U for solidity, finally turning Alexis into Lexus.
The misadventures with the brand name were not over. A few weeks before the market launch, Lexus again fell into history. The international company LexisNexis, which provides access to industry databases, has imposed a ban on Lexus trademark use in the United States. Allegedly, the two brands’ consonance could mislead customers.
It took the emergency intervention of the U. S. Court of Appeals and the help of the best lawyers in the country to prove that cars and information services are so far apart that there can be no question of any delusion. As a result, the Lexus market launch went according to plan.
Breaking the system
Many are trying to find a system in the Lexus model range and are even making some progress. In general, it is clear that the Latin S in the Lexus indices denotes sedans, X hints at a crossover and SUV, and C means a coupe or convertible.
Only very few people know that proper names are encrypted in the letters of the Lexus indexes. Every model of the brand has these: RX – Radiant Crossover, GX – Grand Crossover, NX – Nimble Crossover, LX – Luxury Crossover, UX – Urban Crossover, LS – Luxury Sedan, ES – Executive Sedan, IS – Intelligent Sports, CT – Creative Touring, LFA – Lexus Future Apex.
Lexus and motorsport
From the first day of its history, Lexus preaches the ideals of comfort and serenity. It is quite natural that the Japanese brand is not perceived as a brand with racing traditions and ambitions. Meanwhile, they are. There are many victories on account of racing Lexus vehicles. It’s just that they are all related mainly to the American and Japanese racing series. In the States, Lexus pilots have won, for example, the prestigious 24 Hours of Daytona and have become champions of the American GrandAm series of endurance races three times.
But even all this could not be enough for success. At the end of 1989, when the Lexus advertising campaign in America was overflowing, and the press was choking with delight, praising the new LS400, an incident happened. The Japanese, obsessed with trifles, were almost ruined by one tiny defect.
It turned out that the body of the additional brake light behind the rear window was melting due to poor-quality wiring. In a situation where the Japanese were desperately pushing for the perfection of their executive sedan, even such a screw-up could be very expensive.
But Lexus got out of this situation with the utmost finesse. The recall campaign to replace defective stops has become a benchmark in the maintenance industry. Lexus mechanics themselves visited customers, carried out the necessary work in the shortest possible time, and returned the car to the owners after a thorough wash with apologies for the inconvenience caused.
Thus, in just three weeks, the company managed to change the stops on eight thousand LS. The positive effect of a well-executed service campaign, which attracted widespread media attention, exceeded the reputational loss from defective wiring many times.
Today, Lexus remains highly competitive in the US market, providing top quality that does not fade over the years and remains at a high level even in cars with mileage.