Lexus History

Lexus is the luxury division of giant carmaker Toyota. In the 1980’s Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda took a hard look at his company and recognized that brand-conscious wealthy car buyers were never going to take a luxury Toyota seriously, the Land Cruiser aside. He challenged his execs in a secret meeting to solve this, and they made the brilliant decision to introduce a separate marque to rein in these customers and stop them going elsewhere. The cars are mostly built in Chubu and Kyushu regions of Japan, though some assembly is also done in Ontario, Canada. The company’s largest market is the US, but Lexus is on a global expansion drive, and now operates in over 70 countries.

The company sold its first car in the USA in 1989, and in that relatively short time period of time to date Lexus has come to be taken as seriously as Mercedes and BMW in high-class motoring. The original cars shared many components with their Toyota counterparts, a questionable marketing move, but since 2001 Lexus operates its independent design, engineering and manufacture facilities. The first car to be released is still the current flagship of the range, the LS, and it immediately won several motoring awards; some motoring magazines even rated it higher than the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series of the day, a feat simply unheard of for a newcomer. Lexus cars are known for their obsession with engineering, but even more with build quality and reduction of NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness). Lexus cars are very well built, with astonishingly quiet, rattle-and-squeak-free interiors.

Lexus Models

The Lexus range in New Zealand kicks off with the IS, a small sedan to challenge the likes of Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-series, and Audi A4. It’s also available as the gorgeous IS250C convertible and the IS F sedan, an immensely fast super-sports sedan with a 5.0-litre V8. Next up is the GS, a midsize sedan to go rival the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-series. It’s sold with either a 3.0 V6 or 4.6 V8, or as the GS450H, which is a hybrid featuring a 3.5-litre engine and an electric motor-generator. Then comes Lexus’ flagship sedan the LS, available in either 4.6 V8 or the full-fat LS600hL, a long-wheelbase, hybrid super-luxury model. The SUV space is taken care of by the RX, a popular midsize crossover, and the LX, a full-size SUV. Lastly the SC430, a luxury coupe/ convertible with folding hardtop roof that stows in the boot.

Looking at buying a Lexus? Check the vehicle history of any Lexus by entering its number plate in the field above.