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8 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Lexus

8 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About Lexus

Lexus launched at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 1989 with the Lexus LS 400, a luxury marque from Toyota that intended to compete with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Jaguar, among others, in much the same way that Toyota and Honda had spent the 1980s making huge gains in the non-luxury American car market.

It was a heady time for Japanese automakers, inspired by strong sales but also an asset bubble in Japan: Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury division, was launched in 1989, too, while Acura, Honda’s luxury division, had a bit of a head start, having launched in 1986. Amati, Mazda’s planned luxury division, never really got off the ground, but not without some big ambitions.

Lexus would best them all, but at the time the upstarts were seen as bold, if not insouciant, such was the entrenched power of the German automakers whose cars, like Mercedes’ S-Class, are still frequently referred to as, at any given moment, the best cars in the world. Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti didn’t set out to beat them, per see; merely being recognized as a peer was accomplishment enough.

Lexus and Acura succeeded on that front, and so did Infiniti, in the beginning. Lexus succeeded to such an extent that one of its cars, the LFA, is frequently called one of the best cars ever made, period. More importantly, today Lexus sells a full stable of cars, SUVs, and performance vehicles to match almost any luxury automaker in the world. Lexus is also here to stay, which was not always a given, especially considering the experience Mazda had with Amati. Lexus has hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicles, too, as they position themselves for the next several decades. Genesis, Hyundai’s nascent luxury division, is in the middle of following Lexus’s playbook, and that’s no accident.

Let’s look at some interesting facts from Lexus history.

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