Who knew that toy cars could become the epitome of luxury.

Toyota was once labeled with the nickname “toy cars” at the height of the rivalry between Japanese and American manufacturers in the 1980s, but then the company threw the world a curveball. In 1989, Toyota rolled out Lexus, a luxury subsidiary. Today, it’s a brand that is synonymous with quality and luxury across the globe.

Not in Japan

Though Lexus was being sold all across the world, until 2005 you couldn’t get a Lexus in Japan. They were sold in Japan, just rebranded as Toyota. Even today, the largest market for Lexus is in the United States. 

This brand with Japanese origin has a name that is distinctly not Japanese sounding. The brand development team from Saatchi and Saatchi decided on the name Lexus purportedly because it is a combination of the words “luxury” and “elegance”. However, Toyota has never released an origin for the name of the brand. 

Whatever the origin of the name, Lexus has grown to mean both luxury and elegance, both in Japan and all around the world. It grew to be the fourth largest luxury car brand in the world, behind much older names in the business like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. Though the company does not publish numbers, financial analysts estimate that Lexus accounts for a high percentage of the profits for its parent company Toyota.

Design and Tech

From its very start, design and technology integration were both focuses for the Lexus brand. The company wanted to be at the forefront of the technological revolution in automobiles, in addition to being of the highest quality. To that end, the company incorporated features like smart access, high end audio, and the first eight speed transmission to go into production in a vehicle. 

Navigation and consoles within Lexus cars are designed to strike a balance between the muscle that car owners want and the sleek tech that implies luxury. Infrared body temperature sensors are included in newer models, and remote touch interfaces allow for better control of the vehicles. 

Lexus has produced all kinds of vehicles to suit the tastes of its consumers, including convertibles, crossovers, sedans, and hybrids. The hybrid Lexus vehicles were among the first on the market, appealing to high end consumers with their classic Lexus quality and finesse. With high quality and luxurious prices, Lexus has steered clear of any major controversy. 

The Voice of Lexus

Consistent in its marketing practices has been the focus on luxury. Advertising is always simple for the brand, with the cars doing extraordinary feats in commercial advertisements but with an understated and quiet tone. Actor James Sloyan was “the voice of Lexus” until 2009, narrating all of its commercials with  velvety rich flair. 

From the beginning, Lexus relied on its high quality and lower pricepoint compared to its competitors. It’s extended its marketing to sponsorship campaigns for sporting events like the U.S.Open Grand Slam events in tennis and a charity golf series. Celebrity endorsements are also a consistent strategy for the company from the likes of Andy Roddick and Peter Jacobsen.

Though there were a few downturns in its sales in the early 2000’s, Lexus has consistently grown its market share over the long haul. With high quality and reasonable prices, expect this luxury car brand to be around for the future.