Lexus RX 350

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Posted by r2d2 05/01/2009 @ 04:10

Tags : lexus rx 350, lexus, cars, leisure

News headlines
Lexus IS F undercuts German rivals - WA today
After establishing itself as the third-biggest player in the luxury market, Lexus has seen sales drop by 8 per cent, while rival Audi has enjoyed explosive growth of 30 per cent this year. Roca says the run-out of its best-selling model, the RX350,...
Lofty expectations for new Lex RX - Car Today
What's more, Lexus intends to not only take on its German and British rivals head on with its two-model lineup (the rx350's 204 kw powerplant is mated with a six-speed automatic and produces 90 per cent of its 346 Nm of torque between 2 300 and 6 100...
Home » WOT » Report: Refreshed 2010 Lexus GX460 SUV to Come This ... - MotorTrend Magazine
Still, the segment is an important one for Lexus to fill. The RX only seats five compared to the current GX's maximum of eight. There's also towing capacity to consider: an AWD RX350 can tow 3500 lbs with the tow package but the GX can tow 6500 lbs....
Wait over! All-new Lexus RX for SA in July - Motoring
The RX350 and RX450h are all-new luxury SUV's and each derivative will be available in two levels of luxury specification as has become the Lexus norm. The launch of the new generation Lexus RX comes almost a year after the introduction of a...
Lexus nails it again with RX 350 - Chicago Sun-Times
Bravo, Lexus! Overall, the interior of the RX 350 is well done. Fit and finish is excellent, and all the touch points were solid, as you'd expect from Lexus. The seats were comfortable and infinitely adjustable so that I got a great driving position....
How To Avoid Car-Dealer Rip-Offs - Forbes
The $38200 Lexus RX350 and $37200 Audi Q5, for instance, are well-known crossover SUVs that offer similar benefits but very different impressions. Both cars have their merits, but you'd have to drive each of them to tell the difference....
Dignified SUV has the DNA of a Lexus -
The stalwart and well-proven 3.5-litre V6 under the hood - which is shared with the Lexus RX 350 - was the very definition of discreet, barely transparent in its action even when on-ramp merging power was called for. With 270 horsepower and 248...
Just what the doctor ordered - WA today
Lexus unveiled the third generation of its luxury soft-roader this week at the Los Angeles motor show and at a sneak preview in Sydney. It looks remarkably similar to the current model, but every panel is new. The all-new RX350 model is due in...
Hyundai's Veracruz wins value race - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Base price of SUV is $11000 less than entry level Lexus RX 350. By G. Chambers Williams III Hyundai, the first South Korean automaker to enter the US market, has come a long way since it rolled out its initial product here in 1985, the subcompact Excel...
Toyota and Lexus April vehicle sales - Canada NewsWire (press release)
Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX 350 enjoy best-ever sales months TORONTO, May 1 /CNW/ - Spring is traditionally the busiest car-buying season in Canada, and as the market showed signs of restored confidence, Canadian drivers turned to Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI)...


Toyota headquarters in Toyota City, Japan

Toyota Motor Corporation (トヨタ自動車株式会社 , Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki-gaisha?) is a multinational corporation headquartered in Japan, and currently the world's largest automaker. Toyota employs approximately 316,000 people around the world.

In 1934, while still a department of Toyota Industries, it created its first product Type A engine and in 1936 its first passenger car the Toyota AA. The company was eventually founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries to create automobiles. Toyota currently owns and operates Lexus,HINO Trucks and Scion brands and has a majority shareholding stake in Daihatsu and minority shareholdings in Fuji Heavy Industries, Isuzu Motors, and Yamaha Motors. The company includes 522 subsidiaries.

Toyota is headquartered in Toyota City and Nagoya (both in Aichi), and in Tokyo. In addition to manufacturing automobiles, Toyota provides financial services through its division Toyota Financial Services and also creates robots. Toyota Industries and Finance divisions form the bulk of the Toyota Group, one of the largest conglomerates in the world.

Vehicles were originally sold under the name "Toyoda" (トヨダ), from the family name of the company's founder, Kiichiro Toyoda. In September 1936, the company ran a public competition to design a new logo. Out of 27,000 entries the winning entry was the three Japanese katakana letters for "Toyoda" in a circle. But Risaburo Toyoda, who had married into the family and was not born with that name, preferred "Toyota" (トヨタ) because it took eight brush strokes (a fortuitous number) to write in Japanese, was visually simpler (leaving off two ticks at the end) and with a voiceless consonant instead of a voiced one (voiced consonant is considered "murky" or "muddy" sound compared to the voiceless consonant, which is "clear"). Since "Toyoda" literally means "fertile rice paddies", changing the name also helped to distance the company from associations with old fashioned farming. The newly formed word was trademarked and the company was registered in August 1937 as the "Toyota Motor Company".

In predominantly Chinese speaking countries using traditional Chinese characters (eg Hong Kong, Taiwan), Toyota is known as '豊田'. In predominantly Chinese speaking countries using simplified Chinese characters (eg China), Toyota is known as '丰田' (pronounced as 'Fēngtián' in the Mandarin Chinese dialect). These are the same characters as the founding family's name "Toyoda" in Japanese, which translate to "fertile rice paddies" in the Chinese language as well.

From September 1947, Toyota's small-sized vehicles were sold under the name "Toyopet" (トヨペット). The first vehicle sold under this name was the Toyopet SA but it also included vehicles such as the Toyopet SB light truck, Toyopet Stout light truck, Toyopet Crown and the Toyopet Corona. However, when Toyota eventually entered the American market in 1957 with the Crown, the name was not well received due to connotations of Toys and pets. The name was soon dropped for the American market but continued in other markets until the mid 1960's.

Toyota started in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder's son, Kiichiro Toyoda. It's first vehicles were the A1 passenger car and the G1 in 1935. Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent and separate company in 1937.

The Toyota Motor Company was awarded its first Japanese Quality Control Award at the start 1980s and began participating in a wide variety of Motorsports. Due to the 1973 oil crisis consumers in the lucrative U.S. market began turning to small cars with better fuel economy. American car manufacturers had considered small economy cars to be an "entry level" product, and their small vehicles were made to a low level of quality in order to keep the price low. Japanese customers, however, had a long-standing tradition of demanding small fuel-efficient cars that were manufactured to a high level of quality. Because of this, companies like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan established a growing presence in North America in the 1970s.

In 1982, the Toyota Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales merged into one company, the Toyota Motor Corporation. Two years later, Toyota entered into a joint venture with GM called NUMMI, the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc, operating an automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, California. The factory was an old General Motors plant that had been closed for two years. Toyota then started to establish new brands at the end of the 1980s, with the launch of their luxury division Lexus in 1989.

In the 1990s Toyota began to branch out from producing mostly compact cars by adding many larger and more luxurious vehicles to its lineup, including a full sized pickup, the T100 (and later the Tundra), several lines of SUVs, a sport version of the Camry, known as the Camry Solara, and the Scion brand, a group of several affordable, yet sporty, automobiles targeted specifically to young adults. Toyota also began production of the world's best selling hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997.

With a major presence with Europe, due to the success of Toyota Team Europe, the corporation decided to set up TMME, Toyota Motor Europe Marketing & Engineering, to help market vehicles in the continent. Two years later, Toyota set up a base in the United Kingdom, TMUK, as the company's cars had become very popular among British drivers. Bases in Indiana, Virginia and Tianjin were also set up. In 1999, the company decided to list itself on the New York and London Stock Exchange.

In 2001, Toyota's Toyo Trust and Banking merged to form the UFJ, United Financials of Japan, which was accused of corruption by the Japan's government for making bad loans to alleged Yakuza crime syndicates with executives accused of blocking Financial Service Agency inspections. The UFJ was listed among Fortune Magazine's largest money-losing corporations in the world, with Toyota's chairman serving as a director. At the time, the UFJ was one of the largest shareholders of Toyota. As a result of Japan's banking crisis, the UFJ was merged again to become Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

In 2002, Toyota managed to enter a Formula One works team and establish joint ventures with French motoring companies Citroën and Peugeot, a year after Toyota started producing cars in France.

Toyota ranked eight on Forbes 2000 list of worlds leading companies for the year 2005. The company was number one in global automobile sales for the first quarter of 2008.

On December 7, 2004, a U.S. press release was issued stating that Toyota would be offering Sirius Satellite Radios. However, as late as Jan. 27, 2007, Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite radio kits were not available for Toyota factory radios. While the press release enumerated nine models, only limited availability existed at the dealer level in the U.S. As of 2008, all Toyota and Scion models have either standard or available XM radio kits. Major Lexus dealerships have been offering satellite radio kits for Lexus vehicles since 2005, in addition to factory-equipped satellite radio models.

In 2007, Toyota released an update of its full size truck, the Tundra, produced in two American factories, one in Texas and one in Indiana. "Motor Trend" named the Tundra "Truck of the Year," and the 2007 Toyota Camry "Car of the Year" for 2007. It also began the construction of two new factories, one to build the RAV4 in Woodstock, Ontario and the other to build the Toyota Prius in Blue Springs, Mississippi. This plant was originally intended to build the Toyota Highlander, but Toyota decided to use the plant in Princeton, Indiana instead. The company has also found recent success with its smaller models - the Corolla and Yaris - as gas prices have risen rapidly in the last few years.

The Toyota Way incorporates the Toyota Production System.

Toyota has grown to a large multinational corporation from where it started and expanded to different worldwide markets and countries by becoming the largest seller of cars in the beginning of 2007, the most profitable automaker ($11 billion in 2006) along with increasing sales in, among other countries, the United States. The world headquarters of Toyota are located in its home country in Toyota, Aichi, Japan. Its subsidiary, Toyota Financial Services sells financing and participates in other lines of business. Toyota brands include Scion and Lexus and the corporation is part of the Toyota Group. Toyota also owns majority stakes in Daihatsu, and 8.7% of Fuji Heavy Industries, which manufactures Subaru vehicles. They also acquired 5.9% of Isuzu Motors Ltd. on November 7, 2006 and will be introducing Isuzu diesel technology into their products.

Toyota has introduced new technologies including one of the first mass-produced hybrid gas-electric vehicles, of which it says it has sold 1 million globally (2007-06-07), Advanced Parking Guidance System (automatic parking), a four-speed electronically controlled automatic with buttons for power and economy shifting, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota, and Toyota-produced Lexus and Scion automobiles, consistently rank near the top in certain quality and reliability surveys, primarily J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.

In 2005, Toyota, combined with its half-owned subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Company, produced 8.54 million vehicles, about 500,000 fewer than the number produced by GM that year. Toyota has a large market share in the United States, but a small market share in Europe. Its also sells vehicles in Africa and is a market leader in Australia. Due to its Daihatsu subsidiary it has significant market shares in several fast-growing Southeast Asian countries.

According to the 2008 Fortune Global 500, Toyota Motor is the fifth largest company in the world. Since the recession of 2001, it has gained market share in the United States. Toyota's market share struggles in Europe where its Lexus brand has three tenths of one percent market share, compared to nearly two percent market share as the U.S. luxury segment leader.

In the first three months of 2007, Toyota together with its half-owned subsidiary Daihatsu reported number one sales of 2.348 million units. Toyota's brand sales had risen 9.2% largely on demand for Corolla and Camry sedans. The difference in performance was largely attributed to surging demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. In November 2006, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas added a facility in San Antonio. Toyota has experienced quality problems and was reprimanded by the government in Japan for its recall practices. Toyota currently maintains over 16% of the US market share and is listed second only to GM in terms of volume. Toyota Century is the official state car of the Japanese imperial family, namely for the Emperor of Japan Akihito.

In January 2009 it announced the closure of all of its Japanese plants for 11 days to reduce output and stocks of unsold vehicles.

Early in 2009, although company spokespersons declined confirmation, media sources reported that Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, will be promoted in June from vice-president to the position of President, replacing Katsuaki Watanabe.

Toyota has factories all over the world, manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets, including the Corolla. Toyota has manufacturing or assembly plants in Japan, Australia, India, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, Colombia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Brazil, Portugal, and more recently India, Argentina, Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Russia.

In 2002, Toyota initiated the "Innovative International Multi-purpose vehicle" project (IMV) to optimize global manufacturing and supply systems for pickup trucks and multipurpose vehicles, and to satisfy market demand in more than 140 countries worldwide. IMV called for diesel engines to be made in Thailand, gasoline engines in Indonesia and manual transmissions in the Philippines, for supply to the countries charged with vehicle production. For vehicle assembly, Toyota would use plants in Thailand, Indonesia, Argentina and South Africa. These four main IMV production and export bases supply Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, Latin America and the Middle East with three IMV vehicles: The Toyota Hilux (Vigo), the Fortuner, and the Toyota Innova.

Toyota has invested considerably into cleaner-burning vehicles such as the Prius, based on technology such as the Hybrid Synergy Drive. In 2002, Toyota successfully road-tested a new version of the RAV4 which ran on a Hydrogen fuel cell. Scientific American called the company its Business Brainwave of the Year in 2003 for commercializing an affordable hybrid car.

Toyota Motor North America headquarters is located in New York City and operates at a holding company level in North America. Its manufacturing headquarters is located in Hebron, Kentucky, and is known as Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, or TEMA.

Toyota Canada Inc. has been in production in Canada since 1983 with an aluminum wheel plant in Delta, British Columbia which currently employs a workforce of roughly 260. Its first vehicle assembly plant, in Cambridge, Ontario since 1988, now produces Corolla compact cars, Matrix crossover vehicles and Lexus RX 350 luxury SUVs, with a workforce of 4,300 workers. Its second assembly operation in Woodstock, Ontario began manufacturing the RAV4 late in 2008. In 2006, Toyota's subsidiary Hino Motors opened a heavy duty truck plant, also in Woodstock, employing 45 people and producing 2000 trucks annually.

Toyota has a large presence in the United States with five major assembly plants in Huntsville, Alabama; Georgetown, Kentucky; Princeton, Indiana; San Antonio, Texas; Buffalo, West Virginia. A new plant slated to be built in Blue Springs, Mississippi has been put on hold owing to the financial crisis that erupted in late 2008. Toyota also has a joint-venture operation with General Motors at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI), in Fremont, California, which began in 1984, and with Subaru at Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (SIA), in Lafayette, Indiana, which started in 2006. Production on a new manufacturing plant in Tupelo, Mississippi is scheduled for completion in 2010. North America is a major automobile market for Toyota. In these assembly plants, the Camry and the Tundra are manufactured, among others.

Toyota marketing, sales, and distribution in the U.S. are conducted through a separate subsidiary, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Toyota uses a number of slogans in its American TV commercials such as It's time to move forward, Smart way to keep moving forward, or Moving forward. It has started producing larger trucks, such as the new Tundra, to go after the large truck market in the United States. Toyota is also pushing hybrid vehicles in the US such as the Prius, Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, and various Lexus products.

Toyota has sold more hybrid vehicles in the country than any other manufacturer. Toyota is a public corporation and the company's shares are traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange. Toyota also sponsors Club Deportivo Guadalajara.

The Prius has become the top selling hybrid car in America. Toyota, as a brand, now has three hybrid vehicles in its lineup: the Prius, Highlander, and Camry. The popular minivan Toyota Sienna is scheduled to join the hybrid lineup by 2010, and by 2030 Toyota plans to offer its entire lineup of cars, trucks, and SUVs with a Hybrid Synergy Drive option.

The Hybrid Synergy drive is the most widely rolled-out environment-friendly system in the automotive industry to date. More than 1,000,000 units have been sold. Toyota's CEO has committed to eventually making every car of the company a hybrid vehicle. .

Lexus also has their own hybrid lineup, consisting of the GS 450h, RX 400h, and launched in 2007, the LS 600h/LS 600h L.

Toyota has said it plans to make a hybrid-electric system available on every vehicle it sells worldwide sometime in the 2010s.

Toyota and Honda have already said they've halved the incremental cost of electric hybrids and see cost parity in the future (even without incentives) .

Hybrids are viewed by some automakers as a core segment of the future vehicle market.

After General Motors announced it would produce the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, Toyota announced that it, too, would make one. Toyota is currently testing its "Toyota Plug-in HV" in Japan, the United States, and Europe. Like GM's Volt, it uses a lithium-ion battery pack. The PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) could have a lower environmental impact than existing hybrids.

On June 5, 2008, A123Systems announced that its Hymotion plug-in hybrid conversion kits for the Prius would be installed by six dealers, including four Toyota dealerships: Westboro Toyota in Boston, Fitzgerald Toyota in Washington D.C., Toyota of Hollywood in Los Angeles, and the Minneapolis-based Denny Hecker Automotive Group, which sells multiple brands.

Toyota is speeding up the development of vehicles that run only on electricity with the aim of mass-producing them in the early part of next decade. Road tests for the current prototype, called "e-com", had ended in 2006.

Toyota might create a separate brand for Prius hybrids and is considering adding larger and smaller Prius models. Such Prius brand would be similar to Scion. Toyota is not planning separate dealerships for Prius.

The Tundra is a full-size pickup truck sold by Toyota that originally went into production in 1999 (as a 2000 model year model), Currently, the Tundra has been on the market for more than half a decade, and has captured 17 percent of the full-size half-ton market.

The all new Tundra is assembled in two different locations, both inside the United States. The Standard and Double Cabs are assembled in "Truck Country" San Antonio, Texas, while the Crew Max is assembled in Mooreland, Indiana. Toyota Motor Corporation assembled around 150,000 Standard and Double Cabs, and only 70,000 Crew Max's in 2007. As of November 2008 the San Antonio Plant will be the only one producing Tundra Trucks.

In addition to the Tundra, Toyota also produces the Tacoma, with a smaller body and smaller engine than its bigger brother.

Toyota is active in the motorsports and sponsors such events through their cars among others.

Toyota Racing Development was brought about to help develop true high performance racing parts for many Toyota vehicles. TRD has often had much success with their after market tuning parts, as well as designing technology for vehicles used in all forms of racing.

Toyota is a minority share holder in Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, having invested US$67.2 million in the new venture which will produce the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, slated for first deliveries in 2013. Toyota has also studied participation in the general aviation market, and contracted with Scaled Composites to produce a proof-of-concept aircraft, the TAA-1 in 2002.

Toyota is supporter of the Toyota Family Literacy Programme along with National Center for Family Literacy, helping low-income community members for education, United Negro College Fund (40 annual scholarships), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center ($1 million) among others. Toyota created the Toyota USA Foundation.

Toyota established the Toyota Technological Institute in 1981, as Sakichi Toyoda had planned to establish a university as soon as he and Toyota became successful. Toyota Technological Institute founded the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago in 2003. Toyota is supporter of the "Toyota Driving Expectations Program," "Toyota Youth for Understanding Summer Exchange Scholarship Program," "Toyota International Teacher Program," "Toyota TAPESTRY," "Toyota Community Scholars" (scholarship for high school students), "United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Internship Program," and "Toyota Funded Scholarship." It has contributed to a number of local education and scholarship programs for the University of Kentucky, Indiana, and others.

Toyota has been developing multitask robots destined for elderly care, manufacturing, and entertainment.

Toyota Financial Services Corporation provides financing to Toyota customers.

Toyota is publicly traded on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, and Sapporo exchanges under company code TYO: 7203. In addition, Toyota is foreign-listed on the New York Stock Exchange under NYSE: TM and on the London Stock Exchange under LSE: TYT. Toyota has been publicly traded in Japan since 1949 and internationally since 1999.

As reported on its consolidated financial statements, Toyota has 540 consolidated subsidiaries and 226 affiliates.

Japan production numbers 1937 to 1987.

Toyota is now the world’s largest automaker in terms of sales, net worth, revenue, and profits. According to Stephen Spier, Toyota has been an industry leader since the 1960s and has consistently been more productive than its competitors. The company has been widely recognized for the quality of its products and production systems.

Since October 2006, Toyota's new Japanese-market vehicle models with automatic transmissions are equipped with an Eco Drive Indicator. The system takes into consideration rate of acceleration, engine and transmission efficiency, and speed. When the vehicle is operated in a fuel-efficient manner, the Eco Drive Indicator on the instrument panel lights up. Individual results vary depending on traffic issues, starting and stopping the vehicle, and total distance traveled, but the Eco Drive Indicator may improve fuel efficiency by as much as 4%. Along with Toyota's eco-friendly objectives on production and use, the company plans to donate $1 million and five vehicles to the Everglades National Park. The money will be used to fund environmental programs at the park. This donation is part of a program which provides $5 million and 23 vehicles for five national parks and the National Parks Foundation.

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Lexus LF

Lexus LF concept series headlight.

The Lexus LF line is a series of concept cars built by Lexus, the luxury vehicle division of Toyota Motor Corporation. The "LF" line utilizes L-finesse, a specific design direction by Lexus. The design language of L-finesse was first introduced on the LF Series concepts and has now extended to all new vehicles in the Lexus lineup. The LF Series vehicles include three coupes/convertibles, the LF-A, the LF-A Roadster, and the LF-C, two sedans, the LF-S and LF-Sh, and two crossover SUVs, the LF-X and LF-Xh. These vehicles feature new design cues which derive from the L-finesse philosophy of "Intriguing Elegance, Incisive Simplicity, and Seamless Anticipation," and are fitted with new vehicle technologies. The first concept vehicle of the LF Series, the LF-X, appeared in 2003. Several of the LF concept vehicles have appeared close to their production counterparts, while the design cues of other LF concepts appeared on more distinctly different production vehicles.

The LF-A is a 2-door exotic concept car built as a prospective halo car for the Lexus division. It debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). A revised version with more completely furnished interior was unveiled at the 2007 NAIAS as a possible future member of the Lexus F marque performance lineup.

Toyota has given the LF-A concept car the green-light for production. Prototypes of the LF-A had been spotted being tested at the Nürburgring, the famous motorsport race track in Nürburg, Germany. The production vehicles are expected to carry V10 engines, putting the car in market competition with the Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430, the Porsche 911 (997), and the Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. Pricing is estimated at $225,000.

In 2007, Lexus GB director Steve Settle confirmed that both a V10 and hybrid version of the LF-A would be produced. The hybrid version, combining a petrol engine with electric motors, would likely feature a V8 powertrain similar to that designed for the Lexus LS 600h L.

A Lexus LF-A prototype was entered on 10 May 2008 on the Nürburgring 4 hour VLN endurance race where it surprisingly won the SP8 class with 6 entrants, as all others failed to finish. The best lap time of 9:06 on the 24,4 km version was about 40 secs slower than the best Porsche GT3-RSR, and about on par with Cup-GT3. This resulted in finishing 77th overall among over 200 teams. The Lexus took also part in the 24 Hours Nürburgring on 24/25 May 2008, with four Japanese drivers including Akira Iida leading the team. As car no. 14 , it qualified 27th among 223 cars, and finished 7th in the SP8 class of 11 entrants, and 121st overall, with a best lap average speed of 163 km/h, compared to 175 of the fastest cars. On 4 April 2009, an LF-A and an IS-F entered by Gazoo Racing finished 1-2 in the SP8 class in the ADAC-Westfalenfahrt VLN 4h endurance race after all 3 other entrants, a Gallardo, a Corvette and a R8, all failed to finish. This time, the LF-A was more competitive, but only at the hand of one of the drivers, who did 8:41 laps both in practice and in the race, while the fastest race laps were 8:27 by a Viper and a 997, both of the new SP9 class.

On January 13, 2008, Lexus displayed a roadster version of the LF-A concept car designated LF-A Roadster or LF-AR. Initial specifications for the roadster are a V10 engine under 5.0 L with over 500 hp and a top speed of over 200 mph. The vehicle was shown for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The LF-A Roadster was also revealed to have a retractable rear spoiler for improved handling at speed.

The LF-A Roadster show model featured side cameras in place of standard mirrors, and a two-tone interior. The model was designated with "F" badges indicating its place as a member of the Lexus F performance division. After its debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the LF-A Roadster was also shown at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, the United States Open Championship tournament, and at Lexus exhibits in Japan.

The Lexus LF-C is a concept car Lexus unveiled at the 2004 New York Auto Show. This concept featured a retractable hardtop design which allowed for coupe, convertible, targa, or speedster configurations via a four-position glass roof. The designation stands for Lexus Future-Coupe. The LF-C is fitted with a V8 engine and rear-wheel drive. Unique features included a one-touch activation button, crystal LED taillamps, suede bucket seats, a 3D instrument panel, drive-by-wire, and a translucent crystal center console with blue backlighting. The LF-C also featured retractable rear-view cameras in place of side mirrors on the doors and rear bumper.

Rumors persist that that LF-C hints at the general design direction for the next-generation Lexus SC. It may, however, hint at a future convertible version of the IS 250/350. Design cues from the LF-C, particularly in the front fascia, appeared in production form with the debut of the second generation Lexus IS.

The LF-S is a concept luxury sedan which Lexus unveiled in 2003 at the Tokyo Motor Show, signalling its intentions to launch Lexus in its home country. The designation stands for Lexus Future-Sedan. Unique features of the LF-S concept included side-mounted cameras instead of mirrors, an air stream style windshield cleansing system, transparent panoramic roof with security illumination, and keyless entry. Design cues from the LF-S, particularly the slingshot cabin, sleek profile, and rear deck lid, appeared in the third generation Lexus GS production sedan. The vehicle was designed to seat 5 passengers.

The LF-S was powered by a high-output hybrid V8 system with all-wheel drive, marking the conceptual debut of a Lexus vehicle with hybrid technology (the first luxury hybrid, the RX 400h, subsequently premiered in 2005 with a V6 hybrid powertrain, and in 2007 the LS 600h and LS 600h L hybrids debuted with hybrid V8 systems). The LF-S and GS sedans were displayed together at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2005, alluding to the design similarities between concept and production model. Overall length was 193.3 in (4910 mm)., width 74.6 in (1895 mm). and height 53.0 in (1346 mm).

Production concept luxury sedan, later developed into the fourth generation Lexus LS. The LF-Sh featured LED headlamps, hybrid all-wheel drive, and exhaust vents integrated into the rear bumper. The designation refers to Lexus Future-Sedan hybrid. The LF-Sh body style transitioned to an actual production vehicle, the LS 460, more closely than any of the other LF Series concepts, with identical exterior dimensions as the standard wheelbase version of the fourth generation LS sedan.

However, multiple details on the LF-Sh were changed for production. Among them, the integrated exhaust vents were shifted from a seamless one-piece design to a chrome-plated version. The LED headlamps did not appear on the standard production LS 460, but did later debut on the hybrid ultra-luxury LS 600h / LS 600h L. The long wheelbase model LS 460 L is a lengthened version of the LF-Sh/LS 460 standard wheelbase design.

The LF-Sh concept premiered at the Tokyo Motor Show in late 2005, following the debut of Lexus in the home market of Japan, and predating the January 2006 debut of the LS 460 North America. The LF-Sh concept was not fitted with an interior, allowing the interior reveal of the LS 460 to occur at the North American International Auto Show in 2006.

Concept crossover vehicle. The designation stands for Lexus Future-Crossover(X). This vehicle was the first to appear in the LF Series, and was initially revealed using the prior Lexus concept nomenclature. The LF-X design fits between the RX crossover and the GX large SUV. If produced (possibly under the VX or JX designation), the LF-X would offer three rows of seating, compared to the RX's two rows.

Concept crossover hybrid vehicle. The designation stands for Lexus Future-Crossover(X) hybrid. This vehicle was first shown in October 2007 at the Tokyo Motor Show and appeared also in the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

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Lexus ES

2007 Lexus ES 350

The Lexus ES series is a family of mid-size luxury sedans sold by Lexus since 1989. Now in its fifth generation, the series has been consistently built on the Toyota Camry platform with a V6 engine, automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. For much of its existence, the Lexus ES has anchored the entry-level luxury car segment of the Lexus lineup in North America, a position it maintained until the introduction of the Lexus IS sport luxury sedans in 2001. It was Lexus' only front-wheel drive vehicle until 1999, when the related Lexus RX 300 arrived. For over fifteen years, the Lexus ES has been the best-selling Lexus sedan in the United States.

The first through fourth generation Lexus ES sedans shared body styling elements with Japan-market Toyota sedans, and a domestic market equivalent, the Toyota Windom, was sold until the launch of the fifth generation ES in 2006. The fifth generation ES 350, featuring Lexus' own L-finesse body styling, was unveiled in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model. Like the previous generation ES 330 model, the fifth generation Lexus ES is geared towards the comfort luxury segment, with an emphasis on interior amenities, quietness, and a smooth ride.

The first Lexus ES (codename VZV21) debuted in January 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as part of the launch of the Lexus division. In order to avoid introducing the nameplate with only one model, the LS 400, Lexus debuted the ES alongside their flagship sedan. The smaller representative of the initial two-sedan Lexus lineup was designated the ES 250, and powered by the Camry's 2.5 L, 156 hp (116 kW) V6. The ES 250 was partly based on the Toyota Vista, a Japan-market sedan which was never sold in the United States, which in turn shared the chassis of the Toyota Camry.

On the exterior, the ES 250 shared the same general body style and overall dimensions as its Toyota counterparts, but had a more prominent grille, bigger tail lights, chrome trim, frameless windows, and distinct wheel design similar to its LS brethren. Inside the cabin, the ES 250 featured a six-speaker Pioneer sound system, genuine wood trim, one-touch power windows, and leather seats. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission was offered. The Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission (ECT) featured "normal" and "power" modes.

Safety features included a driver's SRS airbag and anti-lock brakes. In typical specification, the ES 250 further included 15-inch alloy wheels, a power driver's seat, power moonroof, and CD player. Leather upholstery was common equipment, despite being listed as an option, while some ES 250s were also produced with cloth interiors.

In September 1989, the ES 250 and the flagship LS 400 went on sale in the United States. The ES 250 was marketed as the "luxury sedan of sports sedans," and carried a U.S. market suggested base price of approximately $22,000. During the first month of release, the ES 250 logged 1,216 units in sales. However, these numbers were eclipsed by the larger LS sedan, which unlike the ES was built on a unique and all-new platform. The original LS had been envisioned as a standalone model, but Lexus dealerships had asked for an additional vehicle to accompany its launch. Due to its similarities to the Camry, some viewed the ES 250 as a placeholder product of badge engineering and the vehicle ultimately did not sell as well as its more expensive counterpart.

Production totaled 19,534 units in 1990 and 17,942 units in 1991, most for the automatic transmission model. The ES 250 was built from August 30, 1989 until July 5, 1991. Because of its relatively brief production run, the ES 250 is a rare model on U.S. roads today.

In September 1991, Lexus unveiled the second generation Lexus ES (VCV10), an all-new executive sedan for the Lexus lineup. Completely redesigned for the 1992 model year and now based on the VCV10-series Toyota Windom, the model was renamed the ES 300 to reflect the half-liter bump in engine displacement. The ES 300 sported a 185 hp (138 kW) 3.0 L V6 engine and had an advertised 0-60 time of 8.0 seconds. In Japan, a 172 hp (128 kW), 2.5 L version using the same body style was made available in October 1993 (including the VCV-11 Windom) (Japanese: Toyota Windom). Compared to its Camry relatives, the ES 300 featured a different suspension setup (front and rear independent MacPherson strut) and 200 lb (91 kg) more weight due to asphalt insulation in the body panels, additional on-board equipment, and other differences. As with its predecessor, anti-lock brakes were standard. A 5-speed E53 manual or 4-speed A540/1E automatic transmission was offered.

The second generation ES was significantly larger and more curvaceous than its predecessor, gaining five inches (127 mm) in length and three inches (76 mm) of width. On the front fascia, the ES gained projector headlamps in a curved housing and a three-slat grille with the Lexus emblem moved above on the hood. The side profile featured an invisible B-pillar and frameless-window doors. The rear deck lid featured an integrated spoiler effect similar to the flagship LS 400, improving the ES' aerodynamics (drag coefficient, Cd 0.32). Inside the cabin, the second generation ES featured California Walnut trim on the center console, leather seats, an eight-speaker premium sound system, and keyless entry. The added wheelbase length and overall width made for increased legroom and shoulder space than the previous model.

Production assembly of the ES 300 commenced on September 9, 1991, and the sedan went on sale later that year in the U.S. as a 1992 model. The sedan was not released in Europe, where similar Toyota models were offered. The second generation ES was a major sales success, becoming Lexus' best-selling vehicle overall. In its first full year of sales, the ES logged 39,652 units, and throughout the following years of its production run, sales reached near or above that figure. Initial base price was $26,550 in the U.S. (increased to over $30,000 in later years). By 1994, in part because of the rising yen and high demand, the manufacturer's suggested retail price had increased to $31,200, 19.3 percent more than the original 1992 figure.

Minor updates were introduced between years, including: a new passenger side airbag (1994), outside air temp readout (1994), CFC-free air conditioning (1994), engine upgrades for less weight and more power (the all-aluminum 1MZ-FE in 1994) with 188 hp (140 kW) plus more efficiency and lower emissions (VVTi Variable Valve Timing - 1995), different signal and fog lights (1995); the five-speed manual transmission was discontinued after 1993.

In 1996, Lexus offered an ES 300 "Coach Edition," featuring select Coach leather trim in the interior and a set of Coach luggage. Despite being its final year of sales, the 1996 ES 300 logged a 21 percent increase in sales over the previous year, and 40,735 units were produced that year.

The third generation ES (designated MCV20) premiered in September 1996, featuring a design that was an evolution of the VCV10. The new cars featured a 30% stiffer body with a more rakish profile and sharper lines, reflector headlights (as opposed to projector headlights), and a more upscale-feeling interior. Introduced at a gala event on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills hosted by actress Sharon Stone, the ES 300 featured one powertrain option, a 200 hp (150 kW) 3.0 L V6 (a 197 hp (147 kW), 2.5 L 2MZ-FE V6 was also offered in the Japan-market Windom) and a 4-speed automatic. The third generation ES was also slightly longer (overall length increased by 2.4-inch (61.0 mm)) but weighed less than the previous model, and its drag coefficient was Cd 0.29, improved over its predecessor. For the first time, an Adaptive Variable Suspension, capable of adjusting individual wheels according to road conditions (within 0.0025 seconds), was offered.

Inside the cabin, the ES 300 featured a new electroluminescent Lexus Optitron instrument panel, walnut trim, and leather seats. Other luxury standard features included heated outside mirrors and an automatic climate control system. A power moonroof, Nakamichi premium sound system with in-glove-box mounted CD changer, and heated seats were options.

In 1998, the model received a few updates, mainly consisting of a revised supplemental restraint system (next generation), standard front row side-torso airbags, and force limiting seat belt pretensioners that were designed to tighten the front seat passengers into their seats upon impact. Transponder chips were now also used in the keys as to provide added protection from theft.

The power rating grew to 210 hp (157 kW) in 1999, and the model received a mild facelift in 2000 that consisted of new, clear tail lights and turn signals, a revised front end with a new grill, headlights, and lower bumper with clear fog lights and larger alloy wheels. Inside, the interior received an electrochromatic mirror, more wood trim and slight revisions to the audio system. Xenon High-Intensity Discharge headlights with auto-leveling were now optional. The third generation arrived in 2001 with virtually no changes. For 1999 through 2001, a limited "Coach Edition" was offered, and in 2000 a "Platinum Edition" package was offered, including power moonroof, unique interior trim, and custom alloy wheels.

The U.S. base price of the 1997 ES 300 was $30,395. The third generation Lexus ES expanded upon the success of the previous generation model, reaching a record-setting 58,430 units in sales in its first year, and recording sales in the 35,000-50,000 range throughout its production run. Rivals to the third generation ES 300 included the Acura TL, Audi A4, Cadillac Catera, Mazda Millenia, Infiniti I30, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Saab 9-5.

The Lexus IS was introduced to European markets in 1999 and became the luxury marque's entry-level model; by this time the Lexus ES was no longer sold in most European markets. Recent versions of the Lexus ES were sold in North America, Asia, and Australia.

The larger, fourth generation ES (designated MCV30) debuted in 2002, one year after the Lexus IS became Lexus' entry-level car. The presence of the IS in the Lexus lineup enabled the company to give the new ES 300 a more upscale image and luxury feel by excising the sporting pretensions of the previous ES models. Compared to its predecessor, the new ES possessed an interior with a greater emphasis on comfort, superior NVH isolation, larger and softer seats, and improved interior materials. The cabin was fitted with California Walnut wood trim on the front dashboard, center console, and doors. Exterior puddle lamps, floor-well lighting, chrome door handles, and rear-view mirrors that would automatically tilt downward in reverse gear contributed to a more upscale feel. Available options, including a power rear sunshade, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a DVD-based navigation system, and a Mark Levinson premium stereo system, were similar to features on the flagship LS 430 sedan.

Despite the additional features and added weight, neither the acceleration nor the handling of the ES suffered. Other new features included a drive-by-wire electronic throttle, a five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist as well as stability and traction control system. On the exterior, the ES gained a more rounded shape than its predecessor, with pulled-back headlamps and a single-tone color scheme with chrome trim. New design elements similar to the LS sedan included a rear quarter window and wrap-around taillamps with a diagonal edge. The more aerodynamic shape had a drag coefficient of Cd 0.28. In Japan, the MCV30 Windom received a 2-star LEV rating. The fourth generation Lexus ES was built in Kyūshū and Tsutsumi, Japan.

For the 2004 model year, the American market received a revised 3.3 L engine producing 225 hp (later revised to 218 hp (163 kW), because of changes in SAE power testing procedures), and the car was renamed the ES 330. In the Middle Eastern and Asian markets, however, the 3.0 L engine was still available. Lexus released the limited ES 330 "SportDesign" special edition in 2004. The model featured the Adaptive Variable Suspension, 17-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, Mark Levinson audio, interior upgrades, and special dark exterior colors.

In 2005, the ES received a facelift with new front and rear fascias, clear taillights, projector headlights, and a redesigned grille. Inside, new features included standard audio and display steering wheel-mounted controls, power adjustable pedals and heated and ventilated front seats. Additionally, new Bird's Eye Maple trim brightened the interior and integrated satellite radio was offered as an option. Lexus also offered an exclusive ES 330 "Black Diamond Edition" in 2005, featuring black wood trim, iridescent Black Diamond paint, and a set of Tumi luggage.

The fourth generation ES 300/330 continued the solid success of the ES series for Lexus. Despite an increase in price befitting its more upscale amenities (2002 base price of $32,080), ES sales jumped to 71,450 in its first year, making the Lexus ES the best-selling luxury car in the United States. Throughout its production run, the fourth generation ES was Lexus' best-selling sedan, and outsold only in the Lexus model range by the RX luxury utility vehicle.

The fifth generation ES (GSV40) debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2006, featuring an all-new body in the style of Lexus' new design philosophy, L-finesse. The new design is sleeker than its predecessor, with a streamlined cabin and character lines across the hood, fenders, and rear pillars. The Lexus emblem returns to the grille for the first time since the first generation, and is now placed at the center of a five-bar horizontal grille. The vehicle also no longer shares its body style with Japanese market models, as the previously related Toyota Windom was discontinued for the 2007 model year. The new ES, now called the ES 350, features the first use of a six-speed automatic transmission in a front-wheel drive Toyota vehicle along with its sister U.S. car, the Toyota Camry. The engine is the 272 hp (203 kW) aluminum 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine with variable valve timing. Lexus estimates that this combination will accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 7 seconds, but actual tests have netted the ES 350 as being one of the fastest entry-level luxury sedans available now. 0-60 mph has been acquired in as little as 6.2 seconds by auto magazines, and the car shows a strong point of high-end power as it clears the quarter mile in 14.6 seconds while traveling at almost 100 mph (160 km/h). Fuel economy is estimated at 21 mpg-US (11.2 L/100 km; 25.2 mpg-imp) in the city and 30 mpg-US (7.8 L/100 km; 36.0 mpg-imp) on the highway. Although at a higher, cruising velocity the ES 350 has been known to get better than 30 mpg. Some commentators have complained that so much power to the front wheels has produced uncomfortable torque steer in both the new ES and Camry.

The ES 350 arrived at U.S. dealerships in late April 2006 as a 2007 model. That year, the ES 350 was launched in North America, the Middle East, China (Excluding Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea and Taiwan . Despite being built at the Kyūshū plant in Fukuoka, Japan, the ES 350 was not sold in the Japanese market, as well as the other regions where drive is on left. The fifth generation ES continues the previous generation's direction of moving the ES more upscale in its design and features. Lexus touts the ES 350 as faster, more powerful, more aerodynamic (Cd 0.28), and more quiet than the original LS 400 flagship.

The ES 350 interior features walnut wood accents, leather seats, dual zone climate control with air filter, an MP3 player auxiliary input, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and eight standard airbags. A keyless entry and ignition system, Lexus SmartAccess, which does not require the electronic remote to be taken out of the driver's pocket, is now standard. Available new features include a 300-watt, 14-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, power seat cushion extender, radar-based adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power rear sunshade, DVD navigation system, and Lexus Park Assist, a sonar-based warning system with backup camera. For the first time, the ES offers an "Ultra Luxury Package," which features many of the aforementioned options along with a three-panel panoramic glass moonroof. The ES also features a secondary start system, that runs on battery, so that the driver does not have to use the engine for accessory functions. The secondary system will let the driver use the radio, GPS, Bluetooth, and air conditioning/heating.

For 2007 models, Lexus introduced a number of unique colors exclusive to the ES 350, including Aquamarine Pearl, Royal Ruby Metallic, Moon Shell Mica, and Amber Pearl. The 2007 base price in the U.S. is $33,470.

In 2010, the ES wil go under a face lift. Spy shots have shown no major changes. Even though the ES is Lexus' best selling model, reports suggest that Lexus may move the ES off its shared platform or discontinue the model at the end of its production cycle.

Sales data in United States for Lexus ES generations are as follows. Sourced from manufacturer yearly data.

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Lexus (レクサス ,Rekusasu?) is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, where Lexus has become the highest-selling make of luxury car, today Lexus vehicles are available throughout the world. As of 2006, Lexus is sold in 68 countries and territories worldwide. In 2005, the Lexus marque launched in Japan, becoming the first Japanese luxury car marque to be introduced in its home market. Through 2009, the Lexus brand name has debuted in additional export markets as part of the division's continued global expansion.

Lexus originated from a clandestine flagship sedan project that began in 1983. This effort developed into the original Lexus LS, which was the first vehicle to wear the Lexus marque upon its launch in 1989. In following years, Lexus added sedan, coupe, convertible, and SUV models. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models were subsequently introduced to the Lexus lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its F marque performance division with the arrival of the IS F sport sedan.

From the start of production, Lexus vehicles have been consistently produced in Japan, with manufacturing centered in the Chūbu and Kyūshū regions, and in particular at Toyota's Tahara, Aichi, Chūbu and Miyata, Fukuoka, Kyūshū plants. Assembly of the first Lexus built outside the country, the Ontario, Canada-produced RX 330, began in 2003. Following a corporate reorganization from 2001 to 2005, Lexus operates its own design, engineering, and manufacturing centers, solely responsible for Lexus vehicles.

Since 1989, Lexus has developed a reputation for vehicle reliability and customer service, as measured by independent surveys. Consumer ratings firm J.D. Power and Associates has named Lexus the most reliable brand in the U.S. fourteen times, most recently in 2008, based on its Vehicle Dependability Survey of over 53,000 vehicle owners and problems experienced in the first three years of ownership. Through 2008, Consumer Reports has also named Lexus among the top five most reliable brands in its Annual Car Reliability Surveys of over one million vehicles across the U.S.

The Lexus slogan is The Pursuit of Perfection.

In 1983, Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda summoned a secret meeting of company executives, to whom he posed the question, “Can we create a luxury vehicle to challenge the world's best?” This question prompted Toyota to embark on a top-secret project, code-named F1 (“Flagship” + “No. 1 vehicle”). The F1 project, whose finished product was ultimately the Lexus LS 400, aimed to develop a luxury car that would expand Toyota’s product line, giving it a foothold in the premium segment and offering both longtime and new customers an upmarket product. The F1 project followed the success of the Toyota Supra sports car and the luxury Toyota Cressida models. Both the Supra and Cressida were rear-wheel drive cars with a powerful 7M-GE/7M-GTE engine. The U.S. launch of the Acura marque by Honda three years prior also influenced Toyota in its plans for a luxury division. Around this same time, Nissan would unveil plans to create its own luxury division, Infiniti, while Mazda also considered developing a luxury division, to be called Amati.

Toyota researchers visited the U.S. in May 1985 to conduct focus groups and market research on luxury consumers. That summer, several F1 designers rented a home in Laguna Beach, California to observe the lifestyles and tastes of American upper-class consumers. Toyota’s market research concluded that a separate brand and sales channel were needed to present its new luxury flagship, and plans were made to develop a new network of dealerships in the U.S. market.

In 1986, Toyota’s longtime advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi formed a specialized unit, Team One, to handle marketing for the new luxury brand. Image consulting firm Lippincott & Margulies was hired to develop a list of 219 prospective names; Vectre, Verone, Chaparel, Calibre, and Alexis were chosen as top candidates. While Alexis quickly became the front runner (also associated with the Alexis Carrington character on the popular 1980s primetime drama Dynasty) and later morphed to Lexus, the name has been attributed to the combination of the words "luxury" and "elegance," and another theory claims it is an acronym for "luxury exports to the U.S." According to Team One interviews, the name has no specific meaning and simply denotes a luxurious and technological image.

Just prior to the release of the first vehicles, database service LexisNexis obtained a temporary injunction forbidding the name Lexus from being used as they stated it might cause confusion. Upon reflection, the court lifted the injunction, deciding that there was little likelihood of confusion between the two products.

The original Lexus slogan, developed after Team One representatives visited Lexus designers in Japan and noted their obsessive attention to detail, became "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection." The Lexus logo was developed by Molly Designs and Hunter Communications. The final design for the Lexus logo featured a stylized “L” within an oval, and according to Toyota, was rendered using a precise mathematical formula. The first teaser ads featuring the Lexus name and logo, designed by Team One, appeared at the Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York auto shows in 1988.

In 1989, after an extended development process involving 60 designers, 24 engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians, 220 support workers, around 450 prototypes, and over $1-billion in costs, the F1 project was completed. The resulting flagship, the Lexus LS 400, had a unique design that shared no major elements with previous Toyota vehicles, with a new 4.0 L V8 gasoline engine and rear-wheel drive. Testing locations for the LS 400 included the German autobahn.

The LS 400 debuted in January 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The following September, Lexus vehicles officially went on sale at a network of 81 new Lexus dealerships across the U.S. The LS 400 was sold along with a smaller sibling, the Toyota Camry-based ES 250. The launch of Lexus was heralded by a multimillion dollar advertising campaign in both television and print media. Lexus subsequently began exports to the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia, starting in 1990.

The LS 400 was widely praised for its quietness, well-appointed and ergonomic interior, engine performance, build quality, aerodynamics, fuel economy, and value, though it was criticized by some automobile columnists for derivative styling and a suspension regarded as too compromising of handling for ride comfort. The LS 400 debuted at $38,000 in the U.S. (in some markets, it was priced against midsize six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz and BMW models) and was rated by Car and Driver magazine as better than both the $63,000 Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL and the $55,000 BMW 735i in terms of ride, handling, and performance. It was generally regarded as a major shock to the European marques; BMW's and Mercedes-Benz's U.S. sales figures dropped 29% and 19%, respectively, with then-BMW chairman Eberhard von Kuenheim accusing Lexus of dumping in that market. The LS 400 also won several major motoring awards when released.

In 1990, during its first full year of sales, Lexus sold 63,594 LS 400 and ES 250 sedans in the U.S., the vast majority being the LS model. By 1991, sales had increased to 71,206 cars in the U.S. market, making Lexus the country's top-selling luxury import. That same year, Lexus earned first place in J.D. Power’s studies on initial vehicle quality, customer satisfaction, and sales satisfaction.

Lexus introduced two new models in June and September 1991, the SC 400 coupe and ES 300 sedan. The SC 400 (designed in tandem with the Japanese-market Toyota Soarer) shared the LS 400’s V8 engine and rear-wheel drive design, while the ES 300 replaced the ES 250 and became Lexus’ best-selling sedan. The GS series came to America in 1993, based on the Toyota Aristo, which had sold for two years prior in Japan. In 1994, Lexus introduced the second generation LS 400, a complete redesign of the flagship model. In May 1995, sales were threatened by the U.S. government's proposal of 100 percent tariffs on Japanese luxury cars in response to the widening U.S.-Japan trade deficit. Normal sales operations resumed a month later when the Japanese auto manufacturers collectively agreed to greater American investments, and the tariffs were not enacted.

In 1996, Lexus added its first luxury sport utility vehicle, the LX 450. Two years later, Lexus debuted the first luxury crossover SUV, the RX 300; the second generation of the GS 300/GS 400 sedans; and a new entry-level sedan, the IS 300. The RX quickly became Lexus' best-selling model, displacing the ES, its previous best-seller. In 1999, Lexus recorded its one-millionth vehicle sold in the U.S. market, and was ranked the top-selling luxury automobile make in the United States overall. In 2001, Lexus introduced its first convertible, the SC 430, and the third generation LS 430.

In 2005, Lexus expanded its lineup with the debut of the world’s first hybrid luxury SUV, the RX 400h. The vehicle's Lexus Hybrid Drive system combined gasoline and electric motors for increased power, improved fuel efficiency, and lower emissions relative to traditional gas-powered equivalents. In 2006, Lexus unveiled the GS 450h, a performance hybrid sedan with a V6 gas/electric power train and rear-wheel drive.

In 2006, Lexus premiered the fourth generation flagship LS Series—comprising both standard- and long-wheelbase gasoline (LS 460 and LS 460 L) and hybrid versions (LS 600h and LS 600h L)—and adding its automated parallel/reverse parking feature. In 2007, the LS 600h L went on sale as the most expensive luxury vehicle ever produced in Japan, with a sticker price of approximately $125,000.

In January 2007, Lexus announced a new F marque performance division, which would produce racing-inspired versions of its luxury performance vehicles. The first of this line, the Lexus IS F, made its debut at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, accompanied by an exotic supercar concept, the LF-A.

By 2006, Lexus sold approximately 475,000 vehicles worldwide and entered Interbrand's list of the Top 100 Global Brands for the first time, with an estimated brand value of approximately $3 billion annually. In 2007, Lexus' annual U.S. sales had risen to 329,177 vehicles. In 2008, amidst the global financial crisis, sales dropped 21% in the U.S., with an annual total of 260,087. In terms of volume, Lexus was the number-one-selling luxury marque in the largest automotive market for the past eight years consecutively and the fourth-largest luxury car brand in the world by volume.

In 2005, Lexus completed a full organizational separation from parent company Toyota, with dedicated Lexus design, engineering, training, and manufacturing centers working exclusively for the luxury division. This effort coincided with the launch of Lexus in its home market of Japan and an expanded global launch of the brand in major world markets. Executives aimed to grow Lexus sales outside of the U.S. (U.S. sales comprised approximately 63.5% of global Lexus sales in 2007). The next generation IS, GS, and LS sedans were subsequently designed as "global models" for worldwide markets. Lexus launched in China in 2005, Malaysia in 2006, Indonesia in 2007, and the Philippines in 2009. Lexus planned to expand to 76 countries worldwide by 2010.

Total worldwide Lexus sales reached 500,000 vehicles in 2007. That year, the largest Lexus sales markets (in order of size) were the U.S., Japan, the UK, China, Canada, and Russia. In 2008, sales growth was limited by a weakened luxury car market in major world regions, including North America, Asia, and Europe.

Lexus' arrival in the Japanese market on July 26, 2005 marked the first introduction of a Japanese luxury marque in the domestic market. The compact IS sedans, convertible SC, and midsize GS sedans became available in Japan in the 2006 model year. Sales were initially slower than expected but increased in 2007. In particular, the introduction of the LS 460 in September 2006 led to over 12,000 orders in its first month—several times expectations. Lexus Japan's network of 143 new dealerships became profitable in 2007. The debut of Lexus in Japan ended domestic sales of previous generation Toyota-equivalent models; right-hand drive versions of the LS, SC, RX, IS, and GS were previously sold in Japan under the (Toyota) Celsior, Soarer, Harrier, Altezza, and Aristo names, respectively. With next generation models, the Celsior, Aristo, Harrier, Altezza, and Soarer names were no longer used and were realigned to Japanese Lexus stores. The dramatic price increase (from $10,000 and up) on models previously sold under the Toyota badge and shifted to Lexus with the next generation was considered a main reason for initial slow Japanese sales, along with the overall contraction of the domestic auto market.

In the European market, Lexus has long struggled with smaller brand recognition; perceived lack of prestige compared to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Audi and Jaguar; minor market share; and the absence of an independent dealership network. In 2005, Lexus announced plans to introduce its first hybrid and diesel vehicles and expand the number of dedicated dealerships. In 2006, the newly introduced diesel IS 220d mainly accounted for sales increases in the United Kingdom; hybrids accounted for a quarter of total sales and outsold their petrol counterparts. The London congestion charge has added incentive by excluding hybrid vehicles. In 2006, 80% of all RX models sold in Europe were of the hybrid model. Total Lexus Europe sales increased 72% in 2006 to over 50,000 vehicles, held flat in 2007, and dropped 16% in 2008.

In 2007, Lexus vehicles in the emerging markets of Russia and China saw high demand, with higher per-dealership sales than any other market. That year, Lexus ranked fourth in Russian luxury sales and also captured the import sales lead in the emerging Chinese luxury car market. The number of Lexus dealerships in China expanded from 12 in 2005 to 23 in 2007; increased demand for luxury SUVs contributed to sales growth in the Chinese market.

In South Korea, with sales of the ES spearheading its efforts, Lexus was ranked as the top-selling import in 2005; in Taiwan, Lexus also became the top-selling luxury import in 2005. In Australia, Lexus experienced high sales growth and ranked third in 2006 luxury import sales, with the IS model generating the greatest demand.

As of 2009, coordination of global Lexus Division product strategy involves Yasuhiko Ichihashi, chief officer, and Kiyotaka Ise, general manager, of the Lexus Development Center in Japan. Ise, a managing officer in Toyota Motor Corporation's executive leadership, succeeded previous general manager Takeshi Yoshida, who was promoted to senior managing director on the Toyota board in June 2007. Other Lexus Japan executives include Yoichiro Ichimaru (senior managing director of Lexus Japan Sales & Marketing) and Toshio Furutani, managing officer at the Lexus Product & Marketing Planning Division.

In the United States, Lexus operations are headed by Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of the U.S. Lexus Division. In Europe, Lexus operations are headed by Andy Pfeiffenberger, vice president of Lexus Europe. Lexus Japan headquarters are located in Toyota City (Aichi, Japan). Companion Lexus design facilities are located in southern California and Toyota City, Japan.

Lexus production models are named alphanumerically using two-letter designations followed by three digits. The first letter indicates relative status in the Lexus model range (ranking), and the second letter refers to car body style or type (e.g. LS for 'luxury sedan'). The three digits indicate engine displacement in liters multiplied by a factor of ten (e.g. 350 for a 3.5 L engine). A space is used between the letters and numbers. The same letter may be used differently depending on the model; 'S' can refer to 'sedan' or 'sport' (e.g. in LS and SC), while 'X' refers to 'luxury utility vehicle' or SUV. On hybrids, the three digits refer to the combined gas-electric output.

For certain models, a lower case letter placed after the alphanumeric designation indicates powerplant type ('h' for hybrid, 'd' for diesel), while capital letter(s) placed at the end indicates a class subtype (e.g. 'L' for long-wheelbase, 'C' for coupe, 'AWD' for all-wheel drive). On F marque models, the two-letter designation and the letter 'F' are used with no numbers or hyphens (e.g. IS F).

Lexus design has traditionally placed an emphasis on targeting specific luxury vehicle standards. Since the first Lexus LS, design targets have included aerodynamics, performance, ride quality, interior ergonomics, cabin quiet, fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability. The acronym "IDEAL" (Impressive, Dynamic, Elegant, Advanced, and Lasting) is used in the development process. Each vehicle reportedly must fulfill over 500 specific product standards, known as "Lexus Musts," ranging from steering wheel responsiveness to leather-seat stitching.

Lexus cabins have incorporated touchscreen navigation system interfaces (through the 2009 model year), a smart key entry and startup system, SmartAccess, and electroluminescent Optitron gauges (first introduced on the 1989 LS 400). Dealer-adjusted Lexus Personalized Settings allow customization of vehicle features. For the 2010 RX and HS models, the Remote Touch system, featuring a computer mouse-like controller with haptic feedback, was introduced.

In 1989, Lexus models became among the first to offer premium audio systems, in partnership with stereo firm Nakamichi. Since 2001, optional surround sound systems are offered via high-end audio purveyor Mark Levinson. For cabin quiet, the original LS 400 introduced sandwich steel plating, and later models added acoustic glass. In 2006, the LS 460 introduced the first ceiling climate diffusers and infrared body temperature sensors in automobiles.

In 2006, the LS 460 debuted the first production eight-speed automatic transmission, and the gearbox was later adapted for the GS 460 and IS F models. Regenerative braking and electric motors are used on Lexus hybrid models. In 2008, Lexus debuted the LS 600h L, the first production vehicle to use LED headlamps.

Safety features on Lexus models range from stability systems (Vehicle Stability Control, VSC and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, VDIM) to backup cameras, swivel headlights, and sonar warning systems. The Lexus Pre-Collision System (PCS) integrates multiple safety systems. In 2007, Lexus introduced the first car safety systems with infrared and pedestrian detection capabilities, lane keep assist, Driver Monitoring Systems with facial recognition monitoring of driver attentiveness, and rear precollision whiplash protection, as part of the LS 460 pre-collision system.

As a safety precaution, Lexus GPS navigation systems feature a motion lockout when the vehicle reaches a set speed (to prevent distraction, navigation inputs are limited, while voice input and certain buttons are still accessible). This safety feature has attracted criticism, because passengers cannot use certain functions when the vehicle is in motion. Pre-2007 models came with a hidden OEM override option.

Lexus introduced a new design language known as "L-finesse" with its LF Series concepts and later with the 2006 Lexus GS. L-finesse is represented by three Japanese kanji characters: "Intriguing Elegance" (純), "Incisive Simplicity" (妙), and "Seamless Anticipation" (予). Derived from Japanese cultural motifs, these characters refer to the goal of "elegance with simplicity" while anticipating owner needs. Characters are also embodied in design cues; the phrase kirikaeshi is used in arrowhead shapes on 2006 models onward. L-finesse design hallmarks further include a fastback profile, lower-set grille, and the use of both convex and concave surfaces. As of the 2009 model year, the Lexus SC and Lexus GX are the only two Lexus models that lack the L-finesse treatment. They are still designed using previous Lexus styling, which does not differ as much from Toyota designs. The 2010 redesign introduces L-finesse to the Lexus RX.

In contrast to some earlier Lexus models, which were criticized for reserved and derivative styling (and often mistaken for understated domestic market cars), the debut of L-finesse was described in automotive design analyses as adding a distinctive nature and embrace of Japanese design identity. Opinions varied for the 2006 GS. Sports Car International's analysis praised the vehicle's in-person appearance; Automobile Magazine criticized the daring of its forward styling; and later models, such as the Jaguar XF, were compared for perceived similarities. Exhibitions of L-finesse artwork were presented at the Milan Design Week from 2005–08; the 2007 LS launch included art shows in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Miami, and New York City.

Many Lexus vehicles are manufactured in Toyota's Tahara plant, a highly sophisticated, computerized manufacturing plant in Japan. Lexus production techniques include methods and standards of quality control that differ from Toyota models. At the Tahara plant, separate assembly lines were developed for Lexus vehicles, along with new molds and specialized manufacturing equipment. Welding processes, body panel fit tolerances, and paint quality requirements are more stringent. Lexus plant workers, typically veteran technicians, are identified via repeated performance evaluations and ranked according to skill grade, with limited applicants accepted. The highest level takumi (匠, Japanese for "master craftsmen") engineers are responsible for maintaining production standards at key points in the assembly process, such as testing engine performance. Production vehicles are given visual inspections for flaws, individually test-driven at high speeds, and subjected to vibration tests.

The North American-market RX 350 (since the 2004 model year) is produced in the city of Cambridge, in Ontario, Canada, which is the first Lexus production site located outside of Japan. In addition to the Tahara factory, Lexus vehicles have been produced at the Miyata plant (Toyota Motor Kyushu) in Miyawaka, Fukuoka, Higashi Fuji plant (Kanto Auto Works) in Susono, Shizuoka, and Sanage plant (Toyota Boshoku; Araco) in Toyota, Aichi. As of 2008, most sedan and SUV production occurs in Japan at the Tahara plant in Aichi and Miyata plant in Fukuoka.

In 2005, J.D. Power and Associates bestowed its Platinum award for worldwide plant quality on the Tahara plant, stating that it has the fewest defects of any manufacturing plant in the world. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Tahara plant captured this award. In 2006, J.D. Power named the Miyata plant, then the site of ES and IS model production, as its recipient of the Platinum award for worldwide plant quality.

Lexus has become known for efforts to project a luxury image, even with service provided after the sale. The waiting areas in the service departments are replete with amenities, such as a refreshment bar, internet access, indoor putting green, and accessories shop. Dealerships typically offer complimentary loaner cars and free car washes, and some have added on-site cafes and designer boutiques. Service bays are typically lined with large picture windows, allowing customers to watch the servicing of their vehicle. Follow-up surveys allow Lexus owners to rate their service experience.

To improve customer service, some Lexus dealerships have sent their employees to train at service-focused establishments such as Nordstrom department stores and Ritz-Carlton hotels. Lexus has also added an additional owners' privilege: the use of exclusive parking lots at major sporting arenas, entertainment events, and shopping malls, reserved only for Lexus vehicles.

Since 2002, Lexus has scored consecutive top ratings in the Auto Express and 76,000-respondent Top Gear customer satisfaction surveys in the UK. Lexus has also repeatedly topped the 79,000-respondent J.D. Power Customer Service Index and Luxury Institute, New York surveys in the U.S. On the strength of its customer service and product satisfaction standards, Lexus enjoys one of the highest customer loyalty rates in the industry.

In the U.S., Lexus offers a four-year or 50,000-mile (80,000 km) basic and six-year or 70,000-mile (110,000 km) powertrain/corrosion warranty. Lexus' Certified Pre-Owned program, among the first in the automotive industry (begun in November 1993), features a 161-point inspection of preowned vehicles and a three-year or 100,000-mile (160,000 km) limited warranty. In 2005, Lexus Financial Savings Bank, in conjunction with U.S. Bank, launched a Lexus Pursuits Visa Card. Lexus Magazine features automotive and lifestyle articles and is issued quarterly.

Lexus first entered the motorsport arena in 1999 when its racing unit, Team Lexus, fielded two GS 400 race vehicles in the Motorola Cup North American Street Stock Championship. In its 1999 inaugural season, Team Lexus achieved its first victory with its sixth race at Road Atlanta. That year, Team Lexus also attained four podium finishes in nine races and held two track records. Led by SCCA and IMSA driver Chuck Goldsborough, Team Lexus raced to a second victory, two podium finishes, and three top-five finishes in 2000. Team Lexus ranked third overall in the Manufacturers' Championship that year, with each GS 400 race achieving a top ten result.

In 2001, Team Lexus capitalized on the debut of the first generation Lexus IS by entering three IS 300s in the renamed Grand-Am Cup (now run by the Grand American Road Racing Association). By 2002, Team Lexus had won the Drivers' Championship and Team Championship with nine podium finishes, and a sweep of the top three finishes at Le Circuit Mont Treblant in Quebec, Canada. In 2003, Team Lexus achieved four pole positions, six podium finishes, two track records at Daytona 24 and Mosport, and a victory at Miami-Homestead.

Lexus has also participated in endurance racing, in particular the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. After entering the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004, Lexus has won over 15 Rolex Series event races. In 2005, Lexus was runner-up, and in 2006, it won the championship. Although Toyota has won this prestigious race in the past, it was the first time that its luxury arm emerged as the winner. In 2007, six Lexus-powered Daytona prototypes were entered in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona event at the Daytona International Speedway. Lexus was a repeat winner of the event, with a Lexus-Riley prototype driven by Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Salvador Durán of Chip Ganassi Racing finishing first; Lexus-Riley prototypes also took three of the top ten spots. In 2008, Lexus won its third consecutive win at Daytona.

After the release of the Lexus brand in the Japanese domestic market in 2005, four SC 430 coupes were entered in the Super GT series in the GT500 class. In the first race of the 2006 series, an SC 430 took the chequered flag, and drivers André Lotterer and Juichi Wakisaka raced the SC 430 to capture the GT500 championship for that year. In 2007, another SC 430 won the GT500 opening round race. In 2006, Lexus raced a hybrid vehicle for the first time, entering a GS 450h performance hybrid sedan in the Tokachi 24-hour Race in Hokkaido, Japan. Lexus Canada entered the GS 450h in 2007's Targa Newfoundland event.

In December 2006, Lexus announced its new F marque division. The "F" refers to the Fuji Speedway in Japan, whose first corner, 27R, inspired the shape of the "F" emblem. The first F badged vehicle, the Lexus IS F, subsequently premiered at the North American International Auto Show in January 2007. Media reports suggested that the IS F sedan would be followed by a GS F sedan and Lexus IS F coupe. An earlier in-house tuning effort, the TRD-based L-Tuned, had offered performance packages on the IS and GS sedans in the early 2000s. In 2007, Lexus entered the IS F in the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, offering a factory-sanctioned F-Sport performance accessory line in conjunction with the debut of its F marque division.

The IS F is targeted at rivals from Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M divisions. Historically, past versions of the SC and GS models have received favorable reactions from sport luxury buyers, while other Lexus models have been characterized as favoring comfort at the expense of sporty performance. Automotive reviewers have also given some of Lexus' German rivals higher marks for road feel and handling, especially during racetrack testing. The F marque line has been seen as an effort to further bolster Lexus' performance credentials.

Lexus’ strategic intentions are hinted at in its LF Series concepts, elements of which have translated into production form (including the 2003 LF-S and 2004 LF-C). The LF Series concepts include advanced instrumentation, multiple driver-selected vehicle configurations, hybrid/experimental powertrains, and unconventional driver interface designs. Lexus managing officer Takeshi Yoshida has further stated Lexus' intentions to produce future production models using more dedicated Lexus platforms, as is the case for the LS flagship. The entry-level Lexus ES, in particular, had been chided for being too similar to the Toyota Camry, its shared platform cousin, in both styling and power train design.

According to division executives, Lexus plans to introduce Lexus Hybrid Drive on every vehicle in the Lexus lineup, catering to demands for a decrease in both carbon pollution and oil reliance. The advent of Lexus hybrid technology is touted by Lexus officials as a strategy for raising the profile of Lexus in countries with greater public perception of the rival Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and Jaguar brands. New Lexus models in development also include convertibles, crossovers, and dedicated hybrids. Lexus prototypes have been spotted testing at the Nürburgring test track in Germany.

Lexus' future brand position in the prestige luxury market involves pricing strategies. The success of Lexus in the U.S. was attributed to higher levels of perceived quality and lower prices than competitors, which enabled Lexus to attract customers upgrading from mass-market cars. The more dependable reputation of Lexus than its competitors was seen as a primary sales factor. However, for ultra-luxury buyers (classed above $100,000 in the U.S.), this may have had repercussions as Lexus cultivated a bargain brand image which does not compete at the upper end of the luxury market, where rivals offer chart-topping flagship vehicles. In response, the latest Lexus models are expected to move up in sticker price to more closely match their European rivals; with flagship models such as the LS 600h L being the first to reach the ultra-luxury barrier. However, during the late-2000s recession, Lexus offered lesser amounts of factory price incentives to buy their vehicles compared to other luxury brands in the U.S., with the general manager stating that sales volume was never important for Lexus. This was in spite of a large decline in sales volume which all major luxury brands experienced.

Additionally, automotive analysts have noted Lexus' relative newcomer status in the luxury market, compared with the storied reputation of its European rivals, as a limiting factor for its initial sales acceptance in worldwide markets. Rivals Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche have stressed their decades of heritage and pedigree in an effort to promote their products, whereas since its inception Lexus' reputation rests primarily upon its perceived product quality and the shared history of its parent company, Toyota. The characteristics of heritage, built up over many years, and pedigree, are regarded by some reviewers as a challenge for Lexus, although their impact is debated. Ultimately, a number of analysts have stated that Lexus will have to develop its own heritage over time by investing in technological innovations and producing substantial products.

In 2002, Lexus was requested by Steven Spielberg, a Lexus owner himself, to design a vehicle that would fit the requirements of year 2054 for his movie Minority Report. Designers working with Lexus came up with an advanced vehicle that would run on fuel cells and have many advanced safety features, including a crashproof structure and biometric security systems. (Lexus' cinematic concept car also appears in The Island, though it is colored blue, not red). A Lexus film tie-in site proposed a Lexus future vehicle that would drive itself, take dinner orders verbally, and select music to match occupant moods. The Lexus 2054 later appeared at several auto shows and public events.

The term "the Lexus of..." has also entered the cultural lexicon as a description of a high-end product, or an upscale brand produced by a mainstream manufacturer. For example, in 2006, Dell announced a premium lineup of computers, calling it "the Lexus of our lineup." Further example comparisons include "the Lexus of phones" or "the Lexus of space stations," among others. Late-night comedian Jay Leno first coined the term "Lexus-ized" for his automotive columns in Popular Mechanics, an expression generally used to describe the Lexus approach to luxury motoring. Despite the official pluralized form of Lexus being simply Lexus, the public has also made its own derivatives (the most popular derivative being "Lexi"). Registration data from the U.S. Social Security Administration in 2003 revealed that Lexus had become the most popular baby name derived from a luxury brand. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman cited Lexus as an example of the drive for prosperity and development in his best-selling 1999 book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

In the UK, the LS 430 flagship was introduced in the BBC spy drama Spooks; Lexus models were also placed on ITV's Coronation Street, the BBC's Judge John Deed, and other programs. Lexus GB models saw sales increases after being seen on ITV's Footballers' Wives. In 2002, comedian Steve Coogan's fictional BBC Alan Partridge character replaced his Rover with an IS 200, calling it the "Japanese Mercedes" and one of many "Lexi"; his superficial character was seen as detrimental to the brand's image, as he saw the car as prestigious. By 2004, multiple hip-hop artists, including Jay-Z (in the song "Ain't No Nigga"), Tupac Shakur (in the song "Wonder Why They Call U Bitch"), Dead Prez (in the song "Hip Hop") and Kanye West (in "Jesus Walks") made mention of Lexus vehicles in their songs, endorsements that Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson suggested added street credibility for the brand.

The introduction of Lexus hybrids have garnered further media attention through celebrity RX 400h owners such as Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, and Holly Hunter, who were among the earliest adopters of the Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. Politicians in the UK and Ireland have acquired Lexus hybrids, along with government agencies. In Monaco, Prince Albert II purchased an LS 600h and advocated the adoption of hybrid tax credits.

Lexus has used a consistent motif for its television advertisements in the United States. From its launch, ads were commonly narrated by film and television actor James Sloyan (who was the voice of "Mr. Lexus" from 1989) and accompanied by vehicles that perform unusual stunts onscreen. The first decade of commercials (1989–99) consisted primarily of disjunctive verbal descriptions, such as "relentless," "pursuit," and "perfection," while the vehicles were used to claim superiority in braking, handling, idling, and interior quiet & comfort on camera. Newer ads have become somewhat more descriptive, occasionally including full descriptions of novel features or a narration of the events onscreen. Lexus commercials, while consistent in formula, have at times resembled those of rivals Infiniti and Acura, which also have used celebrity voice-overs (Jonathan Pryce until 1997 and James Spader since 2005, respectively), while providing similar visual cues to the audience about vehicle features and craftsmanship. In 2009, Lexus hired actor James Remar for ad voice-overs. As of 2008, Lexus continues to advertise leasing, while other brands focus more on long-term financing.

In 1989, Lexus began sponsoring an annual Lexus Champions for Charity golf series, which since has raised over $100-million for charity causes. The golf series begins with over 190 local golf tournaments around the U.S., leading to a three-day championship tournament at Pebble Beach. Since 2005, Lexus has also been a primary sponsor of the U.S. Open tennis Grand Slam event, awarding a GS sedan (and later an IS F) to the men's and women's singles champions and providing player transportation. In January 2007, Lexus became the first automotive sponsor of the United States Golf Association at its U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, and U.S. Amateur tournaments. Other Lexus sponsorships vary by region (examples include the Lexus Cup in Singapore and Australia and Lexus Song Quest singing competition in New Zealand). Lexus has also signed endorsement contracts with pro athletes Andy Roddick, Annika Sörenstam, and Peter Jacobsen.

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Lexus RX

2009 Lexus RX 350 Pebble Beach

The Lexus RX is a luxury crossover SUV sold by Lexus since 1998. The RX is designed to combine the functional characteristics of an SUV with ride and features of a luxury sedan. The RX series has comprised multiple V6 and hybrid-powered models (such as the RX 300, RX 330, RX 350, RX 400h, and RX 450h), in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions. Three generations of the Lexus RX have been produced to date, in compact or mid-size form. The Lexus RX has been the best selling crossover luxury SUV on the US market since its introduction and has ranked as the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.

The Lexus RX first premiered in 1997 as a Lexus concept, followed by the debut of the production RX 300 model at the 1998 North American International Auto Show. In 2003, the second generation RX debuted in the U.S., and the redesigned RX 330 went on sale shortly after. In 2006, the RX line added the world's first luxury hybrid, the RX 400h. The redesigned third generation RX went on sale in 2009. Equivalent versions of the first and second generation models were sold in Japan under the Toyota Harrier nameplate until 2008.

As the earliest luxury crossover on the market, the Lexus RX has inspired similar competitors from rival marques. Its commercial success as Lexus' best-selling model has been attributed to the strong reliability reputation of Lexus and the RX line. The RX and ES are the only Lexus vehicles to be produced within as well as outside Japan, with North American market RX 350s being made at the Cambridge plant in Canada. The RX designation, signifies its place in the Lexus lineup next to the larger body-on-frame GX and LX SUVs.

In February 1997, Lexus debuted the "Sport Luxury Vehicle" (SLV) concept, a prototype crossover SUV, at the Chicago Auto Show. This concept, which appeared close to production, combined the characteristics of an SUV, wagon, and sedan. In Japan, the SLV concept appeared in first-generation Toyota Harrier form (codename SXU10 and MCU10 for the front-wheel drive models, and SXU15 and MCU15 for the all-wheel drive models) in December 1997. Two engines were available, the 2.2 L 5S-FE I4 which produced 139 hp (104 kW) JIS (102 kW) and 191 Nm (140 ft·lbf), and the 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 which produced 219 hp (163 kW) JIS (161 kW) and 304 Nm (224 ft·lbf). Both engines could be specified with either front or all-wheel drivetrains. All models came with an automatic transmission. The first RX was partly based on the RAV4 platform.

In Japan, the first-generation Harrier was a sales success, and many went to other right hand drive markets in Asia as grey imports. The Harrier continued largely unchanged until November 2000, when the 2.2 L 5S-FE engine was replaced by the 2.4 L 2AZ-FE 4-cylinder engine, producing 159 hp (119 kW) JIS (117 kW) and 221 Nm (163 ft·lbf). As before, the engine was offered with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The change in engine also meant a change in model code, which was now ACU10 for the front-wheel drive version and ACU15 for the all-wheel drive version. A small facelift was also performed on the Harrier.

The Lexus RX 300 made its sales debut in America in March 1998 as a 1999 model following its premiere at the 1998 North American International Auto Show, it was powered by an LEV certified 3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6 mated to a 4-speed automatic in either front or all-wheel drive variations. The RX 300 interior included leather seats, wood trim, a multi-level center console with storage drawers, and individual reclining and sliding rear seats. A shift lever mounted near the instrument panel freed up floor space for additional storage. On the exterior, the RX featured heated mirrors, automatic light-sensing headlights, a low step-in entry height, and an overall drag coefficient of 0.36 Cd. A 240-watt, 7-speaker Pioneer sound system was standard, while a premium Nakamichi customized sound system was available as an option. The Lexus RX was an immediate hit, and sold over 370,000 units in five years.

In 2001, the RX gained a number of options, including a DVD-based automotive navigation system, a wood and leather trimmed steering wheel, and tow hitch receiver. Cabin equipment options were grouped into new package offerings. For safety, Vehicle Stability Control became standard. Exclusively for 2002, Lexus introduced the limited RX 300 "Coach Edition," featuring perforated leather trim in the interior, honeycomb grille, Coach badging on the exterior and interior, and a set of Coach luggage. A burgundy exterior color, Venetian Red Pearl, was offered on 1999-2000 year models.

In 2000, the Lexus RX went on sale in Europe and Asia for the first time. Distinguishing features for these versions of the RX 300 included a different rear light cluster and larger wheels. The front-wheel drive version was not offered in either Europe or Asia.

The IIHS rated the RX 300 Good overall in their frontal offset crash test.

In January 2003, Lexus unveiled the second-generation model of its best-selling luxury crossover SUV at the North American International Auto Show, featuring a newer, sleeker body style with a 0.35 Cd figure and new LED tailamps. The basic chassis is shared with the Highlander SUV.

In February 2003, the second generation Toyota Harrier (codename ACU30 and MCU30 for the front-wheel drive models, and ACU35 and MCU35 for the all-wheel drive models) was launched in Japan. Mechanical specification was largely similar to the first-generation Harrier, with the same engine and drivetrain combinations (2.4 L and 3.0 L V6 with or without all-wheel drive). The main difference was a new 5-speed automatic transmission with +/- shift replacing the 4-speed item in the 3.0 L V6, and the availability of "AIRS" air-suspension on the 3.0 L V6 models. Toyota added a new optional safety feature known as the Pre-Collision System.

The second generation Lexus RX was launched for European and Asian markets in early 2003 (including Singapore, where it succeeded the previously sold Harrier, South Korea, and Taiwan), it continued to be called the RX 300 and was made in Japan. Mechanical specifications were more or less identical to the 3.0 L V6 Harrier, with only the all-wheel drive version available, once again the air-suspension could be specified.

The second generation RX, called the RX 330 for the North American and Middle Eastern markets, began sales in March 2003. All North American models were initially built in Japan until September 2003 when production of the RX 330 began at Toyota's TMMC plant in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

The RX 330 was powered by a 3.3-liter ULEV certified 3MZ-FE V6, producing 230 hp (172 kW) SAE and (238 ft·lbf) mated to a 5-speed automatic and was available in either front or all-wheel drive. Height-adjustable air-suspension was again an option on the all-wheel drive models (akin to "AIRS" system). In 2006, with changes in SAE ratings engine output dropped to 223 hp and the engine now met ULEV-II emissions.

The new RX interior featured genuine Golden Bird's Eye Maple or Walnut wood trim, a sliding multi-level center storage console, dual-zone climate control, tilt steering column, and eight airbags including a driver's knee airbag. Available options included a 210-watt, 11-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, a DVD-based navigation system with backup camera, DVD Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES) with wireless headphones, a panoramic three panel moonroof, a newly developed Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) which can swivel the headlights around corners, a Dynamic Laser Cruise Control system, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and rain-sensing wipers. Although a power rear door was optional in the beginning, it was made standard in 2005.

In 2005, Lexus introduced the RX 330 "Thundercloud Edition" for the U.S. market, featuring a chrome horizontal-slatted grille, unique alloy wheels, Dark Gray Bird's Eye Maple wood trim, two special exterior colors and other select options as standard.

Sales of the second generation Lexus RX continued the success of the RX series for Lexus. In 2006, the RX series sold over 108,000 units, making the Lexus RX the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States.

For 2007, the RX received a mid-cycle refresh consisting of a new 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 replacing the 3.3-liter 3MZ-FE V6 engine on non-hybrid models, updating the vehicle's name from RX 330 to RX 350. The RX 350 also featured an updated, Lexus Generation V DVD navigation system with improved graphics, voice controlled destination inputs, and a new feature called "bread crumbs." Bread crumbs will enable drivers to retrace their steps. The new navigation system also featured voice dial systems and the ability to enter destinations by voice address while driving.

For the 2008 model year, the RX received a revised grille, chrome door handles, available new seven-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with a liquid graphite finish, and Brandy Wine Mica or Desert Sage Metallic were new exterior choices. Black Bird's Eye Maple wood with gray interior was a new interior option.

For the 2009 model year, there is a new Pebble Beach Edition, limited to 6000 units, Base MSRP: $41,580 – $42,980. These limited production models have "Pebble Beach" badges on front fenders and embroidered front floor mats, available in Black Onyx and Truffle Mica, this RX comes equipped with limited-edition 18-inch alloy wheels, Color-keyed rear spoiler and a unique chrome-finished grille. You also receive a choice of beautiful amenities designed to complement the Pebble Beach lifestyle.

The world's first luxury hybrid the RX 400h premiered at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and went on sale in North America in April 2005, and the equivalent Harrier Hybrid went on sale in Japan on March 2005. The debut model was first offered in all-wheel drive, and in 2006 a front-wheel drive version was added. Europe and Asia also received the Hybrid RX in 2006.

The Lexus RX 400h features Lexus Hybrid Drive, which combines a 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6 engine and electric motors. This results in performance akin to a V8 with improved fuel economy and lower emissions, passing power at lower and mid engine RPM's is noticeably improved due to the electric motor. The RX 400h features styling differences with the conventional gas-powered RX, including metal interior trim in place of wood, round foglights, and a different grille. For 2007, additional hybrid signifiers were added to the rear doors and aft emblems to further distinguish the hybrid models. A combination wood trim package was also added.

The RX 400h is CARB SULEV certified in California and EPA Tier II Bin 3 rated in other states. The EPA-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy for the RX 400h is 27/24/26 mpg in FWD trim and 26/24/26 mpg in AWD trim.

All RX models came standard with dual front airbags, front row torso side airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag, Vehicle Stability Control and a tire-pressure monitoring system standard. An Advanced Front Lighting System with HID headlamps and a backup camera (w/navigation system) were optional.

The Lexus RX received a Good overall rating in the IIHS frontal crash test.

At the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show, the LF-Xh concept was unveiled, hinting at the styling direction of the next RX. Later in January 2009, the redesigned third generation RX premiered at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, appearing as the standard RX 350 and hybrid RX 450h. The Japanese market Toyota Harrier was discontinued. New exterior styling includes a rear spoiler that hides the rear window wiper and radio antenna creating a less cluttered appearance in keeping with the L-finesse design language. The drag coefficient on the latest RX 350 has been reduced to 0.33 Cd.

The 2010 RX 350 features a revised 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine producing 275 hp (205 kW), which remains ULEV-II certified and now uses a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift. The new transmission can lock-up the torque converter from 2nd through 6th gears to improve fuel economy. Both non-hybrid and hybrid models continue to be offered in either front or all-wheel drive configurations.. By dropping the center locking differential a new Active Torque Control all-wheel drive system can send anywhere from 50% or up to 100% power to the front wheels for reduced drivetrain associated efficiency losses which in turn increases fuel efficiency. An Electric Power Steering (EPS) system replaces the previous belt-driven hydraulic pump. EPA-estimated fuel economy is improved at 18/25 city/highway for the FWD RX 350 and 18/24 for the AWD RX 350. A double-wishbone rear suspension setup replaces the previous MacPherson strut design for improved handling and greater cargo space, while an optional Sports Package adds a performance-tuned suspension. Exterior dimensions are increased, and cargo room is increased by five percent. The RX 350 no longer has a line under its grille.

Major standard features include SmartAccess, a keyless entry and start system, electrochromic heated side mirrors, UV reducing exterior glass, Bluetooth, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power 10-way driver and passenger seats, sliding and reclining rear seats and a power rear hatch. Optional features include, 19" wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, power front seat cushion extender, perforated and semi-aniline leather seats, a smog sensor for the HVAC system, power folding side view mirrors, and a new hard disk drive HDD-based navigation system which no longer features a touchscreen, instead replacing it with a Remote Touch controller similar in function to a mouse. The instrument clusters mult-function display uses an OLED display instead of a TFT display. With XM subscription the navigation adds real-time NavTraffic and NavWeather updates. The third generation RX also adds VoiceBox Technologies conversational speech voice recognition system, the first of its kind in the U.S., which can recognize general speech commands. Other options include a heads-up display (HUD) which uses high-intensity LEDs displaying white figures on the windshield allowing it to be read in direct sunlight. XM Satellite Radio, a 15-speaker 330 Watt Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system and a dual-screen Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES) are also offered.

American RX 350 sales began in February 2009 as a 2010 model. The front-wheel drive RX 350 starts at $36,800 while the all-wheel driver version starts at $38,200. Sales debuts for Europe (RX 450h), Japan (RX 350 and RX 450h), Australia (RX 350 and RX 450h), and other countries are expected in 2009.

The Lexus RX 450h's 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine, now running on the Atkinson cycle, produces 245 hp; by incorporating a more powerful inverter and electric motors, total horsepower reaches 295 hp.

Two additional systems are added to the RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, an exhaust-heat recovery system to reduce engine warm-up periods (optimizing engine start-stop times), and a water-cooled Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to reduce engine pumping losses. A new ECO mode helps the driver improve fuel economy by controlling air conditioning and throttle inputs. These designs together help improve fuel economy in the RX 450h which now returns an EPA-estimated city/highway/combined rating of 32/28/30 mpg in FWD trim and 30/28/ mpg in AWD form. The RX 450h's emissions meet SULEV standards in California and states that adopted CARB regulations or EPA Tier II-Bin 3 in other states.

Visually, the RX 450h receives a unique grille with modified front fascia, blue-tinted headlamps and tail lamps,, hybrid badging, different wheels, and optional LED headlights.

The RX 350/450h comes standard with twin-chamber front airbags, side torso airbags for the front row, side curtain airbags for front and rear rows, and knee airbags for the front row. Active headrests become standard to help reduce whiplash injuries. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill Assist Control which helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards on inclines is standard while a more advanced Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is optional. VDIM is designed to be more subtle and less intrusive in performance than VSC, VDIM can also engage prior to an actual skid taking place acting as a preventative measure.

The Advanced Front Lighting System (AFS) remains optional, while a new bi-Xenon optional Intelligent highbeam feature is added, this system can dim the high-beams automatically whenever traffic is detected. Other new optional features include a Pre-Collision System (PCS) and a head-up display (HUD) which helps the driver keep attention on the road ahead by displaying navigation, speed, and audio information on the windshield. The optional navigation system offers a backup camera and a Wide-View Side Monitor which utilizes a camera on the side view mirror to help eliminate blind spots on the passenger side at low speeds. However this system does not include the 180° wide-angle front grille mounted camera found in the LX 570. To further help improve visibility a water-repellent glass is used on the front doors.

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Lexus RX Hybrid

2008 Lexus RX 400h

The Lexus RX Hybrid is a hybrid crossover SUV sold by Lexus since 2005. The RX Hybrid uses the Lexus RX body design and a Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain which combines a V6 gasoline engine with electrical motors. First introduced in January 2004 at the North American International Auto Show, the original RX 400h became the first luxury hybrid, and the world's second mass-produced hybrid sport utility vehicle, after the Ford Escape Hybrid. The RX 400h was also the launch vehicle of the Lexus hybrid lineup, which later expanded to include hybrid versions of other Lexus vehicles, including the GS 450h and LS 600h/LS 600h L.

The first generation RX 400h was sold until the 2008 model year, and an equivalent model, the Toyota Harrier Hybrid, was sold in Japan until the same year. In November 2008, Lexus launched a complete redesign of its hybrid crossover, the second generation RX 450h, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The Lexus RX 450h was scheduled to go on sale in North America, Europe, Asia (including Japan), and other markets in 2009 as a 2010 model.

Lexus debuted the RX 400h at the North American International Auto Show in 2004, with plans to launch the vehicle in the U.S. market. The equivalent Harrier Hybrid debuted in Japan on 22 March 2005, the same day as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The Lexus RX 400h made its U.S. sales debut in mid-2005, with over 9,000 pre-orders at launch. The RX 400h's arrival in the U.S. had been delayed by several months; Lexus had announced in November 2004 that the American launch of the hybrid Lexus SUV would occur for the 2006 model year (with European and Asian launches during 2005).

Since its launch, the all-wheel drive RX 400h/Harrier Hybrid has been sold at a substantial premium over the non-hybrid RX 300/RX 330/RX 350/Harrier. In the U.S., the initial base price was US$49,185, which was a $5,600 premium over a similarly-equipped RX 330/RX 350. A front-wheel drive version of the RX 400h debuted in 2006, with a base MSRP approximately $1,400 less than the all-wheel drive RX hybrid. For 2007, along with the reduction of the federal hybrid tax credit for its hybrids, Lexus lowered the base price of the RX 400h to $42,580 and $41,180 for the respective all-wheel and front-wheel drive versions. The list price in Japan for the Harrier Hybrid ranged from 4.095 million Yen to 4.62 million Yen. Based on the 2010 Lexus RX redesign, there was no RX 400h for the 2009 model year.

The gasoline-powered part of the RX 400h engine system is a 3.3 L 3MZ-FE V6, very similar to the one found in the RX 330. It produced 211 hp JIS (155 kW) and 288 N·m (212 ft·lbf). The gasoline engine is aided by a maximum of two additional electric motors, one driving the front wheels, producing 167 hp JIS (123 kW) and 333 N·m (245 ft·lbf) and connected to the CVT gearbox, and the other driving the rear wheels, producing 68 hp JIS (50 kW) and 130 N·m (95 ft·lbf). The whole system, called Lexus Hybrid Drive (also Hybrid Synergy Drive), produces a maximum of 272 hp JIS (200 kW). With Lexus Hybrid Drive, under normal driving conditions, only the front motor and gasoline engine are used. The rear motor is only used under full-throttle acceleration or when the front wheels lose traction. The gasoline engine switches off automatically and the car runs completely on electricity when either stationary, decelerating, or being driven at slow speeds (0 to 40 miles per hour). An Ni-MH battery is responsible for powering the motors, and is charged by generators during deceleration or sharp cornering.

Not only does the hybrid drive in the RX 400h improve fuel economy, with the assistance of the electric motor, the 400h/Harrier Hybrid can reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 8 seconds, quicker than the gasoline-only RX. Despite the increased performance, the RX 400h/Harrier Hybrid consumes roughly the same amount of gasoline as a compact four-cylinder sedan and it qualifies as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) in America. Under the Japanese "10.15 mode" fuel consumption standard, the Harrier Hybrid can run 17.8 km per litre of fuel (compared with the standard coil-sprung V6 3.0 L Harrier, which returned 9.4 km/L). In Japan, it qualifies as a "4-star" LEV-car, where it produces 75% fewer emissions than the standard specified in Heisei 17 (i.e. year 2005). In the U.S., the RX 400h is certified with a revised 2008 EPA fuel economy rating of 26 mpg city, 24 highway for the AWD model. Because of the hybrid system's ability to shut off the gasoline engine at slower speeds or at idle, its fuel economy is better in city driving, in contrast with conventional petrol and diesel drivetrains.

Compared to the standard Lexus RX, the RX 400h features a different front grille and round foglights, and also differently-styled LED tailights in place of the conventional LED ones on the RX330/RX350. Different exterior colors are offered. When launched in 2005, the RX 400h came exclusively with brushed aluminum interior accents, in place of the wood trim offered in the standard RX. This changed in 2006, when the RX 400h became available with Bird's Eye Maple wood trim. Additional changes for 2007 included the addition of Hybrid badging on the rear side doors. A hybrid information display on the navigation screen shows electrical motor, gasoline engine, and regenerative braking activation in real time. Some RX 400h models without navigation screens display the information on a small monochrome display on the instrument panel, similar to Toyota Camry Hybrid models without navigation systems.

Lexus debuted the second generation RX hybrid, the RX 450h, at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2008. The RX 450h was premiered alongside its non-hybrid equivalent, the third generation RX 350. Both models were introduced as 2010 model year vehicles, with a hybrid concept vehicle, the LF-Xh, previewing their design direction at international auto shows a year prior. Manufacturer's specifications indicated identical outward dimensions for the RX 450h with the RX 350. The RX 450h was expected to go on sale in the U.S. in mid to late 2009, with sales introductions for the RX 450h in Asia (including Japan) and Europe in the same year.

The RX 450h features an upgraded 3.5 L 2GR-FE V6 engine (shared with the RX 350) which produces 245 hp (183 kW), along with a new inverter which boosts total horsepower to 297 hp (221 kW). The RX 450h's V6 engine now runs on the Atkinson cycle for added efficiency. Two additional systems are added to the RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, an exhaust-heat recovery system to reduce engine warm-up periods (optimizing engine start-stop times), and a cooled exhaust gas-recirculation system to reduce fuel pumping loss. Fuel efficiency, according to manufacturer data, is increased by eight percent over the previous RX 400h.

To visually differentiate the hybrid RX model, the RX 450h receives a unique grille with modified front fascia, LED headlights, hybrid badging, and different wheels. The new model's LED headlamps are similar to the LS 600h, which also has LED headlamps (reserved for Lexus hybrid models only). The current concept vehicle for the third generation RX is the LF-Xh. The new hybrid version of the RX, which arrived a year after the concept as the RX 450h, was announced to debut at the Greater LA Auto Show in November 2008 for the 2010 model year.

The Lexus RX 400h was one of only four SUVs to achieve recognition on J.D. Power and Associates' 2006 Automotive Environmental Index of the top 30 most environmentally-friendly vehicles. J.D. Power also awarded the RX 400h the top spot for entry-luxury SUVs in its 2005 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study on owners' attitudes towards new vehicle designs. At the 2005 GreenFleet Awards in the United Kingdom, recognizing environmentally friendly transportation, Lexus was recognized for introducing the RX 400h with the 4x4 Manufacturer of the Year title. The RX 400h was named SUV of Texas at the 2005 Texas Truck Rodeo awards, and was awarded recognition as a CNET editor's choice vehicle in 2005.

Sales data for the Lexus RX hybrid are as follows.

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Skip Barber Racing School

Skip Barber Racing School at Road America.

The Skip Barber Racing School is headquartered in Lakeville, Connecticut, United States.

It conducts racing schools, driving schools ("defensive" driving and/or high-performance schools), six separate amateur and professional racing championships and corporate entertainment schools.

It is the largest racing school in the world, and is intended for those intent on racing careers. Barber started the school in 1975 with two borrowed Formula Ford race cars and four students. It uses up to 30 race tracks across the United States and Canada, and owns 120 race cars. The school was affiliated with Dodge until 2006. As of 2007 the school is officially affiliated with Mazda .

Since 1975, Skip Barber Racing operates a fully integrated system of racing schools, driving schools, racing championships, corporate events and OEM events across North America.

The Skip Barber Race Series is collectively six separate open-wheel, equal-car racing championships—four regional amateur series, a national championship for drivers over 40 (with professional rules), and an entry-level professional national series that awards $100,000 to its season champion.

The Skip Barber National Championship is an entry-level professional racing series that takes drivers to several venues each season, and exposes them to bigger racing markets. Each season's champion earns a $100,000 scholarship to help advance their racing career.

The Skip Masters National Championship is a racing series for drivers over the age of 40 who are looking to race in a professional-level series without becoming full-time professional racers.

The Corporate Events unit creates custom Racing and Driving programs for companies of any size that desire special events to train, entertain, educate and reward.

OEM Events provides specialized automotive-related training, analysis, evaluation, logistics and consultation.

Over 120 racecars: With 60 Formula Skip Barber open-wheel school cars and race-prepped Mazda MX-5 Cup cars for the Racing School and Corporate Events and 60 Skip Barber Formula 2000 racecars for the six racing championships.

More than 75 passenger/street cars: Porsche 911s, Boxsters, Lexus IS-F sedans, BMW M3s, 330i sedans, Mazda3s, MX-5s, and RX-8s for use in the High Performance Driving School, Driving School, and Corporate Events.

30 transport and support vehicles: Ford F-350 pickups and E-350 Econoline vans.

John "Skip" Barber competed in the Formula One World Championship. He won three straight SCCA national championships in the mid 1960s. When his racing career ended, Barber's belief that auto racing was "coachable" in the same manner as any other sport -- at the time, a distinctly minority position -- led him to create the eponymously named Racing School, and a year later, the equal-car Race Series.

In 1975, with two borrowed Lola Formula Fords and four students, Barber started the Skip Barber School of High Performance Driving. In 1976, it was renamed the Skip Barber Racing School and that same year, he created the Skip Barber Race Series.

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Source : Wikipedia