The first Lexus was sold, launching Toyota’s new luxury division

Friday 1st September 1989

The first Lexus was sold, launching Toyota’s new luxury division. However, Lexus’ story had begun six years earlier in a top secret meeting of Toyota’s elite. Surrounded by the company’s top-level management, Chairman Eiji Toyota proposed the company’s next challenge – a luxury car that could compete with the world’s best. Lexus originated from a clandestine flagship sedan project, code-named “F1” (F for “flagship,” and the numeral 1 recalling the high performance of Formula 1 race cars) which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch of the original Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan, coupé, convertible, and SUV models. Until 2005 Lexus did not exist as a brand in its home market and all vehicles marketed internationally as Lexus from 1989-2005 were released in Japan under the Toyota marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models later joined the division’s lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its own F marque performance division with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by the LFA supercar in 2009.

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