The Lexus brand has an interesting history that begins a rather short time ago in the mid 1980s. Built to take on the American luxury market, Toyota chose to construct a car that competed head to head with the Germans and blow the then-current slew of American luxury cars out of the water. Seen in the XCAR video above, the young brand has certainly achieved an unmatched level of success in a very short amount of time.

Launched at the 1989 LA Auto Show, the new brand and its LS400 sedan set out to conquer the States in a sort of David and Goliath story.

Toyota’s new division had a few hurdles to jump before creating a car for the U.S. market. The car had to weight less than 4,145 pounds to avoid the U.S. luxury car tax and achieve at least 25 mpg to avoid the gas guzzler tax. The company was able to achieve this with a sedan the size of a Mercedes S-Class, while being powered by a 4.0-liter V-8. No doubt impressive.

A short 11 years later in 1999, Lexus had risen ranks to become the best selling luxury brand in the U.S. The company also jumped into motorsports and launched the IS family of sedans. The brand continued to improve as sales grew even further. In 2006, Lexus received Toyota’s hybrid drive system, helping boost mpg numbers throughout the Lexus lineup.

Then in 2010, the LFA supercar changed the game again. It challenged longtime rivals BMW and Mercedes – along with new foes Ferrari and Lamborghini. It was totally new ground for Toyota’s luxury division.

Today as the LFA has faded into the history books, the brand still carries the presence of luxurious and sporty speed in nearly ever model it makes. It’s been a long time coming for Lexus, though in reality, it’s all happened in the blink of an eye.


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