• Sep 1, 2009
With apologies to the Beatles, it was 20 years ago today Toyota taught the luxury auto establishment how to play. According to a message posted to Twitter from @Toyota, today is the day we all wish Lexus a Happy 20th Anniversary. Make a wish and blow out the candles – let's all party like its 1989!

It's hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since Toyota shocked the automotive world by unleashing the Lexus LS 400. That machine was born out of a project that began in 1983 to create a flagship automobile that could challenge the best the rest of the world had to offer. Needless to say, Toyota did just that when it launched the Lexus brand six years later, establishing itself as one of the "big three" luxury automakers in the U.S. Congrats Lexus! And here's to the next twenty.


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  • 33 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I bought my 1991 LS 400 from the original owner about 12 years ago and I still get compliments on how good it still looks. I explain to" them" that at 245,000 miles it never breaks down or leak a drop of oil. I love the new LS 460 but the lines of the first generation LS 400 never dim with age it seems.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm so proud to be a 1st gen LS400 owner. My family owns 3 LS400's and an ES300. The quality of these cars is unmatched. My 93 LS has 285,000 miles and still purrs with precise perfection. No other car on the road comes close to an LS400. When i bought the car from the previous owner(dealer maintained, the lexus way is to replace it BEFORE its a problem) i asked him if it ever broke down on him he replied with a smile, "I don't know what that means." The funny thing is I don't know what that means either. :)
      Also if you know how to work on cars, this car is SO EASY to work on. And OEM Toyota/Lexus parts (made in japan) last forever and priced right if you know where to buy(online!!!!)

      I'm still seduced by newer german cars , and i will admit BMW's are a joy to drive, but i will always own a Lexus or Toyota.

      Ask any owner, we LOVE our cars.

      Congrats Lexus, here's to twenty more years of trouble free of driving.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did we miss Infiniti's 20 year anniversary? I guess Lexus had a bigger impact over the past twenty years.

      It looks like Hyundai wants to repeat history, but I'm betting most people in the US won't think of them as having "arrived" until Hyundai salesmen start kissing their asses in the showroom and start offering Sonatas during maintenance visits...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh no we didn't miss it. Infiniti celebrated their 20 years with the Essence.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus' initial onslaught was really great (the LS400). But the brand has lost some of its charm. The current car which almost defines Lexus is the ES. Not the LS, not the RX.

      The IS should be more sporty and economical to take on 3-series. It was strong value-for-money that made this brand so great, not complete isolation. Why do they not realize this?

      That being said, ES should remain a Japanese Buick.
      And go back to the original SC300 formula for the nextgen SC.
        • 5 Years Ago
        don't forget the original Lexus, besides the LS400, was the ES250. it used the exact same formula the ES does today-a rebodied Camry. it was as forgettable as the ES is today. the LS400 looks as good now as it did in '89.

        and to the person that compared Lexus's 'mission' with that of Hyundai today, you're exactly right. there was the Japanese 'invasion' of the early 70s with econocars, and then they went after the luxury market once they were established. Hyundai is on the same path today.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i c wut u did thar james!

        sneaky!

        it's almost as entertaining as "Micro$oft"

        did u c wut i did thar?
        • 5 Years Ago
        L(uxury)EX(port to the)US...Happy 20th!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @artandlight

        The point I was trying to highlight was that Lexus gained a good reputation becuase of strong products at competitive prices. The LS400 was outstanding in this respect, and ES250 was a bargain entry-level luxury car.

        For the IS, they need to cut out the dull dynamics, improve ergonomics and then challenge 3-series at a competitive price, and NOT put isolation in it.

        The SC needs much more style and guts to be seriously taken as a CL/SL/6-er kind of car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Happy anniversary Lexus. Regarding the first generation LS400 I think it is a potential future classic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think the first gen is already a classic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Happy birthday Lexus!

      Only 40 more years before you catch up to the age of your customers!

      Congrats on a great run!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lexus has perfectly positioned themselves for the buying audience that has the most disposable income of any demographic, and then designed a car around their needs and desires. Sounds like a company that's on track to me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ROFLMAO
        • 5 Years Ago
        Median age of most buyers of luxury cars are going to be in the 50's. This is the group that can be reliably be relied on to afford brand new cars....so, who cares if BMW's median is 50, and Lexus is 59? You could follow the path of crafting a VW like hip youth image, yet the sales will never materialize to mainstream like level, chiefly because at that demo, they are mainly buying newly used.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't rest on your laurels Lexus. Goodluck with the next 20.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I always like the greenish/yellow light that the LS400 had. Whatever happened to those lights that used to be so prevalent among European cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, it only took 20 years for Lexus to become the old farts car of choice. It took Buick nearly 70 years to achieve that status. I guess Toyota really does things faster than all the rest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Lexus Covenant rings true today just as it did 20 years ago:

      "Lexus will enter the most competitive,
      prestigious automobile race in the world.
      Over 50 years of Toyota automotive experience
      has culminated in the creation of Lexus cars.
      They will be the finest cars ever built.

      Lexus will win the race because
      Lexus will do it right from the start.
      Lexus will have the finest
      dealer network in the industry.

      Lexus will treat each customer
      as we would a guest in our home.

      If you think you can't, you won't...
      If you think you can, you will!
      We can, we will."

      Great quality, great (& profitable) dealer network and great customer service. Happy 20th Lexus!
      • 5 Years Ago
      We can't really say that Hyundai will become the next Toyota that easily.

      VW's Phaeton was way ahead of its time (and still is imo) and we all know how that turned out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hyundai isn't pricing the Genesis or the Equus anywhere near the $60-100k that the Phaeton was sold at. Hyundai does have a chance due to they're following Toyota's example of pricing the original Lexus at competitive prices.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still have a soft spot for the first generation LS400.

      It exuded quality and craftsmanship that no other car in any price range offered at the time.

      These days, my neighbors mutt has a 3-series. But 20 years ago, a LS400 was a treat.

      The soft plump curves and the bold tail lights.

      The first gen LS is still by far the best LS. Subsequent versions have been just a bad copy of the original, one after another.
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