The Lexus high-end brand was born in 1989 as Toyota’s premium alternative for European luxury cars sold in the US. The United States has always been an important arena for carmakers, and the Japanese company also wanted a piece of the premium segment pie. So they created a brand for that.
The 1989 LS 400 — which was the first Lexus model — was such a hit that American and European rivals didn't know what hit them. The story goes that five percent of the 1989 LS 400s were sold to customers employed by rival manufacturers. The cabin's panel gaps set a new norm in the automobile industry, and the LS 430's interior noise level was used as a standard by rival manufacturers.
Toyota knew how important a new model was in establishing the image of a new brand, so the LS was spotless. Also, it was a study case for a carmaker trying to reach the market's high-end.
Through its sales before Lexus, Toyota gained the image of a budget manufacturer. But things changed drastically after 1989, with Lexus proving that Toyota was a mature, multilaterally developed entity.
Lexus' lineup gained model after model, offering a Japanese premium alternative in almost every segment, from hatchbacks to SUVs/crossovers, coupés, and large sedans. And how can we forget about the fascinating 552 hp LFA supercar?
Although it was neither the fastest nor the most powerful appearance in the elitist universe of supercars, its story would make you fall in love with it. If that fails, it's enough to listen to the LFA’s V10 scream at least once to become interested in its story.
We don't know if Lexus will ever give us an LFA successor, but the mere fact that it created this supercar is enough of a proof that Lexus has grown not to be a Toyota subsidiary, but an entity of its own.