Lexus Celebrates 20 Years in the UK - VIDEO ENHANCED

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

EPSOM, UK - December 8, 2010: In 1990 Lexus made its debut in the UK, a new luxury brand from Toyota represented by a single model: the LS 400 saloon, powered by a distinctively smooth, refined and whisper-quiet 4.0-litre V8 engine.

Could it cut the mustard against the established European prestige marques? Could it set new standards in technology, equipment specifications and safety? And could it achieve higher customer satisfaction levels than any other brand?

Click PLAY to watch the Lexus retrospective video

Move the calendar forward to 2010 and Lexus has achieved all these feats, and more. The doubters of the ‘90s – and there were more than a few ready to dismiss an upstart luxury brand from Japan – have been proved wrong and Lexus commands respect as one of the most innovative and accomplished car makers in the world.

Today Lexus’s UK range of four mainstream models – IS, GS, RX and LS – plus the high-performance IS-F and ultra-exclusive LFA supercar, are among the most technically advanced, luxurious and sophisticated in their class. Furthermore, no automotive brand delivers better service to its customers, according to the independent annual UK customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power and Associates, in which Lexus’s status as the top ranked manufacturer has been unchallenged for the past 10 years.

In terms of powertrain technology, too, Lexus maintains its industry leadership. It introduced full hybrid power to the prestige car market with Lexus Hybrid Drive in the RX 400 in 2005 and has continuously improved the technology to deliver an unmatched combination of power, fuel efficiency and reduced emissions in new generations of the RX, GS and LS.

Lexus’s product development will enter an important new phase early in 2011 with the launch of the full hybrid CT 200h, its first model for the luxury small car segment. Although positioned as the gateway to the Lexus range, it has been designed in detail to deliver sporty ride and handling performance, combined with emissions and fuel economy benefits of the Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain.

Twenty years ago the on-the-road price for a new LS 400 was 34,625, which is the equivalent today of around 58,000. The contrast with the current top-of-the range Lexus, the full hybrid LS 600h long wheelbase limousine, is stark in almost every respect: in place of the V8 engine there is a full hybrid powertrain; the equipment specification has a wealth of significantly more sophisticated and luxurious features; and the car is designed, engineered and built to higher standards all round. .

Comparing the 1990 LS 400 and today’s LS 600hL reveals how far engineering and technology have advanced.

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