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The RX Factor: Two-Millionth Lexus Continues to Define Crossover SUV Segment

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MARGATE, Fla., April 6 -- The Lexus RX luxury utility vehicle just celebrated its sixth birthday, hardly enough time to earn the distinction of an automotive classic. But its continued strong sales -- number one among all luxury sport utility vehicles in the segment it created -- certainly qualify it as an automotive phenomenon.

Since its debut in March 1998, Lexus has sold 462,042 RX models, helping to push the company to the head of the luxury vehicle manufacturer class four years running. In addition, along with its GX 470 and LX 470 larger siblings, Lexus now has a commanding 28-percent share of the entire luxury SUV market.

Included in those impressive numbers is an RX 330 purchased by Steven Sandman, 40, of Boca Raton, Fla., at JM Lexus in Margate, Fla. on April 2 -- the two-millionth Lexus overall produced and sold in the United States. The RX 330 sold to Sandman was built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Inc. (TMMC), Lexus' award-winning production facility in Ontario, Canada and the company's first assembly line on North American soil.

"When we introduced the RX 300, it was precisely the right product and definitely ahead of its time," said Denny Clements, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "It was the spark for a luxury segment that is now on fire. Our initial sales estimate was 25,000 units, but customers quickly bought every one we could make. It wasn't long before we were selling 70,000 units a year."

From the start, the groundbreaking SUV has offered the best of all worlds, pairing the increased interior space and ideal ride height of an SUV with the top-drawer amenities and smooth ride of a luxury sedan. In the years since, Lexus has continually refined the concept, and in 2003 introduced the second generation RX 330 -- 6.1 inches longer and powered by a larger 3.3-liter V6 engine.

In November, Lexus will expand its luxury SUV line-up with the introduction of the RX 400h -- the world's first luxury hybrid SUV. For the first time, Lexus brings a performance dimension to the "traditional" hybrid advantages of high fuel economy and low emissions. With the RX 400h, there's no compromise between power, or luxury, or the benefits of great fuel economy and low emissions. The RX 400h delivers on all these attributes.

Simply put, the RX era has just begun.

"The original RX 300 was the template for a new kind luxury vehicle, one that many competitors are now following," said Clements. "The second- generation RX was designed to surpass its successful predecessor in every way and set a new benchmark in this segment. And the RX 400h, when it arrives in Lexus dealerships this fall, will take us even further -- comfortably ahead of the competition once again."

To celebrate its two-millionth milestone, Lexus awarded Sandman and his wife, Beth, with a 4-day, 3-night luxury golf and spa vacation to the Pebble Beach Resort in California. The couple will fly first-class from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco and have the use of a Lexus RX 330 during their stay at the resort. Stunningly beautiful, famously attentive and consistently recognized as among the finest resort in the world, the Pebble Beach Resort is located on California's dramatic central coast where Lexus is the preferred vehicle.

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