Lexus is a brand name used by the Toyota Motor Corporation for such export markets as North America, Middle East, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Oceania, for luxury automobiles.
The name has been attributed to the combination of the words "luxury" and "elegance"; a derivation from 'luxury exports to the US', or to Alexis.
When Toyota Motor was trying to name its new luxury brand in the mid-1980s, it was kicking around names like Celsius and Alexis. When someone on the team heard the "Alexis" proposal, the person didn't hear a woman's name but "a Lexus" instead. It stuck, but not before a battle with LexisNexis, the research company that is now a Reed Elsevier division.
The Lexus marque was launched in the United States in 1989, followed by the UK and Australia in 1990. The marque was finally introduced to the Japanese market on July 26, 2005. The compact IS 250\IS 350, convertible SC 430, and midsize GS 350/GS 430 will all be available in Japan in the 2006 model year.
In some countries, like New Zealand and the UK, where there is a market in grey imports of Japanese cars, some equivalent Toyota models have been retro-fitted with Lexus badges, although they still differ from officially imported Lexus models.
Lexus is now known to be one of the finest three automobile makers in the world, sharing its spotlight only with Mercedes Benz and BMW. Mercedes takes credit for styling, BMW for performance, while Lexus sets the paramount for luxury, service, and reliability. Nothing compares to a lexus automobile.
Lexus was inspired by the success of the ultra sporty Toyota Supra and the luxury Toyota Cressida models. Both the Supra and Cressida were rear wheel drive cars with a powerful (7M-GE/7M-GTE) type engine.
The first Lexus-branded models, the V-8 powered LS 400 and the smaller, Toyota Camry-based ES 250, appeared in 1989. The similarity of the name Lexus - as well as the fact they shared a common market (wealthy lawyers) - provoked an unsuccessful lawsuit from the owners of the LexisNexis database service.
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