While some vehicles can trace their history back to the early 1900’s, Lexus is relatively young in that it was 1983 when a Japanese entrepreneur by the name of Eiji Toyoda, the Chairman of the Toyota Motor Company, announced their objective to build “the best car in the world.”
Toyota began a secret project code-named Flagship One (F1) with the goal of expanding Toyota’s product line, but it was a daunting task. They were told it needed to reach 250 km/h, while consuming less than 10.51 L/100km. This seemed nearly impossible, but six years and a billion dollars later, their innovative ideas, new processes and revolutionary designs created the Lexus LS 400.
In doing so, they also changed car manufacturing forever.
The LS400 was unique in the sense that it didn’t contain any of the main elements of vehicles the Toyota Motor Company had produced in the past. More than 100 designers, 1,000 engineers, and 2,000 technicians took part in developing an extremely high standard vehicle.
It paid off, as the LS400 beat out both the Mercedes-Benz 420 SE and BMW 735i as reviewed by Car and Driver Magazine in that first year. As a result, this had an adverse effect on the sales of Mercedes-Benz and BMWs in the US, where figures dropped by 29% and 19% respectively.