Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
#13433 of 24723 1990 LS400
Jan 16, 2006 (9:21 pm)
"In 1989 when Toyota introduced this car to America as a 1990 model, the automotive press thought it didn't have a chance against the likes of Mercedes and BMW. Toyota knew how to build great economy cars and small family sedans but this is the big league. Jokes circulated about this folly, one of which I remember on a TV drama where a car thief who specialized in stealing expensive cars pulled up with a Lexus. When his partner saw him and gave him a look, he said "it was dark, I thought it was a Mercedes." As a matter of fact, the only LS400 that I have ever known to break down was in the 1991 movie "The Grand Canyon" starring Danny Glover (a movie I otherwise highly recommend.)
Well, it took less then a year for everyone in the automotive industry to change their attitude and give this car the respect it deserved. Lexus became the standard by which other cars are judged. Only the Mercedes S Class and the BMW 7 Series could rightly claim to be better cars. But they cost $10,000 to $20,000 more than the Lexus LS400 which had a starting price of under $38,000 in 1990."
Read the whole article http://www.familycar.com/RoadTests/Lexus1stGen/Lexus1stGen.htm
#13434 of 24723 Re: 1990 LS400 [oac]
Jan 16, 2006 (10:04 pm)
There have been so many stories and in fact, many business case studies on how Toyota pulled this off starting back in 1982 or 83. The Lexus book is just one of them that gives the details. Some of the other indepedent articles heap a lot more praise on the company than anything they could write themselves. Some of the details include the design and development of the robotics that were used to build the Lexus models to the sophisticated factories and the specialization techniques used in the choosing of employees, auto parts etc that would fit the development of such a high end car. The precision used to build this car was the highest in the industry from the get go. This was a design from scratch investment and buildout of the initial car models and the planned future models, none of which were anything like Toyota had built before. The entire car design was set-up to fit the US market as the primary market and the Japanese market as a secondary. Europe was never even a thought. The reason the Lexus name wasn't used in Japan is due to local political issues and the pressures of the existing dealership network already established. Most, if not all Toyota dealers in Japan sell the high end Toyotas which came to market at the same time as the US Lexus models in a differently partitioned showroom or a different floor altogether than the more economical models. It is a cast system there and the service to the wealthier crowd mimics the difference here between Lexus service and Toyota service. The reason for the change to the Lexus name now in Japan is due to the global rollout of Lexus as a brand.
There's a synopsis, the rest can be found in many business books and articles written since 1990. I'm sure some of it found its way into college textbooks.
#13435 of 24723 ONE OF THE BEST FRONT GRILLS . . . EVER!!!!!
Jan 16, 2006 (10:40 pm)
Reading the Lexus synopsis was fine, but you should also check out the history of Mercedes Benz sometime. I'll save you the "copy/paste" and won't place it here.
On a side note, there is one little slice of Mercedes Benz that is an ICON for all time. It was (and still is, although "modernized"):
one of the most famous and fabulous FRONT GRILLS OF ALL TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#13436 of 24723 Re: 1990 LS400 [ljflx]
Jan 16, 2006 (11:45 pm)
I couldn't write the synopsis any better. Great job, Len... and thanks for helping out.
Well, Designman, between the timeline capsule and the synopsis from Len, you get the picture... The rest of the research is up to you, if indeed you'd like to know more
#13438 of 24723 Re: The big Japanese Toyota V-12 [scott1256]
Jan 17, 2006 (6:30 am)
Thank you Oac and Ljflx for that response. Ljflx, I am guessing that your mention of Lexus info in business books and college text books alludes to them as a business model.
On another note, I really like the styling of the Toyota Century and lament the fact that no company is choosing to pursue and preserve that classic look. Itís all about trying to create the future these days and the only thing they wind up with is ephemeral fashion, most of which fails miserably. What a shame. I welcome the manifest destiny of technology but we cannot throw Shakespeare, Rembrandt and Beethoven into the trash. Impossible, they are immortal. Likewise, I would like to see certain distinct elements of classic styling preserved. It would seem this should fall into the hands of HELMs first, but it isnít happening. You have no idea how disappointed I am in the styling of most cars today.
#13439 of 24723 Re: Classic designs [designman]
Jan 17, 2006 (6:58 am)
I agree with you. A car blending current technology with classic styling would find a market niche in the USA.
If Lincoln offered a modern version of their 1961-67 Continental (including the 4-door convertible) their showrooms would be busy!
#13440 of 24723 Re: The big Japanese Toyota V-12 [designman]
Jan 17, 2006 (7:54 am)
What I'd like to see, is Jag do a modern version of the XK150. It is in my opinion, the best looking Jag of all time, and one of the best looking cars ever made.
#13441 of 24723 Re: The big Japanese Toyota V-12 [lexusguy]
Jan 17, 2006 (7:58 am)
Agree. So cool. I had one of those in my Aurora slot car set circa 1960.