Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
A chronological day-by-day history of Lexus.
The Toyota Motor Company Ltd, the world's largest automobile manufacturer, was founded. The marque's origins lie in the Japanese weaving industry when Sakichi Toyoda invented the world's first automatic loom and, subsequently, set up the Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Company in 1918. His invention reduced defects and increased yields since a loom stopped and would not go on producing imperfect fabric and using up thread after a problem occurred. This principle of designing equipment to stop automatically and call attention to problems immediately (jidoka) remains crucial to the Toyota Production System today. The loom impressed a British Company, the Platt Brothers, so much that, in 1929, they bought the production and sales rights for £100,000. Sakichi gave those proceeds to his son, Kiichiro, to develop automotive technology at Toyoda. This in turn led to the launch of the Company's first ever passenger car in 1936, the Model AA, and in 1937, the Toyota Motor Company was born. After World War II, Japan experienced extreme economic difficulty. Commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. The company was on the brink of bankruptcy by the end of 1949, but the company eventually obtained a loan from a consortium of banks which stipulated an independent sales operation and elimination of "excess manpower". In June 1950, the company produced only 300 trucks and was on the verge of going out of business. The management announced layoffs and wage reductions, and in response the union went on a strike that lasted two months. The strike was resolved by an agreement that included layoffs and pay reductions but also the resignation of the president at the time, Kiichiro Toyoda. Toyoda was succeeded by Taizo Ishida, who was the chief executive of the Toyoda Automatic Loom company. The first few months of the Korean War resulted in an order of over 5,000 vehicles from the US military, and the company was revived. Ishida was credited for his focus on investment in equipment. One example was the construction of the Motomachi Plant in 1959, which gave Toyota a decisive lead over Nissan during the 1960s. In 1950, a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established (which lasted until July 1982). In April 1956, the Toyopet dealer chain was established. In 1957, the Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota's American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brasil S.A., were also established. Toyota began to expand in the 1960s with a new research and development facility, a presence in Thailand was established, the 10 millionth model was produced, a Deming Prize, and partnerships with Hino Motors and Daihatsu were also established. The first Toyota built outside Japan was in April 1963, at Melbourne, Australia. From 1963 until 1965, Australia was Toyota's biggest export market. By the end of the decade, Toyota had established a worldwide presence, as the company had exported its one-millionth unit. The first Japanese vehicles to arrive in North America were five Land Cruisers in El Salvador in May 1953. The first Toyotas sent to Europe were two Toyopet Tiaras sent to Finland for evaluation in June 1962, but no sales followed.The first European importer was Erla Auto Import A/S of Denmark, who brought in 190 Crowns following a May 1963 agreement to become the distributor for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The Netherlands followed in May 1964, and after having established toeholds in countries with little or no indigenous automobile production other markets followed in 1966. In 1968 Toyota established its first European CKD assembler, Salvador Caetano I.M.V.T. of Portugal. Toyota is the world's first automobile manufacturer to produce more than 10 million vehicles per year. It did so in 2012 according to OICA, and in 2013 according to company data. As of July 2014, Toyota was the largest listed company in Japan by market capitalization (worth more than twice as much as #2-ranked SoftBank) and by revenue. Toyota is the world's market leader in sales of hybrid electric vehicles, and one of the largest companies to encourage the mass-market adoption of hybrid vehicles across the globe. Cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid passenger car models passed the 9 million milestone in April 2016.
1937 Toyota Model AAShow Article
After almost 10 years of development, the Lexus brand made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Lexus originated from a corporate project to develop a new premium sedan, code-named F1, which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch of the Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan, coupé, convertible, and SUV models. Until 2005 Lexus did not exist as a brand in its home market and all vehicles marketed internationally as Lexus from 1989-2005 were released in Japan under the Toyota marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models later joined the division's lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its own F marque performance division with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by the LFA supercar in 2009. From the start of production, Lexus vehicles have been produced in Japan, with manufacturing centered in the Chūbu and Kyūshū regions, and in particular at Toyota's Tahara, Aichi, Chūbu and Miyata, Fukuoka, Kyūshū plants. Assembly of the first Lexus built outside the country, the Ontario, Canada–produced RX 330, began in 2003. Following a corporate reorganization from 2001 to 2005, Lexus operates its own design, engineering, and manufacturing centers. Since the 2000s (decade), Lexus has increased sales outside its largest market, the United States. The division inaugurated dealerships in Japan's domestic market in 2005, becoming the first Japanese premium car marque to launch in its country of origin. The brand was introduced in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe, and other regions. The division's lineup also reflects regional differences for model and powertrain configurations.
The first Lexus was sold, launching Toyota's new luxury division. However, Lexus' story had begun six years earlier in a top secret meeting of Toyota's elite. Surrounded by the company's top-level management, Chairman Eiji Toyota proposed the company's next challenge - a luxury car that could compete with the world's best. Lexus originated from a clandestine flagship sedan project, code-named "F1" (F for "flagship," and the numeral 1 recalling the high performance of Formula 1 race cars) which began in 1983 and culminated in the launch of the original Lexus LS in 1989. Subsequently, the division added sedan, coupé, convertible, and SUV models. Until 2005 Lexus did not exist as a brand in its home market and all vehicles marketed internationally as Lexus from 1989-2005 were released in Japan under the Toyota marque and an equivalent model name. In 2005, a hybrid version of the RX crossover debuted, and additional hybrid models later joined the division's lineup. In 2007, Lexus launched its own F marque performance division with the debut of the IS F sport sedan, followed by the LFA supercar in 2009.
Lexus LS 400
Lexus made its television debut with champagne glasses stacked on the hood of a revving LS 400.Show Article
The 1990 Chicago Auto Show offered visitors a glimpse of the 1991 model Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle, successor to the Bronco II. Mazda, which shared several vehicle designs with Ford, launched a Ford-built, Explorer-like Navajo sport-utility. Also seen at the 82nd edition of the US's largest auto show was the Volkswagen Corrado. Equipped with a supercharged "G-Charger" engine, the four-passenger replacement for the Scirocco featured an "active" rear spoiler that extended automatically above 45 mph. Toyota's new Lexus luxury division launched its flagship saloon packed with just about every comfort and convenience feature, plus a 4.0-liter V-8 engine.
The Lexus LS400 was launched in the UK.
Lexus LS400Show Article
The Lexus SC400 was given its public launch at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco. And just 5 years after the brand launch, Lexus became the best selling imported luxury car in the US, beating all its European competitors.
Lexus SC400Show Article
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (TMMC) became the first automobile plant outside of Japan to manufacture the luxury brand of Lexus vehicles. The first Canadian-built Lexus RX 330, the luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV), rolled off a dedicated Lexus line at the plant in Cambridge, Ontario in view of TMMC team members, as well as Toyota executives from around the globe, and government dignitaries.Show Article
Lexus announced that it would introduce its first convertible, the SC 430 based on the Lexus Sport Coupe Concept car, which debuted at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show
Lexus SC430Show Article
The new Lexus LS430 design concept with a smooth exterior profile and supreme aerodynamic performance went on sale in the UK.Show Article
On the cover of the official 2004 Chicago Auto Show program were the door-prize Lexus SC 430 convertible and the Acura TL four-door sedan during the First Look for Charity evening event. American singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper entertained the crowds in the Mercedes-Benz exhibit during the black tie affair, which was held the evening prior to the public opening of the 96th edition of the auto show. That year, more than $2 million was raised for 16 local charities. Making their public debuts at the Chicago show were the 2005 Buick LaCrosse and '05 Mercury Montego. Dodge displayed the Ram Rumble Bee pickup, which returned for model year 2004, and the PT Cruiser lineup was expanded to include a convertible. Carroll Shelby was on hand to present the Ford Shelby Cobra concept car.
New exhibitors at the Chicago Auto Show included Chicago's own International Truck, featuring its CXT concept. Also new was a 20,000 sq.ft. exhibit by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). More than a dozen excitiy concept vehicles at the '05 show included the Ford SYNus, Jeep Hurricane, Lexus LF-A, Mercury Meta One, Chrysler Firepower, Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe and Suzuki Concept-X.
The Lexus (Luxury Edition for the United States) marque was introduced to the Japanese market.
Vehicles introduced at the opening of the Chicago Auto Show included, Bentley Continental GTC convertible, Ford Expedition, Lexus ES 350, Lincoln MKZ (formerly the Lincoln Zephyr, Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG and Volkswagen Rabbit.
The Lexus LS 460 was named World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. Other winners selected by the jury of 48 international motoring journalists from 22 countries were the Audi RS4 (World Performance Car) and Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec (World Green Car).
Lexus LS 460Show Article
A California judge ruled that the actor Mel Gibson, star of such movies as the Academy Award-winning "Braveheart" and the "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" series, had successfully completed the terms of his no-contest plea to misdemeanour drunk driving. The 50-year-old Gibson made headlines after he was stopped for speeding and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in the early morning hours of July 28, 2006, on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. The actor, who was driving a Lexus LS 430, reportedly had an open bottle of tequila on the seat next to him. A breathalyser test revealed his blood-alcohol level was above California's legal limit. Gibson is far from the only Hollywood celebrity to be involved in a drunk-driving case. In 2007, Kiefer Sutherland, the star of the hit TV show "24," pled guilty to a DUI charge in California and was sentenced to 48 days in jail.Show Article
The Toyota Motor Company announced that it had sold over 1 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles in the US under its Toyota and Lexus brands. The Prius, the world’s first mass-market hybrid car, which was launched in Japan in October 1997 and introduced in America in July 2000, led the sales.
Toyota PriusShow Article
Toyota officials formally notified Japan's Transport Ministry that it was recalling the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid. The automaker also recalled two other hybrid models in Japan, the Lexus HS250h sedan, sold in the US and Japan, and the Sai, which was sold only in Japan. The total recall amounted to 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems.Show Article
Toyota started recalling more than 90,000 luxury Lexus and Crown vehicles over defective engines.Show Article