Lexus is a luxury division of Toyota where Lexus a vast variety of models in its lineup. The Lexus LS is one such full-size luxury sedan that is often taken as the flagship model of Lexus. Since its first appearance, it has now entered into its fourth generation all of which powered by V8 engines and also rear-wheel drive. However, after 2006, it has been offered in all-wheel drive as well as hybrid and long-wheelbase variants. In 1989, the first Lexus LS 400 was released as the premium marque. The second generation model appeared in 1995 with slight redesigning. The third generation model, LS 430 released in 2001. The fourth generation model series, LS 460/LS 460 L series was launched in 2006.
Until the launch of Lexus marque in Japan around 2006, the versions (LS 400 and LS 430) sold in the domestic market were badged as Toyota Celsior. The fourth generation model LS 460 was introduced for the first time with eight-speed automatic transmission and also an automatic parking system. The LS 600h/LS 600h L sedans also received a V8 hybrid powertrains in 2007.
In 1983, the formal work on the development of Lexus LS started. Initially, the project was codenamed as F1 project (a secret project to develop flagship sedan). It took almost five years at a cost of more than US$1 billion to come up with a final sedan that was appeared for the first time with all its luxury features and V8 engine. From the very beginning, the Lexus LS was aimed to target the international market. For this reason, a special Lexus division was created to sell and service the car in international market. The original LS 400 was a big hit and aptly accountable for the successful release of the Lexus marque. In the United States, all the succeeding generations of the LS held the best-selling flagship sedan title.
The Lexus LS has been produced in the plant located at Tahara city, Aichi, Japan since the first production unit. Lexus is one of the best-selling vehicles in United States for its reliability and longevity. According to US consumer publications, Lexus’ flagship model ranked as the most reliable and unswerving vehicle ever built for the fact of holding the top place in J.D. Power and Associates’ U.S. Vehicle Dependability Survey for fifteen consecutive years, from 1994 to 2009. The vehicle also received top rankings in Consumer Reports for being a most dependable vehicle.
Sales and Production
United States is the largest market for Lexus LS and the vehicle remained as the best-selling flagship luxury sedan for 15 years following its 17 years debut. After United States, Japan is the second largest market for the Lexus LS. In 2007, LS 460 was revealed in Japan that received 12,000 pre-orders for the car.
Despite of remarkable success in US and Japanese Domestic market, Lexus failed to do well in European market, perhaps because of the less-developed dealership network and unfamiliarity with the brand name. For instance, the Lexus remained behind the Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW in Czech Republic. However, the Lexus LS managed to perform well in the markets other than Europe as it is placed next to Mercedes-Benz S-Class in South Africa.