Lexus

Lexus

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of Toyota, introduced first as a luxury brand for the U.S. market in 1989 and eventually going global. Lexus cars are now sold in over 70 countries.

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Operations for Lexus are centered in Torrance, California, Brussels, Belgium and the company's headquarters is in Nagoya, Japan. Lexus operates seven assembly plants globally, including the Cambridge plant in Ontario, Canada. Total Lexus vehicle sales in the United States were about 200,000 in 2011, making the brand one of the largest luxury brands in the country.

Today, Lexus produces sedans, coupes, and crossovers in the premium vehicle market and has recently made waves with its introduction of sports cars, but the marquee's first appeareance in the U.S. was more dramatic than that. A television ad in 1989 featured the brand's first car, the LS 400, revving its engine while a stack of champaign glasses on its hood shimmered. That car won instant acclaim from automotive journalists and the brand was off. A recall later that year did more to prove the brand's premium marque than hurt it, when Lexus sent technicians directly to LS 400 owners to commit repairs rather than require a trip to the dealership.

Since then, Lexus has grown to become the fourth-largest premium car make by sales volume globally and has been the number-one selling luxury carmaker in the United States for a decade. The brand's models are denoted by two-letter designations followed by three numbers and sometimes a suffix lower-case letter. The first two letters note the car's body style (e.g. LS meaning "luxury sedan") and the three numbers indicating engine displacement in liters times one hundred (e.g. 3.5L engine becomes 350). The exception to this is hybrids, for which the numbers indicate total combined gasoline-electric output while the lower-case suffix letter denotes power plant type (e.g. 'h' for hybrid, 'd' for diesel). An upper- case suffix letter denotes subtype in the class (e.g. long-wheelbase is "L").

Although most well-known for its luxury cars and sport utilities, Lexus has also won fame with its winning entries in motorsport, including the Grand-Am and Rolex Sports Car series. Lexus also sponsors sporting and charity events such as golf's U.S. Open, Women's Open, and Senior Open and the U.S. Amateur tournaments in golf. This includes the Champions for Charity golf series the brand founded in 1989.