The Lexus LS Chronology
- Fall 1984
The "F1" project is well underway. "F1" is Toyota's code for flagship luxury car of the highest order. Shoiji Jimbo and Ichiro Suzuki head a large engineering team to develop this ultra-important new car.
- May 1985
Lexus conducts its first study of the American market with a team headed by Jimbo attending focus groups and interviewing dealers in major markets. A separate five-person team moves to Laguna Beach, Calif. to study lifestyles and integrate design concepts suited for American customers.
- July 1985
The first of 450 running prototypes is built, representing the work of 60 designers, 24 engineering teams, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians and 220 support workers.
- May 1986
Tests are conducted on the Autobahn in Germany.
- September 1986
Ten months of extensive evaluation on American roads begins, resulting in numerous improvements in line with the U.S. environment and customer needs.
- May 1987
The final design of the F1 is approved after eight previous presentations to management - far more than customary.
- August 1988
Roger Penske, the renowned racing team owner and soon-to-be Lexus dealer, goes to Japan to test-drive the F1.
- November 1988
The F1 is designated the LS 400, "LS" meaning Luxury Sedan, and "400" for the 4.0-liter V8 engine.
- January 1989
The LS 400 makes its American debut at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and the Los Angeles Auto Show.
- May 1989
The first production LS 400 rolls off the assembly line at Lexus' Tahara plant in Japan.
- September 1989
The LS 400 goes on sale to the public and is very well received. In the first month 2,919 LS 400s are sold.
- December 1989
Lexus initiates a special service campaign. Although aware of only one consumer contact regarding a cruise control malfunction and several complaints of stoplight housing distortion, Lexus elects to recall all 8,000 LS 400s sold to check items. Dealers contact owners individually and quickly make repairs. Rather than being viewed negatively, Lexus is credited with setting a new standard in personalized service.
- September 1992
A "freshened" LS 400 debuts with more than 50 changes, many as a direct response to dealer and customer requests.
- November 1994
Completely redesigned second generation 1995 LS 400 goes on sale.
- March 1997
Lexus and Coach, the renowned manufacturer of distinguished leather products, announce the production of a distinctive limited edition LS 400 sedan.
- September 1997
Lexus introduces a redesigned LS 400 featuring Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVTi) engine for higher performance, dozens of additional features and freshened styling. Despite the numerous upgrades the LS price remains the same as the previous year, enhancing its overall value.
- January 2000
Lexus unveils the 2001 LS 430 flagship sedan at the NAIAS in Detroit.
- October 2000
The LS 430, the third generation Lexus flagship sedan, goes on sale. In addition to upgrading its V8 to 4.3 liters, the new vehicle sets a new benchmark for luxury and technology. Features include Intuitive Park Assist, Dynamic Laser Cruise Control, heated/cooled front seats and a beverage cooler between the two rear seats. The 2001 LS 430 also offered a Mark Levinson sound system, which made Lexus the first and only automaker to offer an OEM mobile audio system designed by Levinson.
- September 2003
The LS 430 debuts as a thoroughly revised model for 2004, with exterior restyling, a new 6-speed automatic transmission, and additional safety and luxury features. The three generations of Lexus LS sedans have garnered more awards for quality than any other luxury car and have won the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study every year that they have been eligible.
Awards and Recognition
- January 1990
The LS 400 finishes first in all categories, including overall satisfaction, in Car & Driver's 1990 New Car Buyers study.
- February 1990
Motoring Press Association names LS 400 "Best Imported Car of the Year."
- March 1990
The LS 400 is awarded the "Best Luxury Car" title in MotorWeek's Drivers' Choice Awards.
- July 1990
In J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS), the LS 400 ranks fourth overall and second in its segment during its first year of eligibility.
- May 1992
LS 400 is named the most problem-free vehicle in J.D. Power and Associates IQS.
- June 1992
LS 400 tops J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), which gauges satisfaction after one year of ownership.
- December 1992
Personal Finance lists the LS 400 as the best buy in the $30,000+ category.
- March 1993
American Automobile Association (AAA) names the LS 400 as the best 1993 model in its price range.
- March 1993
Consumer Reports calls the LS 400 "Benchmark of Quality."
- May 1993
Lexus sweeps the J.D. Power and Associates IQS with the LS 400 and SC 400/300 finishing first and second, respectively, with the fewest reported problems. Lexus was once again the top nameplate in the study.
- June 1993
Robb Report names LS 400 the "Best Import Car for 1993."
- February 1994
LS 400 is named "Best Overall Value of the Year" in the over $40,000 luxury class by IntelliChoice.
- May 1994
LS 400 tops the J.D. Power and Associates IQS again with an astoundingly low 32 problems per 100 vehicles.
- December 1994
The all-new LS 400 is designated "The Best of What's New" by Popular Science.
- January 1995
Lexus LS 400 receives Popular Mechanics' "1995 Design & Engineering Award."
- March 1995
In J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Index (VDI_, the LS 400 registers the fewest problems of all individual vehicles in the last 12 months after five years of ownership.
- May 1995
Strategic Vision, a consulting and research firm measuring how consumers rate their cars in terms of least troublesome and most pleasurable ownership experiences, finds the LS 400 to be the "Best of the Best" in the import luxury car category.
- June 1996
Toyota Motor Corporation's Tahara plant, which builds the Lexus LS 400, captures the J.D. Power and Associates "Gold Plant Award" among Asian manufacturing facilities.
- February 1997
IntelliChoice names the LS 400 the "Best Overall Value" in the Luxury Car class.
- April 1997
The LS 400 sedan is ranked No. 1 in the Luxury segment of the J.D. Power and Associates IQS. The LS also records the highest score among all cars and trucks in the study.
- June 1998
The LS 400 again tops the Premium Luxury Car segment in J.D. Power and Associates' IQS. The LS earns the best score of any vehicle in the study, an honor it has achieved in five out of six years.
- September 1998
LS 400 earns the title of Most Appealing Premium Luxury Car in the J.D. Power and Associates APEAL Study.
- May 1999
The LS 400 receives top honors in the revised J.D. Power and Associates IQS.
- May 2000
Once again the LS 400 comes out on top in J.D. Power and Associates IQS.
- September 2000
Lexus LS 430 receives the 2001 Design & Engineering Award from Popular Mechanics.
- February 2001
Automobile Magazine names the LS 430 an "All Star" in the Best Luxury Sedan Over $40,000 category.
- April 2001
Consumer Guide names LS 430 a "Best Buy."
- May 2001
Yet another top ranking for the LS 430 in the J.D. Power and Associates IQS with the fewest problems of any vehicle on the market.
- October 2001
LS 430 is named "Most Appealing Premium Luxury Sedan" in J.D. Power and Associates APEAL study.
- January 2002
Edmunds.com names LS 430 "Editors' Most Wanted Vehicles - Large Sedan Under $55,000."
- March 2002
LS 430 named "Finest Luxury Sedan in America" by Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc. (AMCI).
- April 2002
LS 430 named "Top Performer in Premium Luxury" car segment by the AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Score (VSS).
- May 2002
The LS 430 is the highest-ranked vehicle overall, as well as first in its segment, for the sixth consecutive year in J.D. Power and Associates IQS. Power also awarded the LS 430's manufacturing facility, the Tahara Plant in Japan, the Worldwide Platinum Plant Award. For the fourth year in a row, the Platinum Plant Award has been given to a Lexus factory.
- October 2002
Edmunds.com names LS 430 "Consumers' Most Wanted Vehicles - Large Sedan Under $55,000."
- November 2002
LS 400 is the highest ranked vehicle in the Premium Luxury Car segment in the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Index.
- January 2003
LS 430 is named "2002 Prestige Luxury Car" in R.L. Polk & Co. Automotive Awards.
- February 2003
LS 430 awarded the Automotive Market Environmental Superiority (AMES) award in the Premium and Luxury Car category. The AMES awards were created to help encourage customers to purchase AMES awarded vehicles to assist in the reduction of fuel consumption and emission of greenhouse gases.
- May 2003
For the seventh consecutive year, the LS 430 ranked first in the 2003 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS). On the manufacturing side, J. D. Power also awarded the LS 430's manufacturing facility, the Tahara Plant in Japan, the worldwide Platinum Plant Award for the second consecutive year.
- July 2003
The LS 430 is the highest-ranked vehicle in the Most Dependable Premium Luxury Vehicle category of the 2003 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), for the ninth consecutive year.
- October 2003
The LS 430 is the highest ranked vehicle in the Premium Luxury Car segment of 2003 J.D. Power and Associates Automotive Performance Execution And Layout (APEAL) study, and received the highest score of any model surveyed. Since 2001, the LS 430 has been the highest-ranking model in APEAL.
- February 2004
The LS 430 is named IntelliChoice's "Best Overall Value" in the Luxury Car segment.
- May 2004
AutoPacific announces the 2004 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA). The LS 430 registered highest overall satisfaction for a fifth consecutive year.
- June 2004
The LS 430 ranks first in the Premium Luxury Car category of the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Initial Quality Study.
- June 2004
LS 430 had the second fewest problems of any vehicle in the J.D. Power and Associates.
Notes: From the Toyota/Lexus Pressroom.