who-owns-lexus

Who Owns Lexus? The History of Lexus In A Nutshell

Lexus is a luxury vehicle manufacturer that was founded in 1989 by then-Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda. The story of Lexus began six years earlier, however, when a team of Japanese technicians, engineers, and designers were part of a secret project to design a new luxury sedan. Toyoda believed it was the right time to manufacture such a vehicle since competitors in Nissan and Honda were already in the process of developing their respective Infiniti and Acura premium brands. The first Lexus off the production line was the LS 400 which offered world-class speed, comfort, safety, dignity, beauty, and elegance. The LS 400, like every Lexus today, is associated with exemplary customer service that embodies omotenashi, or the Japanese spirit of hospitality that seeks to seek, anticipate, and then meet the needs of each customer. In more recent years, Lexus has expanded into SUVs, hybrid vehicles, high-performance sedans, and supercars. The company sold over 760,000 vehicles in 2021 with almost 45% of sales coming from the North American market.

Lexus ownership

Toyota is the sole owner of the Lexus brand, but while Toyota is headquartered in Toyota City, Lexus has a separate Japanese headquarters in Nagoya. 

Note that the company has also been operating its own design, engineering, training, and manufacturing facilities since 2005.

This move was made to provide organizational separation between Lexus and Toyota which coincided with expansion efforts into the United States and China.

Despite the separation between the two companies, Lexus executives nevertheless report directly to the Toyota CEO.

The Lexus RX 330 became the first model to be built outside of Japan, rolling off the line in Ontario, Canada, in 2003. Today, different models tend to be manufactured across seven locations:

  1. Kitakyushu, Japan.
  2. Tahara, Japan.
  3. Toyota City, Japan.
  4. Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.
  5. Georgetown, Kentucky, USA.
  6. Susono, Japan, and 
  7. Miyawaka, Japan.

Lexus brand, design, and sales structure

In the United States, Lexus brand operations are managed by the U.S. Lexus Division in Texas, while a similar facility in Brussels is run by Lexus Europe.

In terms of design, there are two standalone facilities in Southern California and central Japan with an entire studio devoted to Lexus in Toyota City.

Sales operations also tend to differ according to the region. The organization that manages all United States dealerships, for example, is separate to Toyota headquarters with Lexus showrooms independently owned and operated.

In Japan, on the other hand, all dealerships are owned and operated by Lexus, while several markets such as the UAE differ again by utilizing third-party regional distributors.

Key takeaways:

  • Lexus is a luxury vehicle manufacturer that was founded in 1989 by then-Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda. The story of Lexus began in 1983 when a team of technicians, engineers, and designers were involved in a secret project to design a new luxury sedan.
  • Toyota is the sole owner of the Lexus brand, but while Toyota is headquartered in Toyota City, Lexus has a separate Japanese headquarters in Nagoya. The two companies made a formal separation in 2005, at which point Lexus began operating its own design, engineering, training, and manufacturing facilities.
  • The degree to which Lexus is distinct from Toyota also varies from one region to the next and is influenced by various brand, design, and sales structures.

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