Engineered by the gram, decibel, kilometre and degree
The original LS400 set the tone for future marques with every inch compounded and created out of an unyielding determination to create the perfect car with the sole intent to inspire the perfect driving experience. Every 10 grams added to the first premium Lexus was signed off personally by the chief engineer at the time - an obsessive attention to detail that filters through each Lexus vehicle today.
The prototype was submitted to months of gruelling tests, to ensure it could offer a luxury experience under any condition. The result was a vehicle that was 2 dB quieter than its competitors - inaudible to the human ear, but deafening to the Japanese engineers. All the while, the prototypes were put through 4,7 million km of testing, equivalent to driving more than 123 times around the world.
Since then, Lexus has perfected the art of testing their vehicles reducing this process to 19 hours, 11 of which are spent are spent in the paint shop. Once out of the paint shop the cars are put under special lights where imperfections are looked for by hand. Around 10% of the vehicles are sent back through the process to ensure they meet the stringent requirements of Lexus.
Those that pass this test are assembled and exposed to a further 2.5km of quality check lines. Lexus plant workers are typically veteran technicians repeatedly appraised and ranked according to skill. Only a select group of craftspeople are eligible to work on Lexus vehicles - they are called Takumi (Japanese for master craftsmen).
During quality checks the Takumi will examine everything from the door closing speed to the sound of the sunroof sliders. With stethoscopes they listen to the sound of the engine in order to identify any irregularities. During this process around 30% of the vehicles are sent back down the line for further treatment with only the best making it to the showrooms.
As a result of its rigorous quality programme, Lexus has established itself as the automotive leader in quality, luxury and refinement as can be verified by the numerous quality awards the brand has received from the likes of JD Power and Associates.
Obsessive maybe - we refer to it as the Pursuit of Perfection.