3/16/2012—Let’s go back in time and talk about the year 1999 for a minute.
A few notable things happened that year. Napster debuted. The Euro was established. The first episode of Family Guy premiered. Bill Gates’ personal fortune crossed 100 billion dollars. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace became the highest grossing Star Wars film ever.
Plus something else happened that year, quietly, in a Lexus dealership somewhere in America: 1999 was the year Lexus sold its 1 millionth U.S. vehicle.
One million Lexus vehicles. Line them all up, end to end, and you'd have a string of Lexus models stretching from Los Angeles to the Florida coast.
For a luxury brand that had released its first models only 10 years earlier, that’s quite the feat, and I’m not sure even Ichiro Suzuki, the brilliant chief engineer behind the first Lexus vehicle sold in the U.S., the 1989 LS, could have predicted how fast Lexus’ reputation for quality would take off.
But here’s what’s really significant about the number. It’s not about the 1 million cars. It’s about the drivers who bought them: really, 1999 marked the year that 1 million smart, premium-minded people recognized a good thing when they saw it—not unlike the 1-million-plus smart, premium-minded people who’ve clicked the Like button on the Lexus Facebook page.
Yep, 1999 was quite the year.
Maybe, one of these days, we’ll talk about some other noteworthy years for Lexus, like 2004.
Why 2004? That’s the year Lexus sold it 2 millionth U.S. vehicle.
—BRIAN GILL, MANAGING EDITOR