Changes Ahead

As the pace of Lexus’ design evolution quickens, Head of Lexus Kiyotaka Ise tells Lexus owners what to expect in the next 14 months.

Progress relies on change. Without evolution, nothing would improve. So it’s natural that Lexus, always striving to perfect its unique approach to luxury, is changing. But this time, the changes are happening faster and are more apparent.

At their heart lies a greater emphasis on a harder-edged kind of driving pleasure—an evolutionary path trodden by the latest GS sedan, the LFA supercar, and, most recently, the LF-LC coupe concept. Many more will follow. So what, precisely, does this new era herald? Head of Lexus Kiyotaka Ise has a few answers:

LEXUS: We’ve seen some dramatic changes to Lexus vehicle design in the last 12 months. But how would you say Lexus is changing?

Ise: We want to move towards “progressive luxury.” We are aiming to make Lexus cars even more advanced in their use of technology—and their design will show this.

How will that be reflected in their design?

We were more into “elegant” in the past. Now we’re adding greater visual presence to that elegance. You should be able to identify a car as a Lexus immediately, but, until recently, this aspect has been a little lacking. Now that’s changing. Instant visual recognition, for example, is the reason behind our spindle grille—a prominent feature of the new GS, LX, and LF-LC coupe concept.

Would you say the spindle grille is a symbol of Lexus’ desire to project performance and aggression?

It may look aggressive at first glance—that’s intentional—but it also conveys its boldness with sophistication and elegance. These sentiments reflect how Lexus is evolving. Every new Lexus model will feature a spindle grille—it will be a visual embodiment of the shared values between all Lexus cars—but each model will have its own interpretation to reflect that model’s individuality.

Likewise, they will share sharper body language and a stance that conveys their driver-orientated focus. But each model will express its distinctive personality through details, such as the treatment of the front and rear lights. Expect significant developments where the headlamps are concerned.

You mentioned shared values between all Lexus cars. Which of those values are gaining increased prominence?

I’ve touched on the greater instant recognition and design excitement. We’ll also be concentrating on emotional driving pleasure and advanced technology. The intention is to make the driver and car feel as one. A supercar like the LFA or a coupe like the LF-LC concept will take this to a more extreme level, but all Lexus models will share the ability to reward their driver. The new GS is an example of that. It’s spacious, practical, refined, luxurious—yet it feels sharp and agile on a mountain road. Also, hybrids will remain a core feature for us.

When will we see this evolution in action?

It has started already with the LFA, new GS, and LF-LC concept. During the next 14 months, there will be significant changes several models—either new cars or revisions to existing ones.

Do you think Lexus owners will like the changes?

We sincerely hope so. They are our primary motivation. If customers appreciate a car, then it’s a good car. If they don’t, it isn’t. Our customers determine whether or not it’s good. We also strive to offer something beyond their expectations—the first generation of LS and RX are good examples—and we have more innovations in the pipeline.

We’ll be offering customers greater opportunity to personalize their new cars, too. So there are two factors: creating something new by innovating and drawing from our deep well of customer feedback to improve existing models. But ultimately, the customer is the real decision maker. For us, that will never change.