Lexus is a luxury car brand that is a spinoff of Toyota motors. Although it's a part of the Toyota family, the brand maintains its distinctness and operates somewhat independently of the parent company. The Lexus design teams have gone out of their way to create distinctions that set Lexus vehicles apart from other luxury cars in the industry. One of these distinct features is the grill. What makes a Lexus car grill different from other car grills? Read on to find out.
The Spindle Grille
To understand that Lexus grills are different from other car grills, all you need to do is look at the spindle grille on any of its models from 2012 forward. This is a uniquely large design that was trademarked by Lexus in 2012. Few brands offer such intricacy in design for the front end of a car. This is the same grille that has been used on all Lexus vehicles. It now serves as a signature feature of the Lexus brand. It's one of the most unique features that has ever been used to grace the exterior of a vehicle, but the design comes with a set of pros and cons.
Mixed reviews for the spindle grille
Auto Blog reports that there are Lexus owners who didn't give the unique spindle grille design a second thought, while others had critical feedback on the aesthetics. While some love the large and ornate design, some others have compared it to a what eating krill in the ocean, or something out of a "Predator" film. Some loved the look of the grille and they were happy with it, but in the end, it was a mixed bag of reviews. Even with the complaints lodged about its looks, The head of Lexus, Toyota's chief designer Tokuo Fukuichi defended the spindle design. He claimed that it fulfilled its goal of giving the Lexus vehicles a sexy appeal, and he promptly dismissed the complaints. Even stockholders got in on the debate at a 2012 meeting of Toyota stockholders and some of them complained about the spindle grille, but it remained a part of the exterior aesthetic despite the negative comments. Was the head of Lexus correct about his assumption that the Lexus spindle grille drew in more customers than it turned away?**
The history behind the spindle grille
Auto Evolution provides us with a look into the history of the development of the spindle grille and why the powers that be at Lexus were so adamant about keeping it despite a bit of controversy over its appearance. Chief designer Yasuo Kajino of Lexus explained that Lexus was facing a challenge at the time that the grille was developed. They were up against some stiff competition in the luxury automobile market. There was a need to establish distinctions that set Lexus apart from the rest of the luxury cars that were in direct competition. They were going for different, and that is precisely what the spindle grille design delivered. Lexus is still a fairly young brand in the industry and it's still working hard to establish itself in a large niche market where different is usually perceived as a good thing. They were going for a design that was bold and would make people take notice from a glance. Whether it's a design that you favor or abhor, it's a feature that draws visual attention and makes onlookers take a second glance at a minimum. Lexus was trying to get away from reliance on aesthetics that were glaringly obvious as restyled Toyotas. They needed something that would give their vehicles eye appeal to add distinction and offer a signature feature that would become a dependable trait through the years. The decision to implement the use of the spindle grille design was made and now that it's been around for more than 8 years, it's not one that they're likely to go back on despite those who don't find it particularly appealing. At the time that the grille was chosen, it was taken from the Lexus LFA V10 supercar which was one of the best looking vehicles in the lineup. They chose to apply the spindle grille to the entire lineup of Lexus vehicles, and that is how the story goes.
You're either hot or cold
According to Lexus Enthusiast.com, there's a lot more to the decision to stick to the spindle design. From a marketing perspective, it's not such a big deal that some people love the grille and that others hate it. This can actually be a good thing. It serves to spit opinion so those that love the Lexus aesthetic will be purists, while some will hate it. There really aren't going to be that many consumers that are lukewarm about it.
Lexus chose the spindle grille design in an attempt to reinvent itself when it comes to the exterior aesthetic. From what we can tell, we must agree that the mission has been accomplished. Although they took a big gamble by going against the flow and hanging onto the original spindle design, so far, it's paid off. Lexus isn't the only automaker with complaints lodged against a particular component, nor will it be the last. The purpose of the unique and bold spindle grille is to draw attention to the luxury brand and to serve as a signature feature that makes it stand out from all of the other luxury cars in its niche. While some drivers are more concerned about the quality of build, the performance on the road, and the interior comforts of a vehicle, there will be those that pick the looks apart down to the smallest detail. This doesn't seem to be a concern for Lexus because it's already rated as one of the most dependable vehicles on the road today.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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