Lexus Manufacturing Master of Paint

Lexus Kimihiro Sakakibara

Lexus Magazine has published a fascinating article on Kimihiro Sakakibara, one of the 10 Lexus Takumi Masters that oversee factory production:

For anyone still unfamiliar with the term, Lexus Takumi are the automotive equivalent of a 10th Dan black belt. Each of the ten Takumi specializes in a key area of the vehicle—and each commands enormous respect in the Japanese auto world.

Sakakibara’s specialty is paint, specifically that multilayer, high-tech, deep-luster finish of a Lexus that requires a combination of art and high science to make perfect.

It’s tough, but that’s how it’s supposed to be, says Sakakibara. Much of the Lexus paint process is a hands-on affair, with all the human attention to detail that entails. “I still haven’t forgotten about the important basic stance that I learned for applying the topcoat with a spray gun years ago,” Sakakibara says. “I was patiently trained to get my posture right. As a result, I was soon able to spray without any dripping or transparency.”

So what’s the benchmark he’s always enforcing—the success as he and Lexus define it? “The more your Lexus looks like a mirror, the better the quality,” explains Sakakibara. “But the fundamental success of the process depends on our workers’ intuition. We’re lucky at Lexus in being able to follow this ‘handmade’ approach. I want that to continue and develop.”

The level of detail and work needed to produce a Lexus-quality paint finish is staggering, be sure to watch the the great video of Sakakibara-san demonstrating his sanding technique for a window into the process.

[Source: Lexus Magazine]


  1. The LS 460 and LX 570 have AMAZING paintjobs! I love seeing them in colors other than white and silver in an environment full of trees, buildings, and great lighting. So beautiful... the reflections and all.
  2. My GS has a very mirror like finish, and I didnt even wax it. I love Lexus paint,now I know why it look so good.
  3. Lexus has the best paint jobs around...great colors, good quality has a great shine to them. But they look very delicate and easy to ruin. Theres a Red that the IS350 comes in... gorgeous and there a light purple or pearl kind of paint the ES comes in thats really nice.
    • You're right about it being easy to ruin. I have a 07 ES350. The paint is the royal ruby metallic and it is beautiful. It cannot be matched in terms of beauty and richness but I swear ever time i wash it, it see a new scratch
  4. RDS

    I like the paint of Lexus except some White . I think the White on LFA is the only White that I like .
  5. I love the "Glacier Frost Mica" on my IS. It sparkles and changes color at different angles. My neighbor thought I had some special paint job done to my car. I have Lexus for almost 3 years, and I haven't wax it yet. Still look beautiful.
  6. Fascinating bit of information. However, can't believe that every Lexus is hand sanded as shown in the magazine's video segment.
  7. @willie: Yeah. I thought it was just the LS and LX. I haven't seen many other Lexus vehicles with the same paintjob effect as the LS and LX.
  8. willie wrote:Fascinating bit of information. However, can’t believe that every Lexus is hand sanded as shown in the magazine’s video segment.
    I know the LS is hand sanded, and I believe the LX is as well -- not sure about the other models. Let me find out. :)
  9. LEXUS advertises the LS as being hand sanded (as well as having a "takumi" hand buff the steering wheel leather). The LX is not mentioned. The problem with Lexus is that the paint jobs are exceptional on the LS, and other expensive models. The RX paint process is actually quite impressive. I have seen videos of the process and it is exhausting. The lower priced models have POOR paint jobs. My 2009 IS250 has RUST already. In the past, that would never have happened. The main problem is the colors they produce and decisions being made. Someone mentioned the pinkish-silver ES350 color, Moonshell Mica (paint code 3R4). This color is so feminine and "Mary Kay Cosmetic" looking that many dealers asked NOT to recieve cars in that color. The same could be said with Desert Sage (6U7?) and Amber Pearl, Verdigris Mica,Peridot Mica, etc. They were HORRID colors. Then you have colors like Truffle Mica (4T5), Royal Ruby (3R5) and Black Sapphire (8U0), Bamboo Pearl (6T1) were VERY popular and were discontinued. Some of their decisions are Baffling!
  10. @lexusjoe: funny... I read it somewhere, but I can't find the article anymore. Also, I swear I saw it on before. I agree, though, that the IS doesn't have that nice of a finish. Lexus paints altogether are extremely vulnerable towards swirlmarks and other blemishes.
  11. Lexusjoe "The lower priced models have POOR paint jobs. My 2009 IS250 has RUST already. In the past, that would never have happened..." in reality EVERY factory produced cars gets dipped in an electrodisposition primer (Ecoat) as corrosion protection before any engine or interior parts are added. Porsche pioneered corrosion protection in the early 70s. So your car has had repairs done to it before you bought it and corrosion protection was not applied or performed. Even new cars with 1000$ of work or less can be sold as new. It's all the same paint being applied exactly the same as a kia or Honda just lexus wetsands and buffs everything. I work at a body shop and I spray every car the same and buff the nice ones just like lexus.