The Evolution of Lexus Design

Lexus Spindle Grille

Tokuo Fukuichi, global head of design at Lexus, revealed some brief details about the brand’s design future in a new Automotive News interview — here are some choice quotes:

“In the next model we will emphasize this [spindle] grille even more,” Fukuichi said in an interview. “You would probably remember this grille if you saw it pass on the street.”

Shifting toward the look seen in the concept’s grille is part of Fukuichi’s drive to create more memorable designs for Lexus. That will involve taking risks with designs that go beyond safe acceptance by focus groups.

“We shouldn’t always stay in the middle of the mainstream,” said Fukuichi, who has 
been global head of design at Lexus and Toyota since April 2010. “When you launch the product, it ends up with no character.”

Should they make the GS-F (and I believe they will), I have to think it will get the full LF-Gh concept spindle grille with no separating bumper — however, I’m very curious about Fukuichi-san referring to “the next model”. Is he referring to the GS-F or something else entirely? The only other existing model that could go even further with this front-end is the IS.

Fukuichi-san goes on to explain the functional component of the new face of the brand:

“The spindle grille is not just a design matter; it also has to have a good functional performance in bringing in air,” he says. “Air flow is part of the design. It’s not merely cosmetic.”

Let’s look at the evolution of the spindle grille — as writer Hans Greimel explains in the article, it started first with the HS:

Lexus HS 250h Front Grille

This served as the inspiration for the 2009 updates to both the LS hybrid & GS hybrid, and was then further evolved with the CT 200h:

Lexus CT 200h Front Grille

From there, the LF-Gh concept took the spindle grille to its most extreme:

Lexus LF-Gh Concept Grille

In fact, the lower portion of the grille is very similar to the LFA:

Lexus LFA Front Grille

The LF-Gh was transformed into the production model GS, which turned the volume down on the wild front end:

2013 Lexus GS Front Grille

Clearly, this evolution of the L-Finesse design language has been going on for some time, and now the new GS takes it to the next logical step — it’s going to be interesting seeing what comes next.

Read the full Automotive News article (Subscription may be required)