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How Did Toyota Create the Lexus?

Takagi Haruo

The biggest message that this book wants to convey is "from Japan to the world." Toyota, as Japan's leading global company, will send its  Lexus to the world as a demonstration of the value of Japan, Japanese culture, and the goodness of Japanese products. Regarding this spirit of From Japan to the World, I described how the Lexus was developed and marketed, and what kind of organization and leadership made it possible. All information is based on direct interviews with Toyota and its affiliated companies.

Japanese companies (many of which are manufacturing companies) that develop global businesses provide high-quality products to people all over the world. Toyota also falls into this category. However, although the product is excellent as a product and as a mechanical device, people around the world do not directly see the value of Japan, the culture of Japan, and the goodness of Japanese products. On the other hand, people who buy luxury brands from other countries can sense the culture and goodness of the country through that products. Toyota has taken on the challenge of incorporating the essence of Japanese culture into global premium brand automobiles in the extremely general-purpose product business of automobiles. Wealthy customers around the world buy the Lexus, a luxury brand car from Japan. The Lexus was a completely new business development for a general-purpose automobile manufacturer. How did Toyota develop and market the essence of Japanese culture into this product? This is the first meaning of "from Japan to the world".

The second meaning of "from Japan to the world" can be found in Toyota's organization and leadership that enabled its development and marketing activities. Toyota is a very Japanese company, but it is also a leading company in the world. In Toyota's DNA, there is a way to create, operate, and demonstrate leadership as a world-class organization. By studying the case of the Lexus, we will clarify Toyota's organizational capabilities.