We remember seeing the rendering of the first Lexus LS400 in the newspaper. It looked sleek and futuristic, as renderings often do. When the first Sacramento Lexus dealership opened in Sacramento, we said to mom, "I'm gonna go look at a Lexus." She was worried that we were off to go ogle some chick named Alexis. "No, Mum, it's Toyota's new luxury car." We hopped on our bike rode up to the dealership, and were summarily underwhelmed. And frankly, we've been underwhelmed ever since. Conversely, we've been whelmed by Acuras and Infinitis.
Then again, we'll admit that we've always been partial to Hondas and Nissans over Toyotas (except for the 2000GT and early Celica GT). BidnessWeek's got a short history of Japanese luxo-marques that's a great reminder of how fast the auto industry can change. We're in flux right now. It'll be interesting to see who's got the future-catching capacitor that'll be able to issue the next predictive charge/change in American motoring tastes.
A Short History of Japanese Luxury Cars [BusinessWeek]
Woodrow Wilson's Rolls First Over New Woodrow Wilson Bridge [Internal]