August 18, 2011, 4:15 PM PDT at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Akio Toyoda – President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Mark Templin – Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division
Click here for the 2013 Lexus GS 350 News Release
Good afternoon and thanks for joining us to help kick off a very exciting weekend.
We’re no strangers to Pebble Beach. It’s our seventh year partnering with the Pebble Beach Company and we’ve displayed many concept cars for more than 15 years.
But today, we’re upping the ante.
We’re here to unveil our newest luxury sedan, the all-new GS…AND we’re here to discuss a new direction for Lexus. And to talk about our brand’s future, I’d like to bring up someone who’s leading us on a very exciting new path.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of our parent company, Akio Toyoda! Akio…
Thank you, Mark. I am very happy to be here today to tell you how excited and passionate I am about the future of Lexus. Our vision is that Lexus becomes the best, not the biggest…the best, most innovative, progressive luxury brand that delights customers from all around the world!
When consumers think about the pinnacle of luxury, we want them to think Lexus. To accomplish that goal we are doing something very different, something we have never done before. In fact, Lexus is leading the way in how the entire Toyota Motor Corporation should operate.
Simply put, we have internationalized Lexus. We hand picked a team from all over the world to head up a new Global Lexus Division at TMC and have combined engineering, design, and marketing all under one unit, separate from any other group.
Working together with Lexus leaders from every major region across the globe, this group is responsible for key decisions on the, business, marketing, and future products, representing the voice of customers.
And, since I am so passionate about the future of Lexus, I wanted to be personally involved.
So, there are no extra layers, this new Division reports directly to me and I have given them autonomy over business decisions. This allows the team to react quicker to customers’ needs and desires. This internal process is unique from any other division at TMC and I am very pleased with this new direction.
Now when I said, personally involved, I meant it. My role as a team member is to make sure our cars ignite a passion and create an emotional response.
From exciting driving dynamics, leading-edge designs, a full hybrid lineup, and top of the line advanced technologies, our cars will have these special ingredients and more as part of their Lexus DNA. And yes, sometimes I drive the engineers crazy! But, it is all worth it.
The first car of the new generation Lexus, the 2013 GS shows our passion and new direction for the brand. Now, I have to be honest with you. Initially, I did not want to proceed with this project.
But all the world markets were so passionate about it and told me, in a nice way, that I was crazy! They felt strongly about this car and fought for it, and their enthusiasm for the GS really moved me. So I agreed, but on one condition.
The car had to be improved much more. It needed to be designed, engineered, and manufactured without compromise! I told our engineers that we are not moving ahead unless we do it right from the start!
And since the design of the GS was going to be seen on future Lexus vehicles, it had to be bolder, stronger, and more confident. For that, we looked to our supercar the LFA for inspiration on styling and performance cues.
As a result, the GS will be the first car to wear the new face of Lexus. Most significant is the spindle grille which has become a symbol of the full scale change taking shape at Lexus.
Now throughout the development process I personally checked on its progress including driving it at Nurburgring many, many times because I wanted to be confident in its performance capabilities.
Even this morning, I drove here in the new GS from Silicon Valley, and let me tell you, this car is amazing to drive. I had a blast! I am very happy the Global Lexus team fought me on this and that, together, we challenged the engineers to raise the bar.
Every time I drive it, I am more confident in our next generation GS. It is a great achievement!
And this is just the beginning. Next year, Lexus will launch nine new or updated vehicles. And we have many more in development.
And just like the GS my fellow Global Lexus team members and I will continue to drive our engineers crazy so that we can deliver the best products to our customers. So keep an eye on Lexus, there is a lot more to come.
And it all starts today with the GS. Let’s bring back Mark Templin so he can show you the results of our hard work. Mark…
Thank you, Akio. It’s great to have the support of our President.
It’s his personal love for cars and his desire for nothing but the best that gave us the GS I’m about to show you.
Throughout its 18-year history, the GS luxury sport sedan has been many things…
- Car and Driver named it among its “10 Best” more than once…
- Motor Trend called it “Import Car of the Year”…
- A leading consumer publication said it was a “Best Buy,”
- And at one point, it was the world’s fastest production sedan.
It’s assembled in the most award-winning manufacturing plant in the world, and has been a multiple J.D. Power Initial Quality and Vehicle Dependability Study winner, including this year.
The GS has had a positive impact on our brand, selling more than 300,000 units in the U.S. since we first brought it to market. Of those GS buyers, two-thirds were conquested from other brands.
And with the GS 450h, Lexus became the first to offer a performance hybrid powertrain on a rear-wheel-drive sedan.
Now, over the years our high levels of quality, dependability, and luxury never wavered.
We always put our customers first and provided them with unparalleled service. That will never change.
But today, customers in the mid-luxury segment want more. We listened…and took action.
With the new GS, we’re giving them what they asked for and more. It’s better in every way. See for yourselves…ladies and gentlemen, the all-new Lexus GS!
As Akio mentioned, this GS is more than just our newest offering…it represents a new beginning for the brand.
Back in April, we unveiled a concept in New York called the LF-Gh. It gave a glimpse of the future design direction of Lexus vehicles.
We turned that concept into reality, and what you see here is the first Lexus that will lead the rest of our lineup in an entirely new direction.
If the GS was truly going to be better in every way, it definitely had to look the part.
When we first showed the new GS to potential customers, they told us that the front face with its distinctive new spindle-shaped grille was what really caught their eye.
Combined with the advanced headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, and integrated fog lamps, the GS looks like it’s ready to be driven…and driven fast.
But when we approved the finished product, I loved the way the horizontal tail lamps, rear bumper, and exhaust tips brought together a wide, low stance. In fact, the wheels have been pushed out with a track that’s now two inches wider than the previous generation!
And just wait until you sit in it…the entire cabin was created around the driver and the driving experience.
Our engineers lowered the steering wheel a few degrees, got creative with a new, more supportive seat design, and developed a cockpit that provides a better field of vision and easier access to controls, putting the driver in the ideal seating position.
As much as it’s a driver’s car, GS doesn’t neglect its passengers. Engineers worked their magic and increased overall interior space, resulting in more knee, headroom and legroom, while retaining GS’ ideal exterior dimensions.
And they gave it a precise, luxury feel with an all-new dash layout making controls easy to see, 18-way power seats, and LED ambient lighting throughout.
In order to create a completely new GS from the ground up, the starting point for development began behind the wheel and on the road, not in a meeting room or on a computer.
The chief engineer and his team drove more than a million miles and talked to customers all over the world to understand what was needed to take the fourth-generation GS to a whole new level.
To confirm its sporting credentials, they drove on the Autobahn and the famous Nurburgring in Germany as well as Fuji Speedway in Japan…doing all this to make sure GS was a driver-focused car, inside and out.
We learned a lot from the ISF and LFA, and those lessons were applied directly to the GS.
Although those cars differ in price, what they do have in common is high-performance, precision and purpose.
For instance, like the LFA, the GS was designed to help direct air flow for better aerodynamics:
- Air first passes the molded head lamps,
- then skims by scalloped side mirrors,
- finally reaching fins incorporated into the side of the tail lamps.
Better air flow and less wind resistance mean a faster and quieter ride for class-leading coefficient of drag.
The same painstaking attention to detail and NO compromise that went into aerodynamics were also applied to GS’ drivetrain and chassis, which have all been re-engineered, top to bottom.
- Body rigidity has been significantly increased with more and new advanced laser welding.
- The all-new front and rear suspensions are now lighter and more responsive. They’ve been designed to enhance steering feel, improve ride comfort, reduce body roll, and increase straight-line stability.
- And the new design of the rear suspension also allows for a trunk that’s now 25% bigger!
- And it’s powered by an even better 3.5-liter engine with both port and direct injection that puts out 306 horsepower, giving it a more powerful base engine than Mercedes and BMW.
Those who want more interaction and direct feedback can use the paddle shifters to control a transmission that now has…
- Quicker shifts,
- Earlier torque converter lockup,
- And downshift throttle blips, just like the ISF.
Four driving modes, Normal, Eco, Sport S and Sport S-Plus, let you customize your driving experience, along with changes to steering weight, stability control sensitivity, and suspension damping.
Sport S-Plus mode translates into highly responsive gear shifts and enhances acceleration response.
Throw it in manual mode and you’ll really feel the shifts, blips and lockups.
The chassis, suspension, steering, and even the driver’s seating position, all bring together the most complete and precise driving experience we’ve ever offered in a sedan.
Not only will the GS will keep you connected to the road, it also offers an innovative and comprehensive range of technologies to keep you connected with the rest of the world.
With the launch of the GS we’ll be rolling out an enhanced Lexus Enform system that will allow access to commonly-used smartphone apps right at your fingertips.
- You’ll be able to check-in on Facebook, look for reviews on Yelp, buy movie tickets with Movietickets.com, or make restaurant reservations through Open Table.
- And if your satellite radio isn’t enough, you can fulfill all your music needs with iheartradio and Pandora’s personalized stations and settings.
- Can’t remember the name of a shopping center? Or wondering where to get the best sushi? Find it through Bing search or Destination Assist.
- And most of these apps can be accessed using a new conversational voice recognition system so you don’t have to remember a list of commands or take your hands off the steering wheel.
When it goes on sale, GS will offer the best music system in the market, it will have the best search functionality of any vehicle, and offer an unprecedented level of personalization.
We’ve also added a bigger, easier to read screen to fit all this information, which is why GS will offer the world’s first 12.3-inch display.
That’s wider than your iPad, and lets you view and control a variety of features on its split-wide-screen.
For example, the navigation map can stay on while you scroll through your playlist or take a call.
Along with the new screen, GS will also offer numerous features, such as:
- A new 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system that features GreenEdge speakers that are lighter, more energy-efficient, and have less distortion. The new system produces almost three times as many watts per channel over the previous generation.
- We also have a second generation of our award-winning Remote Touch system that’s even easier to use.
- And it will also have the luxury industry’s first energy-efficient airflow system called S-Flow that uses sensors in the seats to direct air to occupied areas. Under normal use, this could improve fuel economy by as much as 3%.
As for safety, which is a top priority, the GS protects its occupants with class-leading 10 airbags, available blind spot indicator, heads up display, and adaptive cruise control.
And we have…
- A new segment-first eye monitoring feature paired with the available pre-collision system. With a camera mounted on the steering column, the system can tell if you’re falling asleep and help alert you with a beep…
- There’s Lexus Night View, a new night vision system that uses infrared LED technology to detect shapes on dark roads…
- And Lane-Keep Assist to help prevent the driver from drifting out of a lane. Our system is the first in this segment to use active steering torque to help guide you back on track.
GS production will start in December with the first cars arriving in dealerships in February.
But you won't have to wait until then to get more news about the GS.
Next month, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, you’ll get to see and hear details about the hybrid model.
And in November, we’ll unveil an F Sport version at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
Most people know Lexus for our luxury, refinement and comfort. The LFA, ISF and even our CT hybrid helped us add engineering precision to that list, and the all-new GS will, too.
I can’t wait for you to drive one.
I’d like to introduce you to the man whose passion brought us this great car, the Chief Engineer for the all-new GS, Mr. Kanamori.
Kanamori-san, thank you and your team for making the GS driving experience so seamless and precise.
And I’d like to thank all our online friends who submitted their pictures and those watching us on Lexus.com and Facebook!
Now before Akio departs for another commitment I’d like to invite him back to the stage to give photographers a chance for some pictures before he leaves.
Thanks again for joining us this afternoon.