In 1983, Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda summoned a secret meeting of company executives, to whom he posed the question, Can we create a luxury vehicle to challenge the world’s best?  This question prompted Toyota to embark on a top-secret project, code-named F1 (Flagship One).  The F1 project, whose finished supercar 2012 lexus lfa nurburgring package product was ultimately the Lexus LS 400, aimed to develop a flagship sedan that would expand Toyotas product line, giving it a foothold in the premium segment and offering both longtime and new customers an upmarket product.  The F1 project followed the success of the Toyota Supra sports car and the premium Toyota Cressida models.  Both the Supra and Cressida were rear-wheel drive cars with a powerful 7M-GE/7M-GTE inline-six engine. The largest sedan Toyota built at the time was the limited-production, 1960s-vintage Toyota Century, its domestic flagship and sole V8-powered model,  followed by the inline-six engined Toyota Crown premium sedan.  The Century was conservatively styled for the Japanese market, and along with the Crown not slated for export.  F1 designers targeted their new sedan at international markets and began development on a new V8 engine. 
The opportunity for Japanese manufacturers to export more expensive models had grown in the 1980s due to voluntary export restraints, negotiated by the Japanese government and U. S. trade representatives, restricting mainstream car sales.  In 1986, Honda launched its Acura marque in the U. S., influencing Toyota’s plans for a luxury division;  the initial Acura model was an export version of the Honda Legend, itself launched in Japan in 1985 as a rival to the Toyota Crown and the Nissan Cedric/Gloria.  In 1987, Nissan unveiled its plans for a premium brand, Infiniti,  and revised its flagship Nissan President sedan in standard wheelbase form for export as the Infiniti Q45, which it launched in 1990.  During this time, Mazda also considered developing an upscale marque, to be called Amati, but its plans did not come to fruition. 
Toyota researchers visited the U. S. in May 1985 to conduct focus groups and market research on luxury consumers.  During that time, several F1 designers rented a home in Laguna Beach, California to observe the lifestyles and tastes of American upper class consumers.  Toyotas market research concluded that a separate brand and sales channel were needed to present its new flagship sedan, and plans were made to develop a new network of dealerships in the U. S. market. 
 Brand development
In 1986, Toyotas longtime advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi formed a specialized unit, Team One, to handle marketing for the new premium brand.  Image consulting firm Lippincott & Margulies was hired to develop a list of 219 prospective names; Vectre, Verone, Chaparel, Calibre and Alexis were chosen as top candidates.  While Alexis quickly became the front runner, concerns were raised that the name applied to people more than cars (being associated with the Alexis Carrington character on the popular 1980s primetime drama Dynasty),  and as a result the first letter was removed and the “i” replaced with a “u” to morph the name to Lexus. 
Front quarter view of a sedan parked on a street.
The LS 600h features a grille-mounted, hybrid blue Lexus emblem.
The etymology of the Lexus name has been attributed to the combination of the words “luxury” and “elegance, “ and another theory claims it is an acronym for “luxury exports to the U. S. “ According to Team One interviews, the brand name has no specific meaning and simply denotes a luxurious and technological image.  Just prior to the release of the first vehicles, database service LexisNexis obtained a temporary injunction forbidding the name Lexus from being used as they stated it might cause confusion.  The injunction threatened to delay the division’s launch and marketing efforts.  Upon reflection, a U. S. appeals court lifted the injunction, deciding that there was little likelihood of confusion between the two products. 
The original Lexus slogan, developed after Team One representatives visited Lexus designers in Japan and noted an obsessive attention to detail, became “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. “ The Lexus logo was developed by Molly Designs and Hunter Communications.  The final design for the Lexus logo featured a stylized L within an oval, and according to Toyota, was rendered using 2012 lexus lfa v10 supercar a precise mathematical formula.  The first teaser ads featuring the Lexus name and logo, designed by Team One, appeared at the Chicago, Los angeles, and New york auto shows in 1988.