Back in the early 1980s, executives in the American automotive industry would have probably laughed at you if you told them the Japanese were on the cusp of becoming the key player in the luxury segment. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened. In 1983, Toyota began secretly laying the groundwork to start a luxury brand to compete in the American market. They determined that, if they were to be a serious contender, they’d have to offer the same power and amenities that American luxury cars were famous for. The result was the Lexus LS 400. But did you know that Lexus almost had another name? The agency assigned to come up with the branding for the new luxury division of Toyota floated possible monikers such as Verone, Vectre, Calibre and Alexis. Toyota jumped at the last name, changing it from Alexis to Lexus, and thus the brand was born.

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