A number of years ago, a gentleman named Lloyd Laycook wrote to Lexus to express how much he enjoyed his vehicle, an early LS 400 he purchased in 1989. At the time, Laycook ran a land-development consultancy firm in California, but his real passion was apples, which is why he also owned a large orchard about 140 miles away from his home. At least once a week Laycook drove to the orchard to work the farm, sell apples, and operate an old-fashioned cider press.
After about 10 years or so, Laycook noticed that the miles on his Lexus were significantly adding up, but that didn’t stop him from taking the vehicle on long road trips with his wife to Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon—pretty much all the American Southwest classics. The couple loved the feeling of getting in the car and just driving.
Pretty soon, the LS odometer soared past 400,000 miles, then 500,000, and finally reached more than 550,000 before Laycook bypassed his Lexus dealership’s service department and headed for the showroom, eventually purchasing a brand new LS.
And the 1989 vehicle with more than a half-million miles on it? Laycook kept the vehicle, because as he put it, that Lexus, like him, “was nowhere near retirement.”
Laycook’s driving life is unique, but his vehicle’s story is actually not so uncommon. It’s been almost three decades since those first LS 400s reached people’s driveways, soon followed by the first generations of subsequent Lexus models. Many of them still cruise the roads today with mileages far beyond 500,000. (Recently, several auto bloggers drove an early Lexus that was nearing the one-million-mile mark; the vehicle received favorable reviews.)
That fact that those first Lexus models are reaching considerable odometer levels is, of course, not surprising given that Lexus vehicles are incredibly well made. The Lexus Takumi tradition is by now well known: elite master craftsmen in an array of assembly specialties oversee teams of meticulously trained technicians with unique quality-control skills. These include upholstery-stitching specialists who must prove their dexterity by folding an origami animal with one hand in under 90 seconds; drivetrain technicians who listen to new engines with stethoscopes; and body inspectors that require components to be assembled with microscopic precision.
But extreme craftsmanship and quality control at the assembly phase are only part of the Lexus longevity story. No matter how well they’re made, even Lexus vehicles require recommended service, genuine replacement parts, and the occasional collision repair.
For Lexus vehicles to reach stratospheric odometer readings, their ongoing servicing must match the meticulous standards in the factory, and this level of expertise is of course found only at dealership service departments and other Lexus-certified facilities. Lexus Certified Technicians, for example, are elite specialists that focus only on Lexus models. Genuine Lexus replacement parts must be tested and approved by a special Lexus-certified oversight team. And all repairs at Lexus Certified Collisions Centers must meet exacting factory standards.
For longtime, single-vehicle Lexus drivers like Laycook, there’s a bond that develops between driver and vehicle over hundreds of thousands of miles. But for most Lexus drivers, their relationship with Lexus tends to span several models over many years, and that’s another type of Lexus longevity.
The common denominator? A sense of satisfaction that no matter how long you stay with a specific Lexus model, you’ve wisely chosen a quality, premium vehicle that can go the distance—thanks to both its construction and the unrivaled service expertise that comes with it.
By Brian Gill