The Evolution of Lexus' Spindle Grille

Lexus GS

When I was originally introduced to Lexus' now signature spindle grille, I wondered who on the executive design team came up with the idea and (honestly) what possessed them to do so.

On what inspired the grille, I half expected an esoteric tale with descriptions of vivid dreams or visions of car-meets-knitting-meets-Predator concept boards. Instead, the story was rather straightforward: It came from a design mold fluke followed by an immediate we love it reaction from the executive team.

Recently, the good people of sat down with Lexus' chief designer, Yasuo Kajino to explain the spindle grille design in today's terms.

Lexus RC F

The explanation, is once again, quite straight forward. A decision by Lexus to stand out from the market and a purposeful move continually make the spindle even more aggressive with each new iteration.

"We have a challenge," he explained. "Lexus is a young brand and our line-up is still very small compared to those of our rivals. We need to get noticed, and the way to do that is strong design."

How does he judge what's strong, as opposed to too strong? "We ask the customers," he says. "It's true that we have been told by our bosses to be bolder and more challenging, but the most important people to listen to are our customers - and they love what they see."

I'll admit, I was one of the original criticizers, but it's grown on me quite a bit. So here's a small gallery of the spindle grille as its evolved throughout the last couple (very short) years.

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Harry Marks (Tue, 18 Feb 2014 16:51:10 -0800): For me it gets worse with time - to the point where I've reluctantly changed brands. I could not go out of my house and face that ridiculous face every day. It still looks like it devours small children. I really, really hate it.
Ted Nolenski (Wed, 19 Feb 2014 06:16:25 -0800): Design mold fluke? Designers on drugs is a better explanation - I too, do not like it at all. I'm keeping my 2010 LS (non-spindle) and hoping Lexus dumps that front 'design fluke' before I need a new LS or I'll be switching badges - I just could not live with that hideous spindle grill. I'm glad Lexus vehicles last a long time!
Michael Persiano (Mon, 12 May 2014 17:26:54 -0700): It is a radical design that apparently is dominating the Super GT class racing in Japan. If you don't like the design on this super car, don't buy it. My order for a carbon model is already in to Lexus.
Jorge Cruz (Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:48:57 -0700): What about functionality? this grille is like a parachute, it should dramatically increase the car Cd , does any one has data on the aerodynamics of this thing?