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It started a few years ago with the introduction of 10 Takumi – or master craftsmen – at our Tahara plant, where the LS flagship, along with other models, is made.
The Takumi – an ancient Japanese word that roughly translates as “artisan” – are highly respected across the entire auto industry. They are tasked with personally ensuring, by hand and eye, that the cars coming out of Tahara are built and finished to unprecedented standards. They bring another benefit: their skills have been digitised and programmed into many of the robotic functions, raising precision standards to new heights.
This development also means that the Takumi’s talents are highly transferable in mechanical form to other plants. Our Kyushu factory, where the RX is built, is one site that is benefiting in this way, while additionally developing its own elite group of technicians.
Each of the 10 Takumi at Tahara applies his skills in a dedicated area. Here is a quick overview of three of the core disciplines.
EACH CAR IS WET-SANDED BY HAND BEFORE THE APPLICATION OF THE FINAL COAT OF SELF-HEALING PAINT – THIS ENSURES THE MOST SILKY AND SMOOTH OF FINISHES.
TWO FINELY BALANCED CONCEPTS ARE CENTRAL TO OUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY AND INHERENT IN EVERY ONE OF OUR AUTOMOBILES - 'LEADING EDGE' AND 'FINESSE'.Naoaki Nunogaki, General Manager, Tokyo Design Division
The Takumi in charge here selects a sample engine and checks the condition of each part to micron level to ensure the correct sound resonance required for each model. He also personally starts every assembled engine and listens to its inner workings with a stethoscope to detect variations in sound.
Here, a master craftsman who specialises in paint application – including the fine art of wet polishing by hand to create a mirror finish – inspects the exterior finish in a range of unique lighting conditions. He uses a special lighting tunnel to examine surface flow over the entire body, comparing it with the theoretical ideals of the team’s CAD (Computer Aided Design) images. The result is a surface free of even the tiniest imperfections.
There is also a Takumi responsible for vehicle dynamics. Having perhaps the most enviable job, he test drives pre-production and production Lexus models, prototypes and competitors’ cars, constantly analysing and feeding back with ideas for refinements. This ensures the optimum in areas including ride, handling and sound.
THE CORE OF THE LEXUS DESIGN PHILOSOPHY IS TO BE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED YET HUMANISED, TO CREATE STRIKING DESIGN BUT STILL BE ARTISTIC YET UNPRETENTIOUS.Simon Humphries, Group Manager, Global Design Management Division
True to the concept of Omotenashi – the Japanese spirit of hospitality – we do more than simply meet a person’s needs and desires. We anticipate them, seamlessly. In this way, whatever is required is always right there, when it’s required– whether it’s smooth and responsive power or a discretely guiding sequence of interior lighting. It all places the customer at the centre of every Lexus experience – calm, in complete control and delighting in every moment.
At Lexus, we are continually expanding the possibilities of automotive technology and design. This gives us a challenge, however, because we believe that everything we create must be an intuitive pleasure to use and behold – regardless of any inherent complexity. This is why we reduce and cut through complexity to reveal purity of purpose and expression. The outcome is Incisive Simplicity – pure enjoyment in itself.
All Lexus vehicles have the power to catch the eye and turn heads. But they also capture and hold attention – because the more you look, the more you are drawn in to the experience. Lexus designers, in fact, speak of “visual journeys”. Broad expanses of elegant bodywork flow into intriguing detail and dynamic changes of pace. Forthright boldness of expression fuses with compellingly poised composure. There is movement and, simultaneously, there is stillness. This is Intriguing Elegance.