Lexus entered new territory this past April when it revealed the new NX compact luxury crossover at the Beijing Motor Show, but it wasn't until now that the Toyota luxury division actually started building them.
The first production examples started rolling off the assembly line last week at the Miyata plant in Japan, with the accompanying turbo engines built at the adjacent Kanda plant.
The arrival of the NX marks both the first time that Lexus has produced a compact crossover – an increasingly important segment for luxury automakers – and the first time Lexus has offered a turbocharged engine, one of two options alongside the hybrid version.
The NX builds on two previous competences exhibited by Toyota: one is the RAV4, which pioneered the compact crossover segment back in 1994, the other being the Lexus RX that was among the first luxury crossovers when it arrived in '97.
Lexus reports that it has already taken some 6,500 pre-orders in Japan alone, with many more coming in from markets around the world – including ours, where it is sure to be a key player for the Japanese automaker alongside the hot-selling RX. Watch the videos below to see the NX starting its production run in Japan.
The all-new Lexus "NX" breaks the mold. It's the first Lexus compact crossover SUV, and the first Lexus vehicle to offer a turbo model. Production has begun, marked by today's line-off ceremony, and soon the NX will be on its way to dealers all around the world.
Built to the highest standards
Owners can expect uncompromising quality. The Miyata Plant, where the NX is being built, won the Gold Plant Quality Award in the 2014 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM published by J.D. Power and Associates.
Production of the NX is also rejuvenating the neighboring Kanda Plant, which will be producing the turbo engines for the NX. According to Iwao Nihashi, president of Toyota Motor Kyushu (TMK), "When the Global Financial Crisis struck, we had to shut down one of our two lines. But now that we're producing the turbo engine for the NX, the line is open again and we're back to full operation."
The NX combines sporty urban driving performance with the power of an SUV. Two variants－the NX 200t, the first Lexus fitted with a turbo engine, and the NX 300h, powered by a hybrid system－both offer responsive, engaging drives and excellent environmental performance.
Describing the development of the NX, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Executive Vice President Masamoto Maekawa said: "The ideas that drove the creation of the NX didn't just come from the development team. We made 'Team NX' as broad as possible, including inputs from marketing, sales planning and production."
The NX is already attracting a lot of interest. As TMK President Nihashi noted, "People all over the world are excited about the NX. Dealers understand its potential, and they're asking us to give them as many as possible, as soon as possible... We believe the NX will sell well around the world, and that it will become a core model in the Lexus lineup."
In Japan, Lexus has already received 6,500 preorders for the NX. TMC Executive Vice President Maekawa described this as "significantly more than we originally expected. What's more, initial feedback is extremely positive."