17 years after it was first launched
The Lexus IS reached a significant milestone at the end of July, when the millionth example rolled off the production line.
Power initially came from a 2.0-litre, straight-six engine making 150 horsepower, while a 3.0-litre motor was added later as well as the SportCross wagon - so far, the only wagon Lexus has built (which was never available in Canada). It was a genuinely credible rival to the German opposition and firmly established Lexus in the sector. But its biggest contribution to the automotive world, oddly, was its rear lights.
They featured jewel-like lamp units in a chrome-effect housing with a clear cover. The style was immediately adopted by makers of aftermarket light units and became immensely popular on the tuning scene. Other automakers copied it, as well. The fashion has passed now, but you still see them around.
The second generation IS was launched in 2004. A diesel engine was added to the range in some markets - a Lexus first - and let’s not forget the thumping V8-powered, 420 hp, 168 miles-per-hour (270 kilometre-per-hour) IS F. A coupe-convertible was spun off, too.
The current, third-generation car was launched in 2013, complete like Manga-esque styling. Like its predecessors, it’s utterly rational and beautifully made, if not especially engaging.
The IS is currently sold in 70 markets around the world, and Lexus claims sales of around 6,000 units per month. At that rate, it’ll take another 14 years to rack up the next million.