Lexus Says Opinion-Splitting Spindle Grille is Here to Stay, Evolve With Time

In 2011, the GS mid-size premium sedan was the first Lexus model to get the spindle grille. It sure is an aggressive design feature that has spread, in various forms, to the brand’s other new vehicles – but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Lexus vice president for the US Jeff Bracken admitted he’s received phone calls from loyal brand customers, most of them older, who do not like the new grille. Despite that, he is all for the new design language: “We can’t move forward in the fashion we want based on that buyer group”, he noted. “To not get after a younger group, that would be the bigger mistake.”

Designer Yasuo Kajino isn’t worried one bit. In fact, he says that everyone should better get used to it, for this grille will be a prominent feature of Lexus models, evolving with time.

“In order to succeed in the premium sector, we can’t just buid something the same as the German brands. In order to stay, we have to basically be different from other brands”, he told WardsAuto in an interview.

“Spindle is just part of the form of the vehicle, right? So if the basis or the shape of the vehicle changes, obviously the form of the spindle will change together with the car”, Kajino added.

That much is obvious from its application on the models that have been launched so far. On the GS, the grille is bisected by a horizontal bar which is painted the same color as the bodywork. On the compact IS saloon, it is blacked out, except for its F Sport version, where it is covered by a mesh insert.

The spindle grille may be polarizing but the numbers show that Lexus is about to record its best sales in the US market in seven years, projecting 305,000 deliveries when the December results are announced.

The last time it exceeded the 300,000 mark was back in 2007, when it sold 329,177 units. Even so, it will trail both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which through November had sold 318,837 and 298,212 vehicles respectively.

*Correction: The latest GS was presented in 2011 and not in 2013

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  • Hate to burst your bubble Lexus but us youngins hate it too!

    • Keith9

      I quite like it. And from what I’ve experienced with the NX/IS they tend to look a lot better in person. The sharp angles makes it look weird in pictures.

    • ForTehNguyen

      50% of IS are sold with F Sport package, people like it

    • djdrfm

      Sir i respect your opinion , but i am a fan of lexus since its inception and by the time they brought spindle grill in their cars , lexus sales have increased alot. And as for youngsters , not all of them like lexus new face , but i a 20 yo just love that big agressive face . Best spindle grill in my opinion is that of lexus GS-F

  • Ayberk Yılmaz

    The GS was revealed in 2011, not in 2013.

  • Kash

    it’s actually one of my favorite grilles especially with the F/sport mesh work. If they gave it a finer mesh like Bentley’s or the Cadillac CTS V’s (2nd generation) i’d love it even more.

    • TheBelltower

      Go check out the mesh on a Bentley Conti. It’s chromed plastic.

      • emjayay

        So are Jaguar mesh grilles. Oddly enough, the mesh grille previous generation Chrysler 300’s were actual wire.

      • Kash

        I’m not saying, use them exactly, just use that style of mesh. How it peaks at each intersection then slopes down into a U between the peaks and how fine it is.

        • TheBelltower

          Totally agree.

  • Six_Tymes

    the sucks and they know it, on the flip side of that i have noticed on some models and concepts the grill seems to be getting my flush level with the painted surfaces and looks better.

    However, the front of the US version NX200 is hideous

  • Yep

    Well Lexus, I am a young professional and hate to tell you, but those NIKE-logo-style headlights are hideous. Sorry.

  • Islandman

    The mesh I like…The grill though is not in balance to the cars…

  • NG212

    When Audi debuted the single-frame grille, it was excoriated for being oversized and graceless. Now, no one cares.

    Lexus just has to keep tweaking it. Because sometimes it does look good — like on the IS F Sport and LFLC concept.

    • BlackPegasus

      Agreed! Audi’s grills are oversized as far as grills go, yet they are now considered part of Audi’s personality and signature design. I think Lexus should be given credit for it’s aggressive styling. I don’t want them to copy the Germans. Just find your own niche and it’s admirers will soon follow. I think Lexus is doing just that!

      Now if they can only redesign the interiors on the new RC and IS I’d consider buying one 😒

      • bd

        Except, the oversized “pinched” grill has been done before by others.

    • klowik

      Audi grille looks good. Lexus just needs to tweak it to look better.

    • TheBelltower

      When Audi launched their widemouth grille on cars that had previously had the slender horizontal grills, it looked bad and out of place. Like on the B6/B7 A4. It still doesn’t look right on the previous generation A4 because it was an afterthought necessary to accommodate pedestrian safety standards. But still, it was a lot more tasteful than the grimacing nightmarish scream that Lexus has covering 80% of the front end of this thing. Just because everyone else is doing the big grille thing, doesn’t mean that you can do it better by doubling it. This grille is the Edsel and the Aztek of modern automotive design.

  • Josh

    I’m young and I hate the grill. Imagine cleaning all the bugs off that grill, no thanks! The lights are a mess as well. Did Nike sponsor it? I thought I’d own a Lexus one day (before they started these hideous designs).

  • bd

    Lexus didn’t even originate the spindle shaped grill.

  • thisguyhere

    people used to say the bangle bmws were hideous but it boosted bmw sales drastically. after that, everyone started using the flame hoods and hard angles designs that it brought on.

  • Boudou

    Well, people use to hate Lexus for being so beige and boring. Now they do something unique and make it different people still hate on them.

    BMW also got lots of hate when Chris Bangle came in the freshen things up. but what was BMW to do? Have car design stay in the 90s?

    The thing is, when you make a cars that every body doesn’t hate, you also make cars that nobody really loves; you get conservative boring cars. That’s because they are non-offensive and use design ques that are well established and everybody is used to seeing.

    I’ll admit that the Lexus design isn’t my thing. But its starting to grow on me, probably because I’m starting to get used to it.

  • Tinky-Winky

    I think that the grille is actually cool. I can imagine it as a future traditional Lexus design element like BMW’s double kidney grill. But what I’m not happy with are the headlights. It’s like if the designers were playing “pin the tail in the donkey” game but instead of the donkey and its tail they used a Lexus and the Nike logo shaped daytime running lights. Or they were just drinking too much sake.

    • CarCzarDesigner

      It doesn’t work that way. Our clients/ bosses demand that we generate hundreds of differnent designs of project we are doing and then they decide what they like and what they don’t like. We keep working until they are satisfied with end result. For myself, I think the spindle grill looks good on the Lexus Concepts and their Super cars, but for their lower key sedan models knowing mostly older people are the ones who can afford and buy them, I think it is important to listen to your customers. Controversial styling turns buyers away and brands like Lincoln, Acura and now Lexus have paid a price. People can see it for what it is…a cheap gimmick and substitute for something more enduring and outstanding.

      • Tinky-Winky

        Read the article above. It tells a different story about Lexus’ recent market situation.

  • pcurve

    spindle grilles is fine, but the tacked-on Nike swoosh has to go.

    • Milo

      or at least integrated better with the headlight set-up.

  • KidRed

    — “In order to succeed in the premium sector, we can’t just buid [sic] something the same as the German brands. In order to stay, we have to basically be different from other brands”, he told WardsAuto in an interview.

    So, Lexus has to be UGLY in order to differentiate itself from German cars? Got it.

    • Milo

      I find BMW designs ugly. I like how bold Lexus’s designs have been going.

      Lexus has been raking up sales and outselling BMW in the US.

      It’s all based on personal preference.

      • Exposing B-LIES-Matter

        Pfffft!!! You’re dreaming Toyota fanboy. BMW Mercedes and Audi have the Japanese Cadillac beat in sales and pretty much all segments. This rebadged Toyota is made for the masses who want to “feel rich” so to speak but can’t afford the latter. That said with BMW now helping Lexyota and Lexyota trying a different design approach this should hopefully bring a little more respect to a brand not taken very seriously. 😐

  • jonah

    I was really looking forward to making the switch to Lexus from Mercedes as I have had multiple service problems. Then I saw the new grill. Oh my gosh, what were they thinking? Looks like a huge mouth. Thought I was at a Pontiac dealer. Looked cheap. I’m 48; kinda old I guess..

    • Exposing B-LIES-Matter

      No you’re right, plus at least in your Benz the gas pedal won’t get stuck and cause you to crash and burn. Lol.

  • Michelle McKinney

    Beyond hideous. My fiance has a Lexus and really wanted to upgrade until they came up with this eye sore version. He will be considering Mercedes Benz instead.

    • Exposing B-LIES-Matter

      That’s a very wise move my dear.

  • Exposing B-LIES-Matter

    It’s Hideous, looks like something Pokemon would drive.😂😂😂

  • JDAMTag

    I guess nothing besides a plunge in sales will convince Lexus that the spindle grille is HIDEOUS.
    OK, Lexus execs: Brace yourself boys! We’ll be staying away in droves!

  • scarhill

    Lexus insists the grille is here to stay. Lexus can be assured I will never buy a Lexus if the grille is, in fact, staying.

    This grille has actually done the impossible. It make the Acura beak look good by comparison.