Lexus Admits It Still Receives Complaints About Spindle Grille

Despite being around for five years, the Lexus spindle grille continues to divide opinion and while recently speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, Lexus group vice president and general manager Jeff Bracken said he still gets complaints over the controversial design choice.

“I’ll be very transparent. It’s our signature grille. Some of our models have a more expressive signature grille than others. The folks that look at it as somewhat polarizing would be, for the most part, the folks that have been with us since the beginning,” Bracken revealed to Car Buzz in Detroit.

“In fact I’ll take phone calls from some of these owners and will literally spend 45 minutes to an hour on the phone with me just expressing how disappointed they are,” he added.

For the most part, key Lexus rivals, like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW, rarely alter their respective design languages as radically as Lexus did with the introduction of the spindle grille. It’s therefore not surprising that the Japanese marque’s decision upset many long-standing customers and fans.

Despite this, Bracken said that the complaint calls he receives allow him to explain the reasons behind the change.

“It’s a very purposeful and strategic move on our part. If we lose some of our tradition owners it’s unsettling for us but won’t preclude us from moving down this path. We hope to gain more (customers) than we lose,” the executive said.

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  • Dennis Scipio

    I never thought it looked terrible, when executed right.

    • paulgdeaton

      I don’t know what you are smoking, but I wish you would share it with the rest of us…

  • salamOOn

    i have no problem with it…..

  • I found Lexus design of late is original and unique, sure the grille is not for everyone but I think it fits to some model.

    • bd

      Wouldn’t exactly call it “original” – that shape for the grille had been done previously (and abandoned).

      • The whole design language is original in my eyes, not just the grille, especially on LC 500.

    • Phil R

      This is an old thread, but I have to agree with you on the LC500. It works best on this car, but not the rest of their luxury line. Ok,so my third comment….moving on. Thanks.

  • IT’S HIDEOUS AND MUST BE VERY EXPENSIVE IN A RELATIVELY MINOR ACCIDENT SINCE THERE’S NO BUMPER TO PROTECT IT. THAT BEING SAID WHY BUY IT IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT AND SPENDING 45 MINUETS ON THE PHONE AFTER YOU BUY IT? SORRY FOOL, IT’S YOURS STOP WHINING.

    • no25

      dude shut up. you are absolutely the most annoying person on CS. if you dont like it, then move on. stop screaming about it. act like an adult and not the 8th grader you are. Youre the one whining dumbass

      • Enter Ranting

        …says the guy whining about MICHGO.

        • no25

          …says the guy now whining about me.

  • hahahahahahahahaa! Who is Lexus’s CCO? ..must have been busy with flooded inbox!

  • TheBelltower

    This grill is a spazzy response to the constant “Beige” “boring” name calling. Toyotas/Lexus have been called boring for reasons other than the exterior appearance. Hanging a juvenile and amateurishly designed hunk of plastic off the front end is not going to change their well-earned stigma.

    • Six Thousand Times

      You never want to be spazzy when grilling. You might burn yourself.

      • Tinky-Winky

        lol you just won’t stop until everyone stops grilling 😀

        • Six Thousand Times

          No way, I love grilling!

    • Scherpereel Clement

      How Toyota can be boring ? They always had a small sports coupé not like most of the European car maker !
      I don’t know any equivalent of the Celica, the MR2, the Supra, the AE86, the GT86.
      On the other hand you have the little Yaris RS that’s not a bad car at all.
      You have the Tundra TRD or the Hilux TRD for off-roading vehicle.
      The late FJ Cruiser was a very nice car with original styling and very good off-roading capacity.
      I agree Lexus on the other hand was boring because it was the luxury saloon car for Japanese executives, nothing sporty, nothing excessive, just luxury and smoothness.

      • TheBelltower

        Toyota wasn’t boring up until the mid 90s. Not even the Camry was boring because the design had integrity and the perception was that you got so much more than you paid for. Most of the cars you listed were from Toyota’s heyday pre-2000s. Imma have to disagree with you on the Yaris or the TRD trucks. The Hilux isn’t available in the US, so I don’t have an opinion on that. The FJ, as awesome as it was, was an anomaly that Toyota should have never killed off.

  • Six Thousand Times

    It looks good on the LC500, inoffensive but not really good on the LS500 and awful on the SUVs. It’s a design element that could go away unlamented.

  • Scherpereel Clement

    When it’s subtle it’s all right but on that concept it just look awful, like a mesh deformed buy some wild animal in the engine bay !

  • Scherpereel Clement

    “We hope to gain more (customers) than we lose”
    A way of saying Fuck you to long time Lexus lover, we were classy and sporty but now we want to show our big fat front grill like AUDI did !
    I really think Lexus wan’t to be the Audi of Asia but it’s not really working IMO, they don’t have a clear line up, they add new version all the time that mess around with what is what in the lineup.
    Just need a new LFA !

    • no25

      Lexus doesnt want to be Audi. Theyre too reliable to be that. They are doing just fine actually.

      • Scherpereel Clement

        Oh yes they would love to have their reputation. Who in Europe buys a Lexus over an Audi/BMW (Mercedes is in another category) ? Personaly I rather buy a 2 series if I had the money over any Lexus in the same price range. I even find the S3 salon sleeker and more atractive then most of the Lexus (and I’m not an Audi fan)
        I recon that some Lexus model are very very nice and one of my favorite car is a Lexus (the LFA) but they are over priced, to heavy and boy that frond is very very tortured ! Some of them look like a teenager with full brace on … and smiling !

    • Nordschleife

      It is like a fuck you to older buyers but younger people like more expressive styling and those younger people turn into the older buyers.

      • Scherpereel Clement

        THe average age of Lexus buyers is 57 years old and who the hell has 40K to spend in a car a 30 or 40 years old ? And that’s the base model.
        Lexus are not for young people yet, it’s a luxury brand ! Toyota is for young people.
        Lexus should have their own version of the GT86 with different styling, a bit more power and luxury.

        • Nordschleife

          Don’t people buy used cars? It’s about long term goals. You buy a used Lexus and you like the styling and you like the reliability. Then you get older and you want a new car so now you want a new Lexus. It’s about putting things in motion to solidify your brand. You may not agree to that but companies have to think of the long term and what buyers will become not to the ones who have purchased and want things to remain the same. All the principles are the same it’s just wrapped in more expressive divisive styling for the people who said I would’ve bought a Lexus but I thought it looked boring. I would rather have a car that you loved or hated vs one you didn’t have an opinion on.

          • Scherpereel Clement

            True

    • Phil R

      I read an article about our 2003 Avalon in some car review years ago, when we bought it with 25K miles from Hertz(still running, at 266K)..and the comment was that the grille…….was TOO TOOTHY! Haha! Little did the public know that TOOTHY GRILLE would evolve one day into an entrance to Mammoth Cave. It’s ok to move forward, but can you imagine a Ferrari or Aston Martin deciding to create a Whales Mouth for a grille? Onward!

  • Maricaibo

    That gaping maw! Jeesh. Ugly. Even ‘bangle butts’ looked much better!

  • nooky

    You can’t pretend to be a luxury brand when your cars looks like cheap tasteless tuning.

  • fabri99

    It actually looks extremely good on some cars, like the RC and the LC. On others it works a little less, but it’s something original and unique. I really don’t mind it.

  • Nordschleife

    I think as the cars evolve it looks better. I remember when I first saw it on the current GS I was like no bueno but in the refreshed version and the current LC,LS and LX models I think it looks great. It’s the same way I feel about Audi. As the grille evolved it became better looking to me. Except for the new A8.

  • Stephen G

    It looks just as nice on a Lexus as it did on a 1961 Plymouth Fury!

  • Emoto

    This grotesque offense to aesthetics and beauty serving as a grill, should never have seen the light of day. It demonstrates clearly that the people in charge of Lexus have neither artistic talent, nor taste. It is like a bad joke on all of us.

  • Enter Ranting

    The Lexus vice president and general manager spends hours on the phone listening to customers complain about the ridiculous grilles on their cars? I’m not buying it. Also, Jeff, it’s not just the clunky, overwrought plastic grilles that look terrible. It’s also the headlights, fake air intakes, and 1980s interiors. The problem is that you’re doubling down on the grille silliness instead of abandoning an obvious mistake.

  • SteersUright

    Lexus should be so much more bold in their performance and engineering and more tame with their outlandish and frankly ridiculous design. They’ve got their priorities backwards. They don’t offer a single automobile for any sort of true enthusiast, luxury off-road (to respond to G-wagon) or sports car (to respond to R8, AMG GT, 911, or even Audi TTRS/S3/S4/S5 & all RS, BMW M2/M3/M3/X5M/X6M).

    They, like Acura and Infiniti, are simply tarted up, well made and reliable ultra-premium mainstream generic cars. They will never truly gain customers loyal to the German luxury brands until they begin to fill the many holes in their line-up and take bold performance and engineering more seriously. Putting a ridiculous face on your generic vehicle is fooling nobody into thinking you’re suddenly a bold and daring company. It just beings to polarize and alienate the geriatric crowd that has been particularly loyal to Lexus.

    • Griz Goswick

      Right on! Performance is a helluva lot more important than looks. Get it in gear, Lexus!

  • LWOAP

    As much as people complain about it, it’s not going away.

    • Harry_Wild

      It will go away if sales drop! It looks like the crack might have happen late in 2017 were Lexus had a dip in sales. Stay tune!

  • d’Aforde

    “If we lose some of our tradition owners it’s unsettling for us but won’t preclude us from moving down this path. We hope to gain more (customers) than we lose,” the executive said.” This is an unusual stance from a luxury marque. The Big German 3 are always concerned about losing their traditional owners. Although, truth be told, BMW has been moving away from its performance roots but sales have not suffered. On the other hand, BMW did a complete 360 on their godawful Bangle-butt design with the next generation. Only Volvo, Hyundai, Jaguar, Audi and Mazda have successfully implemented a design language that works on all of their models. The Predator-looking grille on Lexus’ looks terrible and even worse on Toyotas that share the same platform. At the risk of being called boring, Toyota/Lexus should abandon it and, as someone here suggested, work on the performance of the cars. A true F range that can blow the doors off Ms and AMGs would be a good start.

  • BlackPegasus

    I like the F-sport signature grill. It’s the interiors I cannot live with.

  • getoffme

    Be Japanese Lexus unlike the German duds whose design inspiration originated from Russian dolls.

  • Marty

    He’s missing the point, probably on purpose. The problem isn’t that they changed it, that they created a signature grille or that they made it expressive.

    The problem is that many people think it looks so awful that they wouldn’t even consider a Lexus.

  • DM

    i really like it! Although it need to be toned down on regular cars that are not meant to be excessively sporty, like in the LX. The creases that simulate air intakes are really cool too. They took risks with their design and it shows, their interiors really have the wow factor that you look in cars. (Learn some of that BMW).

  • Rich Money

    “Shit sandwich still not preferred flavor at Baskin-Robbins”

  • Tumbi Mtika

    It’s not as bad as before. Lexus grew balls in a segment that it losing theirs. Good on them.

    Does it need more polishing? Yes.

  • FFEMT6

    Ok, but think of how many more vehicles you could be selling if customers actually liked the frontal design. Guess Toyota/Lexus doesn’t mind leaving money on the table. This definitely holds true on the latest Toyotas also. Camry and Avalon, I am looking at you, only from the back though. Your grill is hideous.

  • FFEMT6

    At least Acura finally got the message.

  • KidRed

    Strategic reasons is perfectly understood. However, that does not defend the purpose of it having to be so unattractive.

  • Stanley Blazeraznik

    I sort of like the Lexus grill. But what do I know ….. I drive an M2.

  • Jeff Breedlove

    There is a reason New Coke was shelved and Classic Coke returned almost immediately back in the 80s As for me I’d always wanted a Lexus SUV but my wife refused to even go look at them solely on the grille.

  • Ivan Simmons

    as I told my Lexus dealer,i think this grill was designed by an idiot,and my opinion has not changed.
    some people just cant admit when they are wrong
    I have owned 3 Lexus and wouldn’t bother again.

    • Phil R

      My wife and I have loved the RX design, and we understand why it’s important to “move ahead” and introduce new design elements that capture a changing market. We know that some like it and some hate it. Wewere looking currently to buy an RX,, but the 2016-2020 front ends did not “grow on us”. As a kid, I used to build AMT models, modifying front and rear ends with heated razor blades/knives( grew up in the 50’s and 60’s with George Barris as one influence). If money wasn’t a concern, I’d crush that hillarious-looking 2016-2020 front-end, re-sculpt it to a shape more complimentary to the rest of the vehicle, and enjoy the rest of what Lexus RX has to appreciate. Otherwise, I/we like what is evolving.

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