Lexus Black Panther Gamble Pays Off

The movie is a success, but Lexus took some big risks getting involved as much as it did.

The story of King T'Challa's rise to power and his struggle to retain the throne has enthralled movie audiences since Black Panther's release on Feb. 16. Lexus is riding the wave of rave reviews, as the LC500 is featured prominently during a car chase through the streets of Busan, South Korea. We know now that the movie is a hit, but Lexus had no such assurances when it made its commitment to be involved, reports Automotive News.

Lexus began its collaboration on the movie two years ago before the script was even finished. This meant that Lexus had no opportunity to review the story to ensure its message was in line with what the company wanted to convey by featuring its flagship model.

"I think, for us, it really came down to trust in Marvel and that they would take great care in bringing Black Panther's story to the big screen," MaryJane Kroll, media manager for Lexus marketing, told Automotive News. "We didn't know exactly what the ultimate message would be."

But the message and philosophy of Black Panther was not the only challenge Lexus had. At the time the South Korea car chase was filmed, no production LC500s had been built yet. That required Lexus to hand over six early expensive hand-built prototypes, and be willing to have some destroyed during filming. We're talking far worse than just scratching the paint.

Lexus has traditionally been a rather conservative company, and the idea of associating itself with a car chase in a comic book movie is quite a departure from that. But so is the LC500. Black Panther himself represents someone breaks barriers and comes from a highly technologically advanced nation, much like Lexus wants to be seen these days.

Wakanda forever.