Lexus Buyers Rank Spindle Grille as Second Most Appealing Feature

The number one most appealing feature? Exterior color.

byChris Tsui|

Whenever we run a Lexus story, we can pretty much always count on commenters to decry the Toyota luxury arm's now-signature spindle grille design. As far as actual paying customers are concerned, however, the Predator-like grilles apparently aren't as polarizing as the internet would have you believe.

In response to a report earlier this week about Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken having to field complaints from longtime (read: elderly) customers about the state of Lexus's exterior design, Lexus communications senior manager Nancy Hubbell got in touch with The Drive to talk grilles.

Hubbell was present during Bracken's original interview and assures us that owners who are put off enough by Lexus's signature maw to call up the company's GM about it belong to a vocal minority as the Lexus spokesperson goes on to reveal that the spindle grille, in fact, ranks second on the company's list of most appealing features among buyers—regardless of demographic. "Among all buyers, [the grille] is the second most appealing feature of the car after exterior color. People notice it, which is key," said Hubbell. Lexus does pull off some damn good paint jobs, so we're inclined to believe these rankings to be pretty accurate.

Toyota Motor North America

While she concedes that the razor-mouth design usually fares better with the brand's younger clientele, Hubbell says that those who have been driving long before the first Millennial ever was even born are "learning to like it as well." 

As for established customers who just can't bring themselves to embrace the crazily-designed front ends, Lexus hopes that they can look past the styling and continue to appreciate its cars for what likely made them fans in the first place: stellar reliability. "Well, certainly we would love to make everyone happy. A lot of our longtime buyers purchase the car because of its quality, durability, and reliability and those things haven’t changed. Those are consistent hallmarks of our brand, and we probably have gotten more daring in terms of styling, but they may not purchase the car for the styling. We just want to make sure they know, yes, the car might be a little more daring but it’s still a good car for them."

When probed over what she personally thought of the spindle grille, Hubbell replied, "I think it works in different degrees in different models. I think it looks great on the LC, I like the LS." The Lexus rep goes on to admit that some models in which the design was shoehorned into a mid-cycle refresh leave room for improvement. "Other models that maybe the spindle grille came after the remodel, but it wasn’t necessarily as integrated. So I still think there’s an opportunity to kaizen it, as we say."