Lexus convertibles are designed, engineered, produced and sold under the oversight of Toyota Motor Corporation, which owns the Lexus brand. The Japanese auto manufacturer is one of the top selling vehicle brands in the world, and although Lexus is fairly new, the Lexus lineup, including Lexus convertibles, has made strides in helping increase the company’s global presence. The Lexus brand was introduced in 1989 specifically geared toward the United States and North American markets, and the brand quickly expanded. Lexus passenger cars, including Lexus convertible models, are now sold in more than 70 countries around the world, although availability of specific models and configurations varies by region. The Lexus brand is based in Nagoya, Japan, but it also conducts global operations from Torrance, California, in the United States, and Brussels, Belgium. Most Lexus cars are produced in Toyota assembly facilities throughout Japan, although Lexus opened its own production facility in Toronto, Ontario, in 2003.
Lexus gradually expanded to the point where the brand designs and engineers its own vehicles, without much corporate oversight from Toyota, although the brands do share resources. Lexus convertible cars are designated by the brand’s nomenclature, which uses a two-letter pairing followed by a three-digit pairing. The first letter indicates the model’s ranking in the Lexus family, and the second letter indicates the model’s body style, although “C” has been used for Lexus coupe models as well as Lexus convertibles. The three numeric digits indicate the engine’s displacement. A lot of current Lexus convertibles are part of the IS class range of compact sedans. Lexus introduced the IS series in 1998, and it was derived from the previous Toyota Altezza model that was exclusive to Japan. The second generation of the Lexus IS series was released in 2006, and the third generation, which is still in production, went on sale in late 2013. The Lexus IS convertible was not actually released until ten years after the introduction of the IS, however, as the first convertible versions of the IS did not go on sale in North America and Europe until 2009. The Lexus IS convertible is mechanically identical and visually similar to the IS, but it is fitted with a retractable hard top. However, not all models in the IS series are available as a convertible version. Most regions got the Lexus IS 250 C and the Lexus IS 350 C, and a Lexus IS 300 C was also produced for more limited distribution. Other Lexus convertible cars include the hard top version of the Lexus SC 430 grand tourer, equipped with a V8 engine. The Lexus SC 430 was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 2000 and released as a 2001 model year vehicle. This Lexus convertible was discontinued in 2010.