Only 12 craftspeople are entrusted
in monitoring the hand-stitching work
Inside the ES you’ll be surrounded by exquisite details that take luxury to a new level, like the hand-stitched dash. Stitching craftspeople are selected for dexterity and painstaking attention to detail, and only 12 people have so far been entrusted with this particular work. One of the qualifying tests is to fold a piece of paper into a perfectly constructed origami cat. Folding must be done with only one hand (the non-dominant one), and it must be completed in less than 90 seconds.
The stitching work is a time-consuming process, but it adds a warm, craftsman-like touch that contrasts with the high-tech feel of the panel's gauges. But as a luxury design feature it works only as long as it's done perfectly. So the production goal is to accomplish flawless stitching every time.
Using the five senses
to support craftsmanship
A guiding philosophy at the Miyata plant is to facilitate the use of the human senses in the pursuit of craftsmanship. Sometimes an experienced worker's sensitive fingertips can detect subtle imperfections, such as small misalignments of body panels, more effectively than a gauge or sensor.
In one example of how this works, the workers who inspect the alignment of parts like the fender and hood on the production line are constantly training their senses. Every two hours they refresh their sense of touch by running their fingers along a sample section of perfectly aligned parts, to memorize the correct 'feeling' of those parts. Of course, human senses are backed up by mechanical sensors whenever it's appropriate. For example, imperfections in the stamping process can be detected using a specially designed thermal imaging system, which replaced the visual and tactile inspections that were previously relied upon.
the Smallest Details
One path to quality is precise measurement. Lexus surveys key points on the body and interior to guarantee each vehicle is built to a very high standard. The design and production process was repeatedly revised using 32 highly targeted focus points. It includes,
- 16 measurements are taken around the hood, bumper, headlamps and grille.
- 10 measurements are taken at the rear bumper, trunk lid, tail lamps and trim.
- 6 measurements are taken from the instrument panel and console alone.
These points are cross-checked using computer-aided engineering analysis.
A Lexus ES
on the Rough Road Tester
A crucial part of Lexus quality control involves testing the quietness and the vibration levels of each and every vehicle under rough road conditions. The plant has developed a mechanical Rough Road Tester, and installed it at the end of the assembly line. Using adjustable drums with raised and indented areas, the tester can mimic various road surfaces, such as cobblestone streets. In this way it can be tuned to allow detection of abnormal sounds in different environments.
Currently, the global trend is to reduce size and make cars more compact. However, as we considered the personality of the ES, we felt we needed to provide more comfortable seating in the rear, to deliver on our luxury promise.
From a design point of view, we wanted to show off our uniqueness. To make the side view more dynamic, we developed the visual aspect of the wheels to better show off the stronger and wider crouching stance. And, from the spindle grille to the vehicle's aero stabilizing fins, the design of the ES embraces three-dimensional shapes. The same thing happens with the headlamps, in the corner areas, and the cross-dimensional shape of the door. All this is crafted so the vehicle's expression alters and intrigues as you move around it. We call this "time in design", an expression of our L-finesse philosophy.
plush-molded Instrument Panel
Real stitching has been applied to the slush molded upholstery for a new Lexus first technique that combines molding technology and craftsmanship. Together with the analog clock with a self-illuminating LED(Light Emitting Diode) clock face, it ensures excellent legibility. The stylish combination encapsulates Lexus simplicity, functionality and precision.