Lexus's chief designer Yasuo Kajino, the man who penned the just-unveiled Lexus RC-F at the Detroit motor show, is (obviously) a fan of the firm's new spindle grille - and (less obviously) he knows it puts him in a minority.

So why has he done it? As he stood proudly by the RC-F, it seemed rude not to ask. "We have a challenge," he explained. "Lexus is a young brand and our line-up is still very small compared to those of our rivals. We need to get noticed, and the way to do that is strong design."

How does he judge what's strong, as opposed to too strong? "We ask the customers," he says. "It's true that we have been told by our bosses to be bolder and more challenging, but the most important people to listen to are our customers - and they love what they see."

In the RC-F's case the catalyst for the look came from the LFA, Lexus's pioneering sports car from 2010. "That and the many demands from the engineering team," smiles Kajino. "The aero and cooling requirements were quite demanding, and we needed to incorporate them into the design."

Like the spindle grille and the other slightly outlandish design elements of the latest Lexus models or loathe them (and most loathe them) the truth is that you can't help but have an opinion. Suddenly buyers are parting with their cash to make a statement, rather than because the sums add up or the dealership experience is top-notch.

Kajino may have a point. When was the last time you could say that about Lexus designs?

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