Toyota has confirmed it will start selling its luxury Lexus brand cars in Japan from August next year, with an annual sales target of 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles.

Vehicles designed for the Lexus brand have long been sold in Japan but have always been badged as Toyotas – the big LS400 sedan as the Celsior, for example.

Reuters said Toyota will offer four Lexus vehicle series – the LS, GS, IS and SC – in Japan within a year of the launch, selling them though a new network of 180 dealers.

The report said the Lexus nameplate, born in the United States in 1989, has been an important profit-driver for Toyota, and its success has prompted the carmaker to introduce the brand into Japan.

In 2003, Lexus sales in the United States reached a record 260,000 vehicles, beating the previous year’s record by 11%, and making it the best-selling luxury brand in the United States for a fourth straight year, Reuters added.