The Toyota Crown (Japanese: トヨタ・クラウン Toyota Kuraun) is an automobile which has been produced by Toyota in Japansince 1955. It is currently a line of mid/full-size luxury sedans primarily aimed at the Japanese market and sold in other select Asian markets. Introduced in 1955, it has served as the mainstream sedan from Toyota in the Japanese market throughout its existence and holds the distinction of being the longest-running passenger-car nameplate affixed to any Toyota model, along with being the first Toyota vehicle to be exported to the United States in 1958. Its traditional competitors in Japan and Asia have been the Nissan Cedric/Gloria/Fuga and the Honda Legend, along with the defunct Mazda Luce, Isuzu Bellel, and Mitsubishi Debonair. Available at Toyota Store dealers in Japan, the Crown has been popular for government usage, whether as a police car or for transporting government officials. It has also been popular with Japanese companies as company cars along with use as a taxicab. While a base Crown was available for many years aimed at the taxicab market, the increasing opulence and price of the Crown line led to the creation of the Toyota Comfort in 1995 as a more affordable alternative. Outside Japan, the larger Lexus LS took over the role of Toyota's flagship sedan in 1989 in the company's global lineup. In North America, the first through fourth generations were offered from 1958 through 1973.[sup][/sup] It was replaced with the Toyota Corona Mark II. The Crown has also been partially succeeded in export markets by its closely related sibling, the Lexus GS, which since its debut in 1991 as the Toyota Aristo has always shared the Crown's platform and powertrain options. Later models of the GS and Crown have taken on a very strong aesthetic kinship through shared design cues. The Crown's history and reputation has given it prominence in the Toyota lineup, as it is one of the few current Toyota models to carry its own unique insignia for the model line with the current Crown having a stylized crown emblem on the grille and steering wheel along with inspiring the names of its smaller progenitors. The Corona, introduced as a smaller companion to the Crown means "crown" in Latin and was initially exported as the "Tiara", while the Corolla took its name from the corolla ("small crown") in Latin. The Camry's name is derived from the Japanese phrase kanmuri (冠, かんむり) meaning "little crown" and the Toyota Sceptertook its name from the sceptre, an accessory to a crown. The Avalon (the Crown's North American counterpart), while not named after a crown, is named after a mythical island from the legends of King Arthur. Toyota's "Discover Crown Spirit Project" is a program in which Japanese Toyota dealers fully restore instances of every generation of the Crown to show that even the oldest Crown still works.