After high power lasers are avaliable in the commercial market, the number of applications of the laser welding has been increased in manufacturing industries. Although the tailored blank laser welding of butt jointed steel sheets is well known recently in the automotive industries, the lap joint laser welding is a new technology to the automotive manufacturing people as well as the design people. But the deep penetration laser welding seems to be preferred to the partial penetration welding for the lap joint welding in the automotive manufacturers because the partial penetration is a serious deflect for the butt joint. In this study, the feasibility of partial penetration welding fur the lap joint $CO_2$ laser welding was studied fur the 1mm thick 390MPa high strength steel sheets for automotive bodies. The process window of the lap joint partial penetration welding was obtained from experiments with the gap size and the welding speed as process parameters. The partial penetration welding was found excellent on the basis of the tensile shear strength and sectional geometry. The bead width, input energy Per volume, tensile-shear strength, deformation energy and the sectional geometries after tensile-shear tests of partial penetration welded specimens are compared with those of full penetration welded specimens with a series of gaps and welding speeds.