Lexus USA General Manager talks with Ward’s Auto


Lexus General Manager Mark Templin

Lexus USA General Manager Mark Templin recently spoke with Ward’s Auto on a number of different subjects, including the LFA’s “value pricing” and a possible X3 competitor.

I recommend reading the whole article, but here are some choice quotes:

On Lexus LFA Pricing

“If you think of the other carbon-fiber supercars, Enzo Ferraris and Porsche Carrera GTs, you’re talking cars that are at least $450,000 to $1 million,” Mark Templin, Lexus’ U.S. sales chief says, tells Ward’s here. “So we consider (the LFA) to be a pretty good value proposition.”

I’m glad to see Templin framing the Lexus LFA pricing—it’s difficult to imagine the cost of putting out a supercar from scratch, and not just in dollars, but also in the time that Toyota’s top people put in. It’s hard to talk about the LFA as though it’s the first generation LS 400 taking on established and overpriced players, but the sentiment is there.

On the Lexus Brand Values

“We don’t want to be something different than we’ve been for the last 20 years,” Templin says. “We still have a huge core group of people who love our products and what they provide. That’s a bigger market than the small niche of people who want the performance cars.”

Rather, he sees the LFA, and other low-volume models such as the IS-F sport sedan and new LS Sport grade, boosting the brand’s performance credentials.

Read: Expect performance variants of existing models to continue, meaning a GS-F & LS-F at the very least. Personally, I’m pulling for an HS-F.

On a X3 Competitor

As for a smaller CUV to compete with BMW’s X3 and Infiniti’s EX, he notes the volume of the entire segment doesn’t equal that of the Lexus RX midsize CUV.

“There is a trend that shows us eventually there will be a market for those smaller (CUVs),” Templin says. “(But) at what point do you enter the market: when it’s early and you can’t sell any volume or do you wait?”

I can’t picture any X3 competitor until the third generation RX is at least halfway through its lifecycle, or about three years away.

***

Also mentioned is Templin’s expectation that Lexus will end 2009 with approximately 210,000 vehicles sold, down from 260,087 in 2008, which will safely put Lexus at the top of US luxury vehicle sales this year.

The article on a whole is interesting reading, and answers some lingering questions. Highly recommended.

[Source: Ward’s Auto]

Comments


Comments


  1. i wished they talked about why lexus service (at least at my dealer) has gone down the crapper…  sad
    I wonder how much it will be to buy the car after the two year lease.  I hope that it goes toward the 400,000 G’s.

  2. I can’t imagine a smaller CUV until the RX gets a third row.

  3. Glad to hear that Lexus values its core customers more than the performance junkies, so they’ll continue focusing on refinement & smoothness just the way I like it. Also it doesn’t seem like the LFA is much value as most people who buy the car will be looking for image/bling factor which the LFA obviously has but the 552 bhp figure won’t give those owners much satisfaction. The Enzo & Carrera GT both have over 600 bhp, Lexus should’ve given the LFA at least 605 bhp just to enhance it’s bragging rights. Hell, even an R-R Ghost has 563 bhp.

  4. so Mr. Templin isn´t sure entering the market of small CUV? i would say: give it a try! with a good price and a sporty driving experience this CUV will sell very well.

  5. An IS250/IS350 based CUV wouldn’t be too bad. It would be the RX’s sporty little brother, just like the IS is the ES’s sporty little sibling. smile

    GS-F and LS-F seem to be a go, from what it sounds like, but this one line in the article makes it seem like the next SC won’t be turned into a SL550 type vehicle:

    “While some of the technology in the LFA will work its way down into other Lexus models, the brand doesn't have a strategy to introduce ultra pricey, special-edition performance models.”

    Even so it all sounds good and there seems to be a bright future for Lexus.

  6. @joshd: From my understanding, this is only considered a lease because Lexus will continue to hold the vehicle title—I’m pretty sure the “lease” payments are applied to the car’s cost.

  7. Jay:I can't imagine a smaller CUV until the RX gets a third row.

    That’s a good point. I’ve always considered the RX size, sitting between most competitors CUV & SUV sizes, as a benefit. Makes me think that that a long-wheelbase RX, or RXL, might be a good idea. It would certainly fit nicely into the lineup, and would serve to expand the RX’s already dominant market share.

  8. krew:That's a good point. I've always considered the RX size, sitting between most competitors CUV & SUV sizes, as a benefit. Makes me think that that a long-wheelbase RX, or RXL, might be a good idea. It would certainly fit nicely into the lineup, and would serve to expand the RX's already dominant market share.

    I completely agree smile

  9. @LEXUSBOY: I don’t know that Lexus is all that concerned about the LFA’s pricing, especially buyers look to be lining up regardless. I think that everything’s been lined up to make the LFA into an icon and to capture the imagination of younger buyers, and sales are almost beside the point.

  10. (Cj):An IS250/IS350 based CUV wouldn't be too bad. It would be the RX's sporty little brother, just like the IS is the ES's sporty little sibling. smile

    While I’m sure it would be looked on with much disdain by detractors, but I’d like to see something built that was in line with the RAV4. Perfect size, IMHO.

    (Cj):GS-F and LS-F seem to be a go, from what it sounds like, but this one line in the article makes it seem like the next SC won't be turned into a SL550 type vehicle:

    "While some of the technology in the LFA will work its way down into other Lexus models, the brand doesn't have a strategy to introduce ultra pricey, special-edition performance models."

    Even so it all sounds good and there seems to be a bright future for Lexus.

    I don’t know, I read it to mean that the SC & SC-F would be very much in the future plans, but not to expect any more vehicles like the LFA. (Cut the LFA price in half and you have a very nice $187,500—imagine the SC-F that could be built with that MSRP in mind.)