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.

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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]


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