Online Chat with Lexus USA’s Mark Templin (Live)


Lexus USA General Manager Mark Templin

With the Facebook & Twitter online chat with Lexus USA General Manager Mark Templin scheduled to begin in just under a hour from now, I thought it would be a good idea to set up a place to follow along.

I will be updating this post with direct quotes from the Q&A session, along with an auto-updating Twitter widget that will display the conversation in real time — both after the jump.


The questions have started on Facebook:

Eric Wisniewski via Social Car News: Smart Phones are becoming a standard for the well-equipped professional. Bluetooth integration for the phone is nice, but what are Lexus’ plans for full integration with the sound system (play and control digital content on the mobile device(s)) as well as access to the main vehicle screen(s) and controls? In short, what are your plans to provide us with full integration of our handheld devices with the interfaces of our Lexus vehicle?

Mark Templin: Good question Eric. At Lexus, we update our models every 5 or 6 years, but in the electronics world we see new things every 5 or 6 minutes, so it’s tough for all manufacturers to keep up. That said, this is a major area we’re addressing right now and we’ve already done some great things like being able to send 200 locations to your navigation system via your computer or mobile device. That said, I think we can do a much better job. The key for us is integrating this technology in a seamless way which you’ll certainly see in the future.

Lenzy King via Lexus Enthusiast: The Lexus quality & recall issues over the last year coupled with fierce and more nimble competitors has shaken my once unyielding defense of brand Lexus. What does Lexus plan to do to revitalize its current owner base and bring those who are jumping ship back into the fold?

Mark Templin: Thanks for being so loyal, Lenzy. We appreciate it and to answer your question, we’re going back to our roots, which is listening to our customers (just like we are doing right now) and giving them what they want. We’ve shifted a thousand of engineers to product R&D, building tons of prototypes and ensuring we have the best quality cars in the industry.

From Club Lexus: In recent press mentions, many Lexus executives have mentioned that the company is focused on offering more sport-oriented products. From your view, what does this mean? Are there plans to offer any additional coupes?

Mark Templin: I’m an enthusiast so to me sport orientation is about much more than just 0-60 times. It’s about seating position, the steering feel, the way the suspension holds the road, crisp shifts, and even the way the steering wheel feels in your hands. You will absolutely see more of this at Lexus. As for more coupes? I’d love it!

Mark Templin: We’re getting a lot of questions about how you can’t operate the Lexus navigation system while the car is at speed. I agree that sometimes that can get frustrating. And I confess, when we used to have a convoluted override system, I enabled it in all my cars. That way I could speed down the highway while talking on the phone and operating my nav system. Not too smart. Now I love our solution to this problem…all our cars come with Lexus Enform standard where all I have to do is push a button, get an operator and say where I’m going. The operator downloads the directions directly to my nav screen. It’s safer and whole lot easier.

Nathan Gardner: Could you could describe in one word what it means to the GM of Lexus since we’re the top selling (U.S.) luxury brand?

Mark Templin: In one word? Pressure. It’s always a lot easier to vie for the lead than to maintain it.

Mark Templin: I can relate to the question asked via My.IS — Will the 3rd-generation Lexus IS offer a manual transmission in conjunction with a more powerful engine than the current IS 250?

I feel your pain. I’m an enthusiast too and would love to have stick shifts in many of our cars. However, there may not be enough people like you and me out there. We need to determine how much demand there is before we make that decision. I’ll be going to Japan soon and I’ll be sure to tell them you asked!

Steve Shutz: As a happy owner of three Lexuses over the years (’90 LS400, ’04 LX470, and ’10 LX570), I’ve enjoyed the excellent service and amenities my dealer provides. Still, I can’t help but notice that your competitors have caught up with, and in some cases surpassed, what your dealers currently offer–I’m thinking of Lincoln’s just-announced free maintenance program and Hyundai’s complimentary iPads for Equus buyers. Does Lexus have anything in the pipeline to enhance the dealer experience, either during the sales process or afterwards?

Mark Templin: Thanks for being a loyal Lexus customer. First – when they say ‘free’ maintenance, nothing is truly free. We offer many complimentary programs that are part of the Lexus heritage, including:
* Two complimentary maintenance visits
* Loaner vehicles
* 4 Years of Roadside Assistance with Trip Interruption Protection
* 1 Year of Safety Connect
* 1 Year of Lexus Enform
* 90 days of Complimentary Satellite Radio
* The list goes on….
All with an unmatched Dealer network that provides the best in dealership experience in the industry.

Lisa Liu: I’ve noticed on the IS250 AWD, there’s a lot of brake dust on my front brakes..what is the cause of that? Is there a way to fix that? I’ve never seen so much brake dust!

Mark Templin: Unfortunately it’s not abnormal for a high level of break dust to accumulate. Break dust is one of the characteristics of a high performance break system that we commonly use.

James Pyles: I understand that there isn’t a significant market for it (in the luxury category), however, I was wondering if Lexus has ever considered producing a truck?

Mark Templin: We’ve had discussions about it in the past.

Donald Sean: Hi Mark, I know you can’t reveal a lot of details, but what can we expect design wise from Lexus in the next generations? Will Lexus continue to refine and evolve the L-Finesse philosophy or will Lexus take a different direction altogether?

Mark Templin: For our future vehicles, we’re really stepping up our performance attributes and our styling will be much more passionate. I think you’ll see that we’ll be taking L-Finesse to a whole new level.

Tom Mạc: You need to hire game interaction or sci-fi movie designers to design your computer interface screens. They currently look quite cheap and cheesy.

They SHOULD look sleek like “Minority Report” and be intuitive to use while driving.

Mark Templin: Lexus was part of Minority Report and it seemed so futuristic at the time, but now it’s reality…and we’ll be a part of that. Future generations of our screens will be sci fi for sure.

****

And that about wraps it up — I’ll be going back over the conversation to see if I missed anything.

Comments


  • FreeSpirit

    so

    i got what i want

    “Mark Templin: For our future vehicles, we’re really stepping up our performance attributes and our styling will be much more passionate. I think you’ll see that we’ll be taking L-Finesse to a whole new level.”

    hope to the exotic level to make toyota up in the luxury near-luxury categories

    kidding

    but really am so glad lexus ‘ll contiue in the L-Finesse core

  • Lexusman77 (Donald S.)

    @FreeSpirit: Lol good thing I asked about that styling question then.

  • Lexusman77

    @FreeSpirit: Good thing I asked about styling then haha. :-D

  • ThaDRD

    Somebody should tell the one person that there was a TSIB for the brake dust issue. She can get free brake pads that don’t dust up at all.

  • FreeSpirit

    @Lexusman77 (Donald S.):
    @Lexusman77:

    i hate waiting
    but for sure i feel exiting for the next designs of both TOYOTA & LEXUS
    so what am feel from his word is what i want
    and now i have more solid guessing that i might see it
    don’t kidding , i hope i can see that
    First TOYOTA
    1)the next COROLLA ‘ll hold as today hatchback 3 & 5 doors plus the sedan they ‘ll add a coupe and station wagon based on the sedan version and a cabriolet based on the hatchback one’s
    2)the AVENSIS may be deleted or may be shifted up as CAMRY 4 doors coupe and the CAMRY it’s self ‘ll be shifted up with AWD option don’t sure about the AURION name but the AVALON ‘ll have another generation based on AVENSIS as a long wheel drive to better compete with full size , the most thing i hope is the return of the SOLARA as a true sporty coupe and cabriolet variant of the CAMRY sedan also the CAMRY-ESTATE
    3)the MARK-X , CROWN & MAJESTA we may see them and TOYOTA already may give them to us with the NG (LEXUS IS&LEXUS GS) the MARK-X will be shortened lil bit and will vary in sedan , coupe & VERSO version as nowadays MARK-X ZIO ,both the CROWN & the MAJESTA ‘ll have only the sedan version
    4)the RAV-4 / VENZA & HIGHLANDER i guess the new style lines ‘ll be much more sporty which the thing all of you can see in their midlife face lift’s
    5)SIENNA , LC & NG-TUNDRA ‘ll have a hybrid variant
    Second LEXUS
    1)HS/ES
    not sure both will survive as the survive of both means TOYOTA ‘ll not be able to upgrade it’s own core brand to better compete with VW , HYUNDAI & others
    also they can’t be offer as 4WD or have a great engines updates as that means they ‘ll overlap the IS&GS target and after CT introduction i think the HS is totally useless also for ES if TOYOTA wants the better CAMRY which means better CAMRY better TOYOTA logo better sales and the forgotten RECALLS
    2)CT ‘ll have a sedan version plus a 3 doors hatchback and cabriolet and small CUV plus the coupe ” TOYOTA COROLLA brother ” it ‘ll not have station wagon
    3)IS we heard a confirmed word that the NG-IS ‘ll have a estate SPORT-CROSS variant and that estate line ‘ll be all hybrid also as we heard that their ‘ll be a coupe variant plus the cabriolet and sedan , i think we may not able to see the F-VARIANT of the coupe but hope they can make it
    4)GS is the IS grand brother and so it ‘ll have the same wheelbase so i guess we may see the same variants but lil bit long and lil bit different in design
    5)RX/JX my guessing for the RX that the new one may come in 2014 and may change it’s wheelbase to be RWD based on the IS and the JX will be the bigger brother based on the GS
    6)SC as you want to say i think it ‘ll SL competitor leaving the new rumored LS coupe LC as a coupe 4 seats CL competitor the trio (SC/LC/LS) ‘ll share a lot with each other
    7)the LX/GX ‘ll continues as only hybrid from the LC/(4RUNNER&PRADO)

    sorry for all that
    and hope you like it

  • http://TLE Shane From Australia

    Went for a drive with the family today and saw 3 Lexus’s … that is rare in this part of country Queensland, Australia where Toyota 4WD’s rule the roost.

    * IS250
    * RX450h
    * LS460

    My wife struggled to retain my excitement … ha, ha, ha !!

  • http://TLE Shane From Australia

    side note : i throughly enjoyed reading viewer questions and the answers from Mark Templin today.

    Thanks heaps to Mark for his time and ‘The Lexus Enthusiast’ for the coverage.

    Cheers

  • Eljay

    Is it just me,or does anybody else find the plans to make future Lexus models more “driver-oriented” and manual gearboxes being on the way out a bit of a contradiction? Not a bad word about Lexus “slush-boxes”,but being able to change gears manually is a very big part of what makes a car fun to drive by my definition.

  • FreeSpirit

    Eljay wrote:Is it just me,or does anybody else find the plans to make future Lexus models more “driver-oriented” and manual gearboxes being on the way out a bit of a contradiction? Not a bad word about Lexus “slush-boxes”,but being able to change gears manually is a very big part of what makes a car fun to drive by my definition.

    yeah i guess the same

  • http://TLE Shane From Australia

    Eljay : I understand exactly what you are saying however reality is most people (with that number increasing every year) are simply turning away from manual cars and opting for automatics which quite frankly are extremely well engineered units these days. My current car is a manual and it will be my last – automatic from my next car forth. Personally, changing gears has become a pain in the backside. If the demand for manual gearboxes continue to decline then car makers of all brands will find it increasingly difficult to justify and they need to look no further then he composition of vehicles sold with manual gearboxes as opposed to automatic transmissions. Many blokes i work with love high-horsepower, fast cars but just about all of them have auto’s with very few driving manual’s – that’s the market reality car makers are simply faced with in todays motoring world.

  • BlackDynamite

    What I’d like to see
    IS: I think the IS looks near-perfect right now! It DOES need more interior room, a stronger base engine, and manuals available with ALL engine and powertrains. Like BMW does with the 3, the IS’ reason for being
    GS: I’ve heard the GS will come this Spring, and will be lighter and stronger, more aggressive. Sounds good to me. Considering sales, I’m sure Lexus has something big in mind
    LS: According to reports, in 2013 (model year) a lighter LS arrives. That it will have 400 HP is a given. 0-60 in the low-fives is a class-requirement at this point. And the next LS Hybrid should get 25 MPG combined.

    I also want the HPX Concept built to replace the GX. A bigger RX would be much easier to sell. I view the current GX as a step back in style and appeal.

    I wouldn’t expect to see any manual trannies except on the IS. Putting on the base car only isn’t fair, and won’t show true demand. You can get a manual with much more power at BMW and Infiniti.
    BD:`-(

  • Eljay

    As much as I love Lexus cars,the future car model that I am the most excited about is this one:Rear-wheel drive hot-hatch :-)

  • Eljay

    Shane From Australia wrote:Eljay : I understand exactly what you are saying however reality is most people (with that number increasing every year) are simply turning away from manual cars and opting for automatics which quite frankly are extremely well engineered units these days. My current car is a manual and it will be my last – automatic from my next car forth. Personally, changing gears has become a pain in the backside. If the demand for manual gearboxes continue to decline then car makers of all brands will find it increasingly difficult to justify and they need to look no further then he composition of vehicles sold with manual gearboxes as opposed to automatic transmissions. Many blokes i work with love high-horsepower, fast cars but just about all of them have auto’s with very few driving manual’s – that’s the market reality car makers are simply faced with in todays motoring world.

    I’m sure you’re right,but with Lexus being in the position of power that they are;why follow trends when you can shape them? It’s somewhat typical of TMC to say they’re just following the market when they do things that displeases enthusiasts,such as canceling the MR2,Celica and Supra. What it really boils down to is cojones. (pardon my Spanish) The old “giving people what they want”-excuse just doesn’t fly with me.