I’ve yet to find out the source of these Lexus IS-F videos, or even to really grasp their purpose, but a Youtube user has posted up a set of the long and quiet clips, which almost simulates what the car would be like to drive:
Automotive News has a great interview with Stefan Smith, chairman of the Lexus National Dealer Advisory Council, which gives a very open view at how the dealerships feel about the recent increase in recalls and what kind of vehicles they’d like to see next:
What challenges do Lexus dealers face in the next year?
We don’t have any new product launches to speak of in 2008. We have the new LX 570, which replaces the LX 470 sport-utility. Then we have the launch of the “F,” which is the performance element that Lexus is getting into. We hope it will compete with BMW M series and Mercedes AMG. But those are small numbers.
In our core product — like ES and RX, IS — we don’t have anything new for ‘08. So we’re going to go through the entire year with virtually no new products. That’s the biggest challenge I would say that we have.
What’s missing in the Lexus lineup?
We have asked for and not gotten a sport-utility that would compete with, say, (Cadillac) Escalade or a (Chevrolet) Suburban-type vehicle. We’d like a vehicle with two captain’s chairs in the second row where you can walk through to get to the third row. And then third-row seats that fold down flat. We’ve never gotten there.
What does the factory need to do to help you sell more vehicles?
There are some segments of the market Lexus doesn’t compete in as well as we would like. The GS 350 vs. the BMW 5 series — we don’t compete that well in that segment. Would we like to? Sure. Do we compete in other segments and have an advantage? Yes, we do.
You’d like to have cars that are great in every segment, but you can’t be everything to everybody.
There’s plenty more to the interview, as well. There’s certainly no cause to doubt Stefan Smith’s honesty, he’s quite clearly a straight shooter and not one to mince words.
I do find his talk of dealers wanting a Escalade competitor surprising, considering that you could make a case for either the GX or LX fitting the bill. Admittedly, both lack the seating arrangement he mentioned.
(Photo above is Stefan Smith’s Lexus of Memphis dealership, where he’s also the general manager.)
[Source: Automotive News]
Before launching this site in June 2007, I made up a list of rules that I wanted to follow, and the very first thing I wrote down was “Leave the site design alone for six months.” As a professional web designer, I have a tendency to tweak sites obsessively, but in this case I wanted to focus strictly on content, make sure I could keep the site going, really just get used to having a daily updated site. (I did break the rule once, when I switched the color scheme from blue to grey, but that was fairly minor.)
But now, a little more than seven months since the first post, the site is read by 1,900 people every day, and it’s time to take it to the next level. To that end, I’m currently developing the next version of The Passionate Pursuit, something much deeper and ambitious than what exists right now.
Rest assured, the change won’t be drastic by any means, and daily Lexus news will continue to be the primary focus. Rather, the new version will be a natural progression, with an emphasis on building up a significant Lexus information database (like the Lexus Body Kit series, but much, much bigger). There’s other improvements as well, but I don’t want to give away the whole surprise.
The new version is still about two weeks from completion, but I thought it might explain why I’ve only been covering the major news lately.
The new Lexus Power of H commercial debuted yesterday, and today has surfaced on Youtube:
After reading the synopsis released a couple days ago, I wasn’t sure how the commercial was going to pan out, but the idea is fairly strong and well executed. Most important is that Lexus has moved away from touting the “green” features of hybrids, there isn’t an environmental tone at all. At first, this confused me, I wasn’t sure what the commercial was actually saying, but I was looking at it the wrong way. The general public already knows about hybrid technology and its benefits, but they might not realize how many hybrids Lexus has available. This is really about brand awareness, not technology awareness.
Also, just a note about Youtube videos — I’ve gotten some emails from people digging through my archives only to find that Lexus commercials and video clips are no longer available due to copyright infringement. There isn’t much I can do about this, save hosting the videos myself, and all that would do is bring Lexus’ lawyers to my doorstep. My advice is watch early, you never know when the clip is going to disappear.
I was hoping to debut a cool graphing feature for Lexus sales data this month, but frustration and timing has finally gotten the best of me, so here’s the data in a plain old chart:
With the exception of the newly released LX 570 and slight increases in GS 460/450h and RX 350/400h sales, it was a down month. In particular, LS sales dropped substantially, 36.6% less than January 2007.
Overall truck sales were strong enough to lessen the 17.7% decrease in car sales, but it’s still a big enough drop to start taking the automotive industry’s forecasts for a slow 2008 to heart.