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Debunking the Lexus Age Myth

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Not that I don’t trust the words of an outgoing executive, but Jim Farley’s comments last week in Automotive News seem to take a rather dark spin on Lexus’ future:

The news comes from former Lexus General Manager Jim Farley, who spoke with Automotive News prior to leaving his job last week to head to Ford. According to Farley, Lexus needs to “look very critically at the 30 to 40 year old customer.” As an example of how severe the situation is Farley explains that the Lexus ES 350’s average customer is aged 61, and their number-one occupation is “retired.” In fact, Farley revealed that 40% of Lexus buyers are over 60.

A study conducted by Power Information Network found that Lexus owners are older on average than all its rivals except Jaguar, Lincoln and Cadillac.

Ok, I can’t ignore it, why is a senior employee, only days away from leaving his job for a competitor, commenting on behalf of his former employer?

It’s very easy to turn this central fact around, as it means 60% of Lexus buyers are under 60, nevermind that using the ES as an example, a car targeted at older buyers, is a poor choice. Instead, let’s look at the luxury entry-level age:

The median age of people who bought a Mercedes C-Class in the first quarter this year was 47, according to data gleaned from J.D. Power & Associates Power Information Network, which parses dealership sales from around the country. By contrast, the average age of a buyer of BMW’s 3-Series cars was 42, while Lexus’ buyers for the IS averaged 41 years of age. The compact premium category average age is 45, per the consultancy.

So, Lexus has the lowest average age in the car class targeted expressly at a younger audience. What was Farley’s point again?

[Via: Motor Authority]