Last month, Business Week published a story detailing Lexus’ lack of success in Japan when compared to its German competitors. As a respected magazine, it was easy to take their findings at face value, but by using some actual numbers obtained from the Japanese Automotive Dealers Association, the story looks to have been sensationalized slightly.
First off, here’s the figures for Mercedes, BMW, Audi & Lexus for 2007 and the beginning of 2008 (January and February numbers):
Lexus was clearly outsold in 2007, however, Mercedes & BMW both boast a substantial advantage in one primary category: model types. Mercedes sells nineteen different models in Japan, a number that doesn’t take into account the different variations on each model (S450, S550, S600, etc.). BMW has a lot less at nine models, yet this still eclipses Lexus grand selection of four: the LS, GS, SC and IS. Also, it’s worth noting that Lexus doesn’t offer a single SUV in Japan.
But still, there’s no denying that Lexus was outsold by both BMW & Mercedes in 2007, by as much as 12,400, those are the numbers plain and simple.
However, looking at the 2008 numbers, where Lexus is only 8 cars behind Mercedes and close to 1,000 up on BMW, it’s hard to see how the car company isn’t improving in Japan. Time will tell if these numbers continue, but it’s hardly the doom and gloom painted by Business Week.