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Is Lexus Considering Manufacturing Vehicles in the USA?

Lexus ES 350

Fortune has published an article examining the possibility of some Lexus production moving to the USA:

So far Akio Toyoda has is hinting at moving only compact-car production outside the U.S., as well as buying more parts manufactured outside the country. But Lexus production, which is aimed mostly at U.S. buyers could be another category targeted for a move. Two of Lexus’s three German competitors have expanded production of Mercedes-Benz and BMW models in the U.S.

More than mere economics are in play. “I’m sitting on the fence,” said Mark Templin, head of Toyota’s Lexus brand in the U.S. “This is a complex decision that would come from Japan. But we could build more Lexuses here.” Templin said Toyota’s “pride,” which stems from manufacturing its most prestigious models in its home country, would be difficult to overcome if it decides to shift more Lexus models overseas.

With the yen performing so strongly, there’s no question the squeeze is on for all Japanese vehicle manufacturers — however, I have to believe Lexus will have the most difficulty shifting production outside of Japan. The “pride” that Mark Templin describes is not just an internal force within Lexus, but also something that plenty of Lexus owners share.

In the end, it comes down to volume, and with Lexus that means three models: the RX, ES & IS. With the RX already being manufactured at the Cambridge plant in Canada, that leaves the two sedans as possible transplants.

However, considering the IS is a vehicle sold around the world and the ES is mainly for the North American (and interestingly, the Chinese) markets, and then factoring in the Camry plant in Kentucky that’s already building the 2GS-FE V6 engine used in the ES 350, and the most sensible option quickly becomes clear.

All speculation, of course, but at from where I’m sitting, shifting at least some of the ES production to the USA makes a certain amount of sense.

[Source: Fortune]

Comments
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    jruhi4
  • December 7, 2011
I definitely agree that building ES in North America (be it in Canada or in Kentucky) and expanding RX production in Canada are the likeliest, most logical options. Besides IS production in North America, another less likely, more "dark horse" option would be building CT in Europe, given its loose ties with the Toyota Auris and Avensis models being built in the U.K.
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    Wunko
  • December 7, 2011
If they decide to do this for more models, I would hope the quality of the vehicles would still be good. 
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Oh man... The ES 300 that were illegally imported into China back in 1992 were REALLY expensive. If you arrived in an ES, all heads were facing you; in fact, if you had a car at all, all the attention would be on you. That second-generation ES was a thing of beauty.
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    F1
  • December 8, 2011
But the IS engine doesn't have any production in U.S.. 2GR-FSE
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    Sith
  • December 8, 2011
If they smart they rising  the RXs production in Canada up to 100.000. And the ES production in Kentucky so likely 30.000 - 40.000  pieces. This should be enough for the North  America unit.
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    Shane From Australia
  • December 8, 2011
att : Krew - Isn't the engine 2GR-FE and not 2GS-FE as mentioned in the article. 2GR-FE - Standard port injected 3.5 v6. 2GR-FSE - Port and Direct Injected 3.5 v6 2GR-FXE - Atkinson cycle derivative of the 3.5 v6 (for hybrids) 2GR-FZE - Supercharged version as used in the TRD Aurion and Lotus Evora As you can see, i really like the 2GR engine - i personally believe it is amoung the best and most versatile donk in the world.  Cheers
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      F1
    • December 8, 2011
    Yeah the 2GR engines are a work of art, they're extremley smooth, quiet and yet are very very powerful
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    Clubae86
  • December 9, 2011
Please don't bring production of Lexus lineup to US.   As I've seen various companies that have done so, translated to poorer initial quality, Worse Styling/design (Acura as a good example) 
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    Danny Y Harada
  • December 22, 2011
Please keep the production in Japan.

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