Growing the Distance Between Lexus & Toyota

2013 Lexus ES

Bloomberg News has a feature on Lexus’ current transformation that reads as a nice companion to last week’s Automotive News article — as before, the whole article is worth reading, but here are some selected quotes:

“To conquer BMW and Mercedes drivers, we can’t just be looked at as an upgraded version of Toyota,” said Kiyotaka Ise, who took the helm of Lexus in 2007. “We want our brand to be chosen for its character and handling.”

“When BMW or Mercedes owners talk about their cars, what matters to them is that they own a BMW, a car that’s a part of that brand, not which model,” Lexus’s Ise said in an interview from Miyazaki, south of Tokyo, after a test drive for the GS.

There’s two separate points here — both of which show real strength of character for Lexus:

  • A Lexus executive mentioning any similarity between Lexus & Toyota is a rare occurrence, and Ise-san must feel confident this is no longer an issue to state it so publicly.
  • I like the balance between Lexus’ ambition of taking on BMW & Mercedes globally while still humbly acknowledging the work that the brand still has to do.

Also laughed out loud at this comment from Kazuo Ohara, a senior managing officer at Lexus:

…Lexus said it would rather be shunned by some buyers than be without a distinct identity.

“There will be lovers and there will be haters, but we are prepared for that,” Ohara said.

Read the full Bloomberg Article at Business Week