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


  1. That's a good thing too .
  2. I think we'll have a better understanding once the new LS and IS hit the market, and everybody has had a facelift to join the new brand identity. Lexus is on a righteous path...... BD
    • My understanding is that every model will have the spindle grille by the middle of 2014.
    • I believe EVERY Lexus model will have the new grille by the middle of next year. The last one will probably be the LFA, at some point down the road, so they can't say EVERY Lexus will be updated by next year...... BD
    • The Lf-A will not get the spindle grille. Or any other changes for that matter...
    • I don't see how the LFA could get an update -- a next-generation LFA, maybe, but not a facelift.
  3. Hmm... If Lexus can keep the cost down while improving the quality, then I'm all for this.
  4. If there aren't any haters on Lexus then Lexus would have made the perfect car
  5. I just don't know how people drool over german cars or italian. Fiat is part of ferrari so that makes a ferrari a POS. Volkswagon is audi so it makes all audis and bettle then? if they say lexus is a toyota?
    • Agreed, tired argument that only seems to apply to Lexus & Toyota -- as for why, well, I'm not getting into that discussion.
    • I've heard Porsche haters call a 911 a Beetle...... BD
    • By the way  if LEXUS guys themselves agree with your view  they will never make that step Honestly i may be the biggest LEXUS / TOYOTA enthusiast  and because of that a lot must happen inside both line up simply i feel it is a shame that Hyundai take the advantage to sell EQUUS / GENESIS outside S.Korea and still TOYOTA afraid to take that step with much much wanted CROWN / MARK-X outside JAPAN the simple truth TOYOTA must play in near LUX. to make LEXUS free in the UPPER LUX. that's it other than that TOYOTA / LEXUS board lie on themselves and i am happy they take that decision  
    • Um, Fiat is part of Ferrari? You mean Ferrari is part of the Fiat conglomerate. Big deal. Ferrari has a high degree of autonomy and independence despite being owned by Fiat. The fact that you're calling Ferrari a "POS" tells me you're pretty misinformed or are making use of silly biases. Likewise, Audi, despite being part of the huge VW group, has a lot of independence and control over their own products. Lexus is pretty much in the same boat as Audi being part of the Toyota Motor Corporation and enjoying a huge deal of independence. Both Audi and Lexus can use VW/Toyota parts if they wish. So what? VW and Toyota make excellent cars and engines etc. so if Audi and Lexus see a usage potential for these systems then so be it. And nowadays, with costs becoming ever more important, platform sharing is the best way to spread costs which is why VW developed three types of platforms for FWD, RWD and AWD cars to be shared across their brands from VW, Seat, Skoda, Audi to Bentley, Lamborghini etc. Mercedes is also working in this direction with a new FWD and RWD platform that will be shared across their model range in the future. Oh, and in the late '70s I owned a Fiat 124 Spider while in college. One of the most fun cars I've ever had. I never had a single mechanical problem with that car. I did all the basic maintenance myself and treated the car right. The biggest problem that car had was rust related, which is why I eventually had to get rid of it after it served me well for eight and a half years.
    • ahhh what lengths fanboys are willing to go to rep there brand typical...
    • This can also be said and translate into American cars----Cadillac=Chevy,  Lincoln=Ford, and at one time not long ago Mercedes=ChryslerDaimler
    • Mercedes never used Chrysler parts or platforms during the DaimlerChrysler era. It was the other way around: Chrysler received Mercedes' platforms and parts.
    • I don't know where you received your information, but that is the reverse. The plastic parts from Chrysler were carried into MB...that is when they hit record low dependabilty too. Research my is knowledge that was announced by MB executives before the split. MB reported that it was the worst decision to use parts and the Marriage between the two companies. As far as platforms you may be correct....but engine components and wiring were carried over.
    • I'm sorry but your information is false. The cost-cutting at Mercedes' started in the early 1990s long before the "merger" when Jurgen Schrempp came to power. He cut budgets for quality control and research and development and hence certain electrical components were not tested thoroughly enough. This is also the reason why the interior materials on MBs from that era were cheaper (but far better than the awful plastics used on Chryslers of the same time). Mercedes' products never received Chrysler wiring or components. It was the other way around: Chrysler received technology from Mercedes because Mercedes was the technically more advanced and sophisticated partner. It wouldn't make sense to rely on Chrysler technology to use in Mercedes' products.
    • Cost cutting was the only and focus reason.....You are truly wanting an argument here and I refuse. Your reasons are making sense....I am relying on articles from the past that verbally quoted executives who expressed the reasons I have stated earlier...I honestly would believe an official MB employee in a high positons statements over anyone elses comments.
    • Am I sensing a bit of a german bitch that can't get over the fact MB are rubbish from Lexus LVR
    •  Thanks for the uncalled for insult, kid. I've owned several Mercedes-Benz products over the years and I still do (2011 E350 Convertible). I've never found them to be rubbish products. If I did, I wouldn't buy them. It's that simple. Mercedes has strengths and weaknesses and so does Lexus. Nothing is perfect.
    • your welcome dick, maybe you buy mercedes because you like to show off to other people. 90% of people that buy mercedes is just because of the brand.
    • My apologies for not deleting Timothy's comment earlier, Lexus LVR -- totally uncalled for.
    • At no point is it acceptable to insult any commenter on this site. Please watch your tone in the future.
    • I don't want an argument at all. I am trying to clarify something. I have never come across evidence that suggests that Mercedes-Benz would make use of Chrysler mechanicals and electrical systems. Rather, there is more evidence that factually documents the use of Mercedes technology in Chrysler and Dodge products - not the other way around. Not a single Mercedes product that I know off used a Chrysler platform, engine, transmission or electrical component. What you are suggesting seems to be part of a silly Internet myth that suggests that Mercedes "used Chrysler components" just because the two companies were fused together at one point. Unless I see evidence that clearly states this, I'm not buying it as true.
    • As we all well know that American cars are junk have you seen the interior of there top american luxury compared to foreign luxury cars?
  6. I HATE when people say "it's just a Toyota wearing a tuxedo"(these comment's are often used by people that are biased or Lexus haters) or along those lines, I just want to mushroom slap them, they need to pull head from ass and use it for once!.
    • ignore them, they just want attention and theyre really not that creative recycling the same material on every comment board haha. Plus new VWs look a lot like Audis yet everyone thinks Audi isnt a "dressed up VW" an Audi is just as much a VW as Lexus is Toyota. Dont know why people care, the cars arent even similar. People are so ignorant haha
    • Lexus will be more Toyota when Lexus start using 4-cyl engines - like so many on this blog seems to cheer on - and "it's a dressed up Toyota" comments will increase.
    • 4-cylinder engines in Lexus means more choice for consumers and hence more appeal. The fact that Lexus doesn't have more engine choices means they're very uncompetitive in certain markets. There is no shame in driving a luxury car with a smaller engine. Most people want the luxury but don't want to spend extra money on fuel costs. Everywhere in the world this is readily accepted, only us Americans seem to have such a narrow minded and "stone age" outlook and viewpoint in this issue. I own a Lexus LS460 and if it had come with a V6 I would have gone for that engine. I want the luxury first and a modern V6 or even a 4-cylinder is a refined engine that is smooth and powerful and can be easily supplanted in a luxury sedan. I'm in Europe on business once every three to four months and I've rented the newest generation of 4-cylinder Mercedes C classes and Audi A4s: and I am impressed with their smoothness and refinement in most situations. These new 4-cylinders are amazing in every regard. Even the CT200h 4-cylinder seems to get good reviews. And yet most people are still living in the '70s and '80s and think that 4-cylinders are terrible engines. They're not.
    • In this day & age, there's no way a luxury car can be defined entirely by its engine. Every model in the Lexus lineup would benefit with a smaller displacement engine -- 4-cylinders in the IS/GS, V6 in the LS, and so on. In fact, I think this is the only way the brand builds any presence at all in Europe.
    • Haters gonna hate -- haha, that's why I loved the comment from Ohara-san.
  7. I think that Lexus should do like Audi, yes can be seen that is a 'expensive Volkswagen' but have it own ecosystem. I also think that Lexus must improve the bet in the european market, yes here we don't want so much big cars, but Lexus GS and LS are the revulsive here and win over Mercedes or Audi. If Lexus unveils cars with manual shift, or smaller like CT is going to be a best seller.
  8. Lexus does the best job of any automaker to separate their brand cars from the Mother brand. 
    •  Come on, Travis. You really going to tell me that a Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX570 don't look similar? Or the GX and its Toyota counterpart? The next generation of Lexus will definitely do a better job at getting rid of the Toyota image. But right now, right now, all big Lexus SUVs in my opinion look like badge engineered Toyotas: because they essentially are.
    • Yes, you are right. I'm tired of this 'strategy', Lexus seems to be just an expensive and/or luxury Toyota and not other brand. VW and Audi can be 'the same' (just see an Audi A6 and VW Passat, Audi Q7 and VW Touareg) but isn't so similar like Lexus LX and Toyota Land Cruiser. Fortunatelly now is a quite diferent, in the past was the same platform, same interiors and just diferent logo.
    • PG

       I understand your enthusiasm for Lexus and Toyota, but hey, come on. Lexus models were always closer to their Toyota counterparts than say Audis to VWs. The Germans do not have a single simple rebadge job, whereas Lexus has the LX, GX, and up to the current generation the ES. Furthermore, Audi is a separate company owned by Volkswagen AG, not just a distribution channel like Lexus. Anyhow, I am glad Lexus is getting more independent and is moving in the right direction.
  9. I just wish Lexus would skip all the parts that look all the same in Lexus an Toyotas, all the small things like the signal lever or the windshield lever they all basically look like it came from the 1900s. Come Lexus update the levers it looks ugly esp when on the 13 gs.
  10. I've been honest about how I do not like the ES, but from the picture above, that angle and lighting make it look so damn HOT! That is hella sexy.... I haven't seen one in person yet so we shall see.  99.9% of the people who say Lexus is judge a dressed up Toyota. Those are the people who are biased towards Detroit and German brands. Can't argue with those morons, I think they are serially racist towards Japanese cars period. I love BMW/Merc/Lexus... and despise-detest anything & everything under the Vw brand. Very happy in the direction Akio & Mark is taking Lexus. Rooting for them to smash on yucky audi's in the future. P.S They do need to specialize and pay closer attention to the European market if they want to make a dent. Providing an option for a manual gear box is the next biggest step in that market. 
    • Manuals are surely a thing of the past. Automatics have become so good that it does the job better(faster, smoother) than any human can. So no. Lexus does not need manual gearboxes at all.
    • Agree to disagree. Yes, Lexus needs to offer manual gearbox on IS-GS and most definitely on the F line models. If Aston, Merc, Beemer offer this option then Lexus needs to offer it. You cannot replace the mechanical feel and human interaction of shifting gears. Sporty/Luxury, nothing says that more than offering your customers a manual transmission. 
  11. Actually if they want really to growing the distance they MUST  1)Delete the ES  2)Switch the RX to be on IS chassis as direct X3/Q5 competitor 3)Switch the GX to be on GS chassis as direct X5/Q7 competitor 4)Delete LX or switch it to be X6/ZDX competitor 5)Real coupe and caprio to both IS/GS 6)Expand LS with a coupe to go for CL named is LC 7)SC must come back as 6 Seires/CLS/A7 competitor have even the four styles sedan , coupe , cabriolet & shooting brake 8) LFA must have a new generation with no limited edition and another smaller one as one go for Aventador and the other for Gallardo 9)The outgoing LFA engine MUST be shared among the line up espcially for LS-F, SC-F , GS-F  10)The GS & the IS MUST have Station Variant AKA Sport cross  **NO MORE BODY ON FRAME , NO MORE FWD BASED CARS** simply Italian / British high end style with German lineup variety
  12. haters never say a toyota is just another lexus. the purpose of these hater is down grading both the brands toyota and lexus. haters, hates true but haters also know lexus and toyota is the only threat to BMW and MERC. there is nothing wrong if toyota is assocciated with lexus or vise vesa. Lexus never let the web comments distruct you
  13. in some countries the toyota name boasts lexus sales. once u say it a toyota, immidiatly ppl know it a luxury car with reliabilty, u dont get that from BMW. if i was lexus  i would ingore the lexus is toyota comments.they said LFA is a toyota, then we remembered the LFA is going to be damn reliable. toyota name only helps lexus not the other way.
    • Thats correct. Toyota is a strong brand with a good rep.
    • Being part of Toyota is not something to be embarrassed. I mean, after all Toyota is the most successful automaker ever existed. Toyota means reliability, smoothness and outstanding customer care.
    • Absolutely agree with both of you -- I hate to read too deeply into Ise-san's comments, but I this is more about acknowledging that Lexus & Toyota should no longer have a shared visual design.
  14. It's getting out of control in here -- time to shut this thread down.