Automotive News recently spoke with John Iacono, owner of three Lexus dealerships in New York and chairman of the Lexus USA National Dealer Advisory Council — much of the interview is geared towards industry insiders, but there are some interesting moments:
Mercedes and BMW are dropping below the $30,000 sticker price. Should Lexus follow?
The jury is still out. I believe the Germans need to do that to comply with CAFE. Lexus doesn’t need to do that. We have Toyota to take care of that customer. Lexus can focus on what true luxury is. Those customers buying below-$30,000 cars are moving from nonluxury cars because it’s affordable — but they are not true luxury cars.
We’re seeing a four-cylinder turbo coming in the NX compact crossover. Is a four-cylinder turbo a proper engine for a luxury car?
The market is shifting, and the turbo four will be geared toward a younger buyer. It goes into the IS as well, and that car is for a step-up luxury buyer. If we execute it properly, like BMW did with its turbo, we want to be sure it’s the right one for the brand.
What do you think of the “Amazing in Motion” global marketing campaign?
It’s very different from what Lexus was. They have a new boutique in Tokyo and one to come in New York City. They are elevating the brand to have the aspirational part of Lexus to be one and the same with superluxury and what people feel when they hear the word “Lexus.” We were a North American brand, and now we’re going global. Mark Templin knows this market. Akio [Toyoda] is dialed in with making Lexus the No. 1 brand in the world. The new marketing fits in.