In an interview with Cars Guide, Lexus Australia CEO Sean Hanley gives an impassioned perspective into the brand’s stance on luxury, and what it means for consumers:
“There’s no-one better credentialed in Australia to run a retail volume campaign with Lexus if we wanted to, given our parent company (Toyota). If volume was all we wanted, we could activate a campaign tomorrow. But we don’t.
“We believe very clearly that in the future, luxury customers will want a point of difference. That point of difference will come in many and varied ways. You have to have a good exciting product, that stands to reason. You’ve got to have a brand that provides the level of recognition that the consumer expects.
“More important than anything, you have to provide service and an experience from the time they look your car up to the time they dispose of your car. It’s got to be exceptional. We believe we’ve got the customer experience pretty right. You can check whatever stats you like, independent or otherwise, we’ve got that right.”
“The uniqueness, the recognition and how they feel. If you sell your soul now and believe that luxury is at the front end and not for the lifecycle of the customer, then I think that’s a strategy that is fraught with danger. Good luck to the rest, if that’s what they want to do. It’s just not what Lexus wants to do.”
With competitors expanding their lineups in all directions, Lexus has to be feeling serious pressure to add more models — the NX and RC are excellent additions, but the lineup will still remain much smaller than its German counterparts.
The comments from Hanley are a perfect illustration of the new Lexus position — a brand that stands apart from the ongoing luxury vehicle sales war, focused more on the owner experience than competing on volume.
Gaps remain in the lineup even with two new models this year, but this is a smart strategy for Lexus right now. With other brands trading in their prestige for low-end model volume, Lexus is doing the exact opposite — at what point does BMW, Mercedes, & Audi cross the line from luxury to simply being a mass market premium brand?