In an interview with Reuters at the Beijing Motor Show, Lexus International president Tokuo Fukuichi discussed the brand’s manufacturing future in China:
“The German Three have a brand image that they have cultivated over the past century in their long history, but Lexus is not in people’s minds like that yet,” said Fukuichi, who is also Toyota’s Senior Managing Officer, referring to Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
“Customers would leave us if we have any problems with quality because that is what they are seeking in a Lexus,” he told Reuters.
Fukuichi said that Lexus has been considering the possibility of manufacturing in China but no specifics were being discussed and nothing has been decided.
Its choice to import its vehicles into China, Lexus’s second biggest market, has kept prices high. The entry-level Lexus ES, the brand’s best-selling vehicle in China, has a starting price of about $57,700 there, compared to $36,620 in the United States.
In 2013, Lexus sold around 70,400 vehicles in China, up 16 percent from a year ago, according to data from LMC Automotive. Lexus does not disclose China sales figures.