East AsiaJapan

Is Lexus Planning to Build a Luxury Minivan?

Lexus Alphard Minivan

Lexus could bring a luxury minivan to market, according to Raymond Rodriguez, president of Lexus Manila — from Auto Industriya:

“It’s only a matter of time,” said Mr. Raymond Rodriguez, the president of Lexus Manila. “As a luxury auto maker, ayaw mag paiwan ng Lexus [Lexus does not want to be left behind].”

The chief executive of Lexus Manila said that a Lexus “Alphard” could be very successful in the market, if domestic sales figures -particularly the long waiting lists for the luxury van- are any indication. He also cited industry figures, particularly the Philippine sales of Mercedes-Benz vans: 105 units year to date. If Lexus can bring a van model with high levels of comfort and luxury, he said they can acquire a big chunk of that pie.

“Toyota has such a superior product like the Alphard,” continued the boss of LMI. “What more can you expect from Lexus?”

A minivan may run counter to the current Lexus focus on performance & design, but this is a popular segment outside of North America. In Japan, Eastern Europe and Asia, luxury minivans are used as a chauffeur-driven vehicle, providing a level of space and comfort that’s not available in the LS sedan or even the LX SUV. The whole idea is unlikely, but there’s no arguing its appeal.

(The photo above is the Toyota Alphard, as modified by Japanese tuner Modellista.)

Comments
M
  • M
  • October 9, 2018
Seems to reinforce Lexus' registering the "LM" series trade marks.
Not at all surprising, to be honest. Lexus could capitalise on Toyota's expertise in making minivans and people movers. Such a model could be successful in the Asian markets. But the difficulty, in my view, would be for Lexus to differentiate its eventual product from Toyota's offerings. The Alphard and Vellfire are already extremely luxurious. Lexus really has its work cut out.
Actually, if you read the trademark tea leaves, maybe the idea of a Lexus minivan may not be so far-fetched. As noted both here and on my Kaizen Factor blog, Toyota's latest seemingly Lexus-related trademarks are LQ (with no numbers attached), LM 300h and LM 350. What if LQ is for the production version of the LF-1 Limitless RWD-based crossover and LM 300h and LM 350 are for a GA-K platform Lexus minivan offshoot of the upcoming 4th-gen Toyota Sienna?
So I am true LM is the minivan LQ is the LF-1 production unit
maiaramdan
So I am true LM is the minivan LQ is the LF-1 production unit
That's all just educated guesswork and possibility, and not anything Lexus has officially confirmed.
M
  • M
  • October 9, 2018
Joaquin Ruhi
What if LQ is for the production version of the LF-1 Limitless RWD-based crossover
Toyota registering characters that seemingly conform with Lexus nomenclature really says nothing. I would always be careful when speculating. I have mentioned extensively a couple of times on these forums that letter-only registrations have not been used for at least 7 or 8 years now. It's likely that Toyota has other internal uses for these trademarks. Trade marks for Lexus models, if you look on TMView, Lexus model names of current times are always registered in "XX ###" format.

While LQ could be the production LF-1, my personal thought is that it is merely probable, rather than possible.
mwyf
Toyota registering characters that seemingly conform with Lexus nomenclature really says nothing. I would always be careful when speculating. I have mentioned extensively a couple of times on these forums that letter-only registrations have not been used for at least 7 or 8 years now. It's likely that Toyota has other internal uses for these trademarks. Trade marks for Lexus models, if you look on TMView, Lexus model names of current times are always registered in "XX ###" format.

While LQ could be the production LF-1, my personal thought is that it is merely probable, rather than possible.
You're right. I agree. We're on the same page on this.

Every time I discover a relevant new trademark and write a Kaizen Factor commentary piece, I'm careful to couch the article as informed speculation, rather than anything officially confirmed. You're even more correct about the slimmer likelihood of two letter-only Lexus-style trademarks without a 3-digit number seeing the light of day on a production vehicle. Note how I ended my Kaizen Factor piece on the LQ trademark:

Could LQ ultimately wind up in the trademark graveyard?
As we have done so often in the past, we remind you that the registration of a trademark is no guarantee of its eventual, actual use. And Lexus’ crossover-centric prefixes are particularly vulnerable. We have seen VX, JX and TX allowed to lapse and die unused. Might LQ, perhaps, see the same fate?
M
Hmmmmm, maybe my wife will finally buy a minivan.... :cool:
gotta admit some of those minivans sold in Japan are actually pretty cool looking. Not sure if the American market is ready for them.
meteoro
Hmmmmm, maybe my wife will finally buy a minivan.... :cool:
gotta admit some of those minivans sold in Japan are actually pretty cool looking. Not sure if the American market is ready for them.
If your wife's mentality is anything like I remember, you're going to have an uphill battle convincing her to drive a minivan, Lexus badge or not... :p
Joaquin Ruhi
Actually, if you read the trademark tea leaves, maybe the idea of a Lexus minivan may not be so far-fetched. As noted both here and on my Kaizen Factor blog, Toyota's latest seemingly Lexus-related trademarks are LQ (with no numbers attached), LM 300h and LM 350. What if LQ is for the production version of the LF-1 Limitless RWD-based crossover and LM 300h and LM 350 are for a GA-K platform Lexus minivan offshoot of the upcoming 4th-gen Toyota Sienna?
I remember when Lexus US said that they are not planning minivan Lexus.... so I thought it would never happen.

BUT

With Lexus push into Asia, that makes a lot of sense... it is going to make even more sense for them to do that minivan. It might not be offered everywhere, just like ES or LX were not offered everywhere.

Toyota is doing really good with luxury minivans in Asia... they sell far more of those than sedans. So it would make sense to make Lexus version in their continued push into getting more market share.
S
I'm a Chinese.
From the website of Trademark Office of The state administration for industry & commerce of P.R.C.
I get this screenshot,"LQ" is be registed with words "toyota".
M
  • M
  • October 10, 2018
shizhi
I'm a Chinese.
From the website of Trademark Office of The state administration for industry & commerce of P.R.C.
I get this screenshot,"LQ" is be registed with words "toyota".
That's extinguishes any doubts.
mwyf
That's extinguishes any doubts.
I hope so! A Lexus minivan may make all the sense in the world in Asia etc., but IMO it would be abandoning everything Lexus has worked for elsewhere for “no boring cars”. Unfortunately, nothing says “boring” better than a minivan.
L
I just haven't heard dealers begging for a Lexus van at all.

What I can share is Toyota was shocked to see OTD prices of the Sienna. Then they were even more shocked to see guys modify them and dump another 5-20k in them. We are talking 50-60k easy...I'm pretty tight with Vankulture, the biggest vanning club here expanding around the globe and learned a ton the past few years working with them and Toyota on the project below...

S
Minivan is becoming the preferred way of transport among business people in Asia. Sedans are just too impractical. A LM300h/LM350 combo will easily outsell the LS, and the LM350 can end up being more expensive than the LS500h in actual transaction price. The profit is just too lucrative to let pass. Lexus needs easy profit models like LX and LM to keep funding expensive prestige projects like LC and LS.

With a LM300h starting at ¥600k and LM350 starting at ¥800k I would be surprised they fail to push 500+ units a month. The Alphard currently sells 4,000 units a year (because that's about how many LHDs they make) with a mark up of close to 50% (!) and a wait list of 12 months. Dealerships are desparate enough that they have to import USDM Sienna to meet the demand.

If the LM doesn't have a market in US or Americans think it's boring, then don't sell it there.
R
  • R
    RAL
  • October 10, 2018
Welcome new member! @shizhi
mikeavelli
I just haven't heard dealers begging for a Lexus van at all.

What I can share is Toyota was shocked to see OTD prices of the Sienna. Then they were even more shocked to see guys modify them and dump another 5-20k in them. We are talking 50-60k easy...I'm pretty tight with Vankulture, the biggest vanning club here expanding around the globe and learned a ton the past few years working with them and Toyota on the project below...




Now while the transaction prices are there, does this make sense for Lexus? To this day the "Van" stigma is just bad to the general masses. Note the Benz R Class is gone.

I do think there is room in the market for it, a very niche product.
Well, I am amazed and pleased to see there are “cool” vans. Thanks for posting this!
A welcome to new member meteoro as well!
Joaquin Ruhi
That's all just educated guesswork and possibility, and not anything Lexus has officially confirmed.
https://www.carscoops.com/2018/10/company-president-says-select-markets-may-get-lexus-minivan/

I think we will see it soon
maiaramdan
https://www.carscoops.com/2018/10/company-president-says-select-markets-may-get-lexus-minivan/

I think we will see it soon
That's simply Carscoops regurgitating the Philippine Auto Industry story that started off this thread.
Oops
I really want even LHS from Alphared
The number of people who reply to that video with "if I knew vans could be that cool" should be a wake-up call for someone at Toyota. Offer a Sienna GR Edition with some performance and appearance mods and an adjustable air suspension rolling on Vossens and they'd do well I think.
Honestly, in history there are even sporty minivan, the renault espace f1 is amazing example
maiaramdan
Honestly, in history there are even sporty minivan, the renault espace f1 is amazing example
:heart_eyes::heart:
Ian Schmidt
The number of people who reply to that video with "if I knew vans could be that cool" should be a wake-up call for someone at Toyota. Offer a Sienna GR Edition with some performance and appearance mods and an adjustable air suspension rolling on Vossens and they'd do well I think.
Realistically not really at all. Vans are dead in Europe, and dying in NA. Luckily for TMC owners in USA, it is one of the largest markets for TMC, so Sienna will survive.

Sienna was one of the first ones with some kind of sport package, and AWD. I am sure next one will do Camry like XSE, but lets not fool ourselves about viability of MPV in western world.
Oh, I don't think they'll turn the tide on van sales or anything, but it might get a few people who'd otherwise buy an SUV into a more suitable vehicle.
S
The Alphard recently received a refresh with TSS (early this year for RHD and last month for LHD). I've neved checked Toyota JP before so I don't know if E-Four is new. But previously there was definitely a FWD-only hybrid. Now hybrids are E-Four only. The V6 is updated to the FKS variant. If I'm not mistaken the second row is also upgraded to even more luxurious seats (but not quite LS Executive level). We have reason to believe the LM is just around the corner given the LHD Alphard just received this refresh.
ssun30
The Alphard recently received a refresh with TSS (early this year for RHD and last month for LHD). I've neved checked Toyota JP before so I don't know if E-Four is new. But previously there was definitely a FWD-only hybrid. Now hybrids are E-Four only. The V6 is updated to the FKS variant. If I'm not mistaken the second row is also upgraded to even more luxurious seats (but not quite LS Executive level). We have reason to believe the LM is just around the corner given the LHD Alphard just received this refresh.
new TNGA based Alphard is coming in 2020....
S
The refreshed Alphard LHD is selling over 1.5k per month in China, for a vehicle that has a OTD price 30% higher than the LS.

spwolf
new TNGA based Alphard is coming in 2020....
Seeing how even a LS-priced minivan has such a strong demand. Now I'm hoping Toyota expand its van lineup more aggressively out of JDM. Dealerships are resorting to unofficial channels to import the HiAce, Previa, and Sienna to meet the demand. A full lineup of Sienta, Previa, Alphard and Lexus LM, all redesigned for TNGA, should add a lot of profit for them. They probably don't want to do HiAce anymore seeing how badly it worked last time.

S
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