The Lexus Minivan Thread (LM debuts in Shanghai on 4/16)

amoschen7

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MPV might not be a hot topic these days but Alphard is a big hit in east and Southeast Asia. And it is even considered a legit replacement of Mercedes S class in business environment. I’m not sure how would the US middle class think of a Lexus version of Alphard? Will you consider buying one for family?
 

spwolf

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MPV might not be a hot topic these days but Alphard is a big hit in east and Southeast Asia. And it is even considered a legit replacement of Mercedes S class in business environment. I’m not sure how would the US middle class think of a Lexus version of Alphard? Will you consider buying one for family?
it was discussed few years back when MPVs were popular and Lexus said they were not doing it... also that Mercedes thing failed too.

Now with MPVs not being that popular anymore, it is not going to happen.
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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Indeed, just over 4 years ago, Hans Griemel of Automotive News wrote a widely-quoted report on Asian Lexus dealers' clamor for a Lexus-branded luxury van. Lexus Enthusiast posted its own commentary article. Given the time elapsed from the original post, forum commentary is no longer available. Also worth noting is that Autoblog's commentary piece included a survey on how readers felt about the subject. Alas, survey results are no longer visible.

As spwolf noted above, Lexus executives nixed the idea, and the Mercedes R-Class' failure outside of China surely didn't help matters.
 

ssun30

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The Alphard is already very dominant in the VIP transport segment. Although I like the idea of a Lexus-badged Alphard, it won't add anything new. They have to make a business case of whether this Lexus MPV will attract customers outside of East Asia, and the answer is unfortunately no.

Stanced Alphards and Vellfires are an eyesore that litter the streets of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Imagine that with a spindle grille...
 

amoschen7

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Indeed, just over 4 years ago, Hans Griemel of Automotive News wrote a widely-quoted report on Asian Lexus dealers' clamor for a Lexus-branded luxury van. Lexus Enthusiast posted its own commentary article. Given the time elapsed from the original post, forum commentary is no longer available. Also worth noting is that Autoblog's commentary piece included a survey on how readers felt about the subject. Alas, survey results are no longer visible.

As spwolf noted above, Lexus executives nixed the idea, and the Mercedes R-Class' failure outside of China surely didn't help matters.
yea, I was really curious why did Mercedes R class failed. It is basically a ML class with more room and lower price. Maybe people are just too fascinated with the idea of a SUV?
 

amoschen7

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it was discussed few years back when MPVs were popular and Lexus said they were not doing it... also that Mercedes thing failed too.

Now with MPVs not being that popular anymore, it is not going to happen.
Yes, you are right in MPV not being a popular type anymore, but I’m thinking of it because it seemed more and more 7 seat SUVs are introduced around the world. And it makes sense to me that a MPV has better accessibility to the 3rd row than a SUV.
 

amoschen7

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The Alphard is already very dominant in the VIP transport segment. Although I like the idea of a Lexus-badged Alphard, it won't add anything new. They have to make a business case of whether this Lexus MPV will attract customers outside of East Asia, and the answer is unfortunately no.

Stanced Alphards and Vellfires are an eyesore that litter the streets of Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Imagine that with a spindle grille...
Maybe east Asia itself could justify a market? Like ES was introduced only in USA? Will Sienna buyer consider a upbuy?
 

ssun30

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Maybe east Asia itself could justify a market? Like ES was introduced only in USA? Will Sienna buyer consider a upbuy?
Like I've said it won't add anything new. The Alphard has that niche locked down and is already sold with a ridiculous mark-up. Changing to a Lexus badge will not have any effect whatsoever. Introducing a new name could even be counterproductive. Alphard is THE luxury VIP transport.

Unless you are proposing a low-end Alphard/high-end Lexus duo strategy to let the Alphard compete against say the Buick GL8 Avenir, Nissan Quest, or the MB V260 for more volume. But it just seems that Toyota is comfortable with occupying the top and let others fight in the less profitable segment.

Sienna buyers will not consider an Alphard since the two aren't really comparable. The Alphard competes against luxury sedans and SUVs. And it's very very obvious whether American business people are going to choose a van over a SUV.
 

ydooby

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What Lexus should offer instead is a competitor to the B-Class and the 2-series GT, both of which offer tons of room in a compact car, well suited to the needs of the European and Asian markets.
 

Ian Schmidt

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The original ES was based on the Camry Prominent aka Toyota Vista, which was sold in Japan prior to Lexus being announced at the '89 NAIAS. Second-gen rolled it out in Japan as the "Windom", and of course the "ES" called the "ES" didn't exist in Japan until Lexus was rolled out there.
 

mikeavelli

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I'm actually privy to come cool info in the van market through Toyota and working with Vankulture a bit. They are a van based car club I've been associated with since day one.

What I can share is Toyota was shocked at the ATP people were paying for Sienna's and even more shocked at the people who modify them. We are talking spending 50k on a Toyota Sienna then adding another 10k in modifications.

Here is the production we did together with Toyota's backing...


The behind the scenes explains a bit of the thinking behind some of these people


Without a doubt a Lexus van would sell if they made it.

As for the Alphard I've had some time in them in Japan and they are amazing. I just don't see the styling working here in the USA.
 

amoschen7

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What Lexus should offer instead is a competitor to the B-Class and the 2-series GT, both of which offer tons of room in a compact car, well suited to the needs of the European and Asian markets.
Is B class popular in Europe? I personally only spotted once on the street in China
 

amoschen7

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I'm actually privy to come cool info in the van market through Toyota and working with Vankulture a bit. They are a van based car club I've been associated with since day one.

What I can share is Toyota was shocked at the ATP people were paying for Sienna's and even more shocked at the people who modify them. We are talking spending 50k on a Toyota Sienna then adding another 10k in modifications.

Here is the production we did together with Toyota's backing...


The behind the scenes explains a bit of the thinking behind some of these people


Without a doubt a Lexus van would sell if they made it.

As for the Alphard I've had some time in them in Japan and they are amazing. I just don't see the styling working here in the USA.
Video is nicely done! Is that considered VIP style modification? I’m curious if there is a racing style too. You know, Mercedes offered a R class AMG:eek: how crazy is that!
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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The original ES was based on the Camry Prominent aka Toyota Vista, which was sold in Japan prior to Lexus being announced at the '89 NAIAS. Second-gen rolled it out in Japan as the "Windom", and of course the "ES" called the "ES" didn't exist in Japan until Lexus was rolled out there.
That's mostly correct, except that Lexus ES as such has never been sold in Japan, even after the Japanese Lexus rollout in 2005. "ES" was sold in Japan as the Toyota Windom from 2nd thru 4th generations. For 5th and outgoing 6th generations, Lexus ES was still built in Japan but never sold domestically. It seems that the upcoming 7ES will be the first-ever ES-badged Lexus sold in Japan.
 

mikeavelli

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Video is nicely done! Is that considered VIP style modification? I’m curious if there is a racing style too. You know, Mercedes offered a R class AMG:eek: how crazy is that!
Thanks. Some of the vans are VIP Inspired yes. Some of these guys put some serious money into modifying their vans. The R63 is as rare as it gets. That and the regular R-Class seems to have found a nice market of people looking for them. Maybe it was too early to debut, today it might find more success.
 

Joaquin Ruhi

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The R63 is as rare as it gets. That and the regular R-Class seems to have found a nice market of people looking for them. Maybe it was too early to debut, today it might find more success.
Exactly. I was always a huge fan of the Mercedes R-Class and never understood why it was such a flop outside China. As Mike says, perhaps it was too far ahead of its time and might have been more successful today.
 

Levi

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R Class was a much better car than M Class, which I view as a neither this nor that compromise, of an R Class and a G Class.
 

amoschen7

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R Class was a much better car than M Class, which I view as a neither this nor that compromise, of an R Class and a G Class.
I won’t comment on the build quality or mechanics of R class but the interior is a shame for luxury car today. It feels very plastic
 

Levi

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I won’t comment on the build quality or mechanics of R class but the interior is a shame for luxury car today. It feels very plastic
It was the same as the M Class, or any Mercedes of that generation.
 
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