Lexus UX: First GenerationTech

Lexus Popularity Soaring in China

Lexus UX 300e China Debut

The popularity of the Lexus brand in China should help parent company Toyota meet the country’s targets for eco-friendly vehicles — from the Nikkei Asian Review:

A proposal from China’s industry ministry on Tuesday calls for “new-energy vehicles” — electrics, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell autos — to comprise 25% of new vehicles sold in 2025, up from an estimated 6% in 2019.

Lexus ranked third after Porsche and BMW in the premium brand category in a study this year of the most appealing cars in China, conducted by U.S. market survey firm J.D. Power. Since Lexus cars are manufactured in Japan, quality control is relatively easy and Toyota can use “Made in Japan” in its sales pitch.

The UX 300e crossover will launch in the spring of 2020, just as the Chinese government will be reducing government subsidies for electric vehicles. Pricing has yet to be announced. After China, the UX 300e will be released in Europe, followed by a Japanese debut in early 2021.

AutoshowsUSA

Lexus USA Switching Auto Show Focus to Consumers

Lexus Auto Show

Lexus USA is shifting its auto show strategy away from expensive auto show vehicle reveals and will instead focus on consumers — from Automotive News:

“We are making adjustments,” said Bob Carter, head of sales for Toyota Motor North America. “Auto shows are still a critical part of the business, and they’re critical from a consumer perspective. Most buyers — 35 percent of the people who are going to buy a car in the next 12 months — stop by an auto show. It’s a very important place to communicate.”

“What you will see us do is align our investments to those shows relative to the size of the markets,” Carter said. “We’ll adjust the investment on media days, but to the consumer, it’s still the place to be.”

Lexus will continue to have a presence at auto shows, but will devote more resources to experiential marketing events like ride-and-drives instead of press conferences.

Carter also dropped this tidbit of information:

Carter said Toyota and Lexus planned to launch 31 new vehicles or derivatives of existing vehicles over the next three years — seven more than it had done over the previous 36-month period.

HistoryIn the News

LC Chief Engineer Takes Over as Lexus President

“Koji

LC chief engineer Koji Sato was been promoted to Lexus International president in an executive shakeup at the brand’s highest level.

Sato replaces Yoshihiro Sawa, who served as Lexus president since 2017. Sawa will remain with the company as a chief engineer.

Sato is best known as the chief engineer of the LC sports coupe and for his work developing the GA-L platform for rear-wheel drive Lexus vehicles, including the LS sedan. The appointment goes into effect on January 1st, 2020.

Sales ReportsUSA

Lexus November 2019 Sales Report

Lexus ES November Sales

USA

Lexus USA has reported 30,093 total sales for November 2019, a 9.4% increase over last year — here’s the model-by-model breakdown:

MONTH Year to Date (*DSR)
2019 2018 % CHG* 2019 2018 % CHG*
CT 0 0 0 0 4 ‐100
IS 1,006 1,830 -47.1 13,749 20,734 -33.9
RC 450 213 103.1 4,163 3,017 37.5
ES 4,545 4,222 3.5 46,311 43,099 7.1
GS 321 472 -34.6 3,113 6,017 -48.4
LS 529 902 -43.6 4,945 8,409 -41.4
LC 86 139 -40.5 1,105 1,827 -39.7
LFA 0 0 0 3 2 50
Total Cars 6,937 7,778 -14.2 73,389 83,109 -12.0
UX 1,590 0 0.0 14,792 0 0.0
NX 6,420 5,622 9.8 50,760 53,315 -5.1
RX 11,526 10,248 8.1 96,967 98,419 -1.8
GX 3,188 2,369 29.4 22,725 23,402 -3.2
LX 432 429 -3.2 4,156 4,541 -8.8
Total Trucks 23,156
18,668
19.3
189,400
179,677
5.0
Total Sales 30,093 26,446 9.4 262,789 262,786 -0.4

Please note, all percentages are calculated by the Daily Sales Rate (DSR), which takes into account the number of days in the month that dealerships could sell cars. November 2019 had 26 selling days, November 2018 had 25 selling days.

BrandingChinaUSA

Lexus President Concerned with Brand’s Global Positioning

Lexus LF-30 China

Lexus International president Yoshihiro Sawa is unsatisfied with the brand’s global position — from an Automotive News interview with Hans Greimel:

“Considering global sales volume, Lexus is still small,” Sawa said. “We have to compete with our limited volume. That is our difficulty.”

But Lexus is also struggling with a brand image that varies by market, Sawa said. In some markets, especially in Asia, Lexus is seen as a hip brand for young people. But not so much in others. In the U.S., Lexus enjoys high customer loyalty, but its average customer is in their 60s, Sawa said. In China and other Asian markets, the average customer age is in the 30s.

“They are completely different customers,” Sawa said. “We have to provide the same kind of brand image campaign, but we have to be careful about each nation’s activities.”

Herein lies the rub for the Lexus — momentum is starting to build in China, and releasing a region-specific minivan and the brand’s first EV is sure to generate excitement among customers. In the North America, the age of the lineup nearly matches its owner base.

JapanLexus LX: Third GenerationRumors

Next-Generation Lexus LX in 2021?

Lexus LX Mag-X Rendering

Japanese magazine Mag-X is reporting a 2021 release date for the next-generation Lexus LX — here’s the full page for the Japanese-speaking audience out there:

Lexus LX Mag-X Page

Outside of the new illustration, the information is fairly standard and expected — Mag-X claims the LX will be built on a new TGNA truck platform and will be powered by the twin-turbo V6 from the LS sedan. The estimated production date is October 2021.

3rd GenerationLexus RC F: First GenerationReviewsVideos

Matt Farah Reviews the Lexus RC F Track Edition

Lexus RC F TE Matt Farah

Matt Farah from Road & Track has spent some time with the Lexus RC F Track Edition, and has little positive to say:

It also costs nearly $97,000—four large more than the absolutely stunning, unapologetic, and brilliant LC500 and $10,000 more than the equally brilliant, but very subtle GSF sedan. On the track…it simply isn’t much fun, and certainly isn’t $30,000 more fun than the car on which it’s based.

Save your money and get a GS F or LC500 while Lexus still makes this phenomenal engine.

CanadaLexus UX: First GenerationTechUSA

Toyota Sees No Demand for EVs in North America

Lexus EV No Demand

Electrik has an incendiary interview Toyota North America general manager Jack Hollis about the company’s view on pure-electric vehicles:

Regarding EVs, fuel cell, plugin, and hybrid, we started investing in all four of those powertrains at about the same time.

All of these are part of the plan, but doing them in order of the consumer demand. And when you look at it, the demand for electric is less than it is on hybrid.

I don’t think there’s any proof in the marketplace that there’s a demand for EVs.

Hollis takes it even further, positing that consumers want fuel cells more than EVs:

How do you know there’s more demand for electric than fuel cells? It’s like hybrid when we started. There was the logic behind what a customer needs and how customers use vehicles. Would a person rather have to charge for three hours or fuel the vehicle in five minutes?

The use of batteries seems to be an area that the industry is looking into before the customer is ready. Toyota believes that we need to be able to go step by step ­– gasoline to hybrid to plugin to fuel cells and electric.

This appears a regional stance — Toyota will introduce pure-electric versions of the C-HR and Lexus UX in China and Europe next year, and EVs will play a huge role in Toyota’s sponsorship of the Tokyo Olympics next year.