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LS 460 wins “Best Overall Comfort” in Ward’s Interior of the Year Awards

Seems like there’s no end to the awards and studies this week, next up: Ward’s 8th annual Interior of the Year Awards.

Ward's AutoWorld editors Tom Murphy and Drew Winter find ample leg room in Lexus LS 460 L.The only Lexus up for nomination was the LS 460, and it took third place in the Premium Priced Car category, behind the Infiniti G35 and the Jaguar XK. However, the LS 460 did walk away with the Best Overall Comfort speciality award.

Still, it’s too bad the Chrysler Sebring won the Best Cup Holder Award, that would have been one to hang up in the Lexus head office foyer.

Toyota Sells One Million Hybrids

Toyota announced that they have now sold 1 million hybrid vehicles worldwide, ten years after the introduction of the Prius. Here’s a breakdown of the individual vehicle sales:

Toyota Hybrid Numbers

As expected, the Prius was the biggest seller, making up 75% of the total. The entire Lexus lineup, which includes GS 450h, the RX 400h and the LS 600h, only accounted for 9.1%, with the remainder of the sales spread out among the Camry, the Alphard, and the Highlander.

Amazing totals, and with Toyota commanding 66% of the hybrid marketshare in America, that number can only be expected to grow faster and faster.

[Source: Yahoo!]

[Via: Carscoop]

Hyundai’s Azera vs. LS 460 Commercial

After the results of the Total Quality Index survey, I decided to do a little Hyundai Youtube surfing and found a recent Azera ad comparing it to the LS 460:

My personal disdain of Kelsey Grammer notwithstanding, and the fact that there are far more differences than similarities between the Azera and the LS 460, I can’t help but admire the marketing brilliance behind this commercial.

This advert was not made to sway potential LS 460 owners to a Hyundai, but rather as a way to associate the two cars, so that people looking for a $25,000-$30,000 believe they’re buying something on par with a Lexus.

I’m shocked to say it, but I’ll have to start paying closer attention to Hyundai. Their vehicles are extremely competent, and their management are utilizing tactics very similar to the ones Toyota employed when lauching Lexus. Smart stuff.

Total Quality Index: Lexus Results

Total Quality Awards Badge

Another study was released today, this one by San-Diego-based research firm Strategic Vision. Their Total Quality Index, or TQI, is considered the premier measure of new vehicle owner satisfaction, as it asks buyers to rate every aspect of the owner experience.

Lexus made a decent showing, with the RX 350 placing first in the Near Luxury SUV category, and the LS 430 coming in second in Luxury Cars. Other models didn’t fare so well in their segments: The GS 350/430 placed sixth in Luxury Cars, the IS 250/350 placed fifth and the ES 350 ninth in Near Luxury Cars. The remaining models didn’t even figure into the rankings, as their sample size was too small to be included.

The bigger news from this study was the lack of any Toyota-branded vehicles taking top spot in their respective segments, and more importantly, Hyundai coming away with three first place finishes. Hyundai has developed into a real threat for their competitors, and the results from this study add some serious credibility to the Korean manufacturer.

[Source: Strategic Vision]

[Via: Carscoop]

Lexus Places Second in J.D. Power 2007 Initial Quality Study

J.D. Power & Associates published the results of their 2007 Initial Quality Study, and Lexus placed second in the overall rankings, behind Porsche:

J.D. Power's 2007 Initial Quality Study Results

As you can see, it was a very close race, with Lexus owners reporting 94 problems per 100 Vehicles as compared to Porsche’s 91.

The individual vehicle results were less flattering, with only the RX 350/400h placing first in its class.

Midsize Premium Car

1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2. Lexus GS 350/430/450h 3. Infiniti M-Series/Volvo S80

Large Premium Car

1. Audi A8/Mercedes-Benz S-Class 3. Lexus LS 460

Premium Sports Car

1. Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 2. Porsche 911 3. Lexus SC 430

Midsize Premium MAV

1. Lexus RX 350/400h 2. Lincoln MKX 3. Lexus GX 470

As for the rest of the the Lexus lineup, the ES 350, IS 250/350 and GX 470 all failed to place in top three of their respective segments.

All in all, a strong showing for the brand, with just enough room for improvement to keep them on their toes.

[Source: J.D. Power]