Lexus is currently facing the same problem that Jaguar had identified in the recent few years. It simply hasn’t been able to attract younger buyers and the 45 year olds who fell for the Lexus brand when it was first introduced 20 years ago are now 65, and guess what, soon they won’t be in the position to buy any new Lexus cars!
Their solution is new entry level models such as the new HS250h Hybrid (which is really a Toyota Avensis). It is currently relying way too heavily on the RX SUV, which is really not surprising since it is a brand quite firmly planted in the American consumer tastebud. The front wheel drive HS must do well – and Lexus is taking all steps to make sure it does. It just embarked on a comprehensive in-store training program for all of the 228 Lexus dealerships in the US.
A hatchback model under the IS will not do it any good in the US where they like sedans and coupes and not hatches, but it could do wonders for the brand in hatchback-crazy Europe. Lexus aims to improve European sales to 150,000 units annually by 2015, but currently only commands 1% of the total market there.
There has been word for a long time now for a new Lexus hatchback, very likely to be based on the Toyota Auris/Blade. Internally, this project is called the C-Premium and it will rival the likes of the Audi A3 and the BMW 1-Series.
Personally, what are your luxury brand preferences right now? Would you buy a BMW, a Mercedes-Benz, an Audi or a Lexus?