Premium Japanese brand Lexus feels that China is not quite there yet in terms of vehicle manufacturing. A unique case, as other automakers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have all started manufacturing vehicles in that part of the world. The reason provided by Lexus is that Japan-made vehicles, were a guarantee of quality, Bloomberg reports.

For that, Lexus has to absorb pricey import taxes, and as such, most of its vehicles are priced higher than its competition in China. Takashi Yamamoto, executive vice president of Lexus International said, “there’s too much quality risk in China to produce there.” The executive, also an engineer for Toyota for 33 years now, added that the brand’s awareness and standing amongst consumers, was the main focus at the moment.

“When that difficulty is gone, maybe local production is likely to be launched in China, maybe several decades later,” Yamamoto indicated. The executive’s perceived view of China’s manufacturing quality however, is a disparity against data, which shows that China-made vehicles have improved over the years.

These improvements are said to be accredited to international automakers who have set up manufacturing plants in China. Knowledge-sharing and manufacturing processes are exchanged between these automakers and their Chinese JV partners. Analyst for J.D Power, Geoff Broderick said that more production line workers, increased automation, and standardised quality-control processes were key contributors to better quality.

“Chinese people, their history of building automobiles is rather short, so it’s so difficult to locally build a high-quality car there,” Yamamoto stated. That said, the Japanese brand holds a different perception of the Americans and Canadians. “They have a tradition, a history of building and manufacturing automobiles, so mentality-wise we have some common ground,” he said.

Lexus commenced production of the Lexus ES sedan in Kentucky, USA, last month together with another plant in Ontario, Canada. Both, are the only other production facilities that the brand has outside of Japan.

Yamamoto added that the brand could better control its prices and quality from home and through importing rather than manufacturing millions of vehicles in China. “If you shift to made-in-China, there could be some peripheral issues accompanied with this,” he concluded.

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