Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

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Thread: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

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    Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer Tue Jul 26, 6:34 AM ET

    TOKYO - Bow-tied waiters held trays of mineral water and chic ambient music filled the air as Toyota unveiled the three models Tuesday that will mark the introduction of the Lexus luxury brand in Japan, 16 years after it was rolled out in the United States.
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    For a combination of cultural and business reasons, Japan's No. 1 carmaker has until now avoided using the Lexus brand in its homeland, choosing instead to sell many of the same models under its trusted Toyota name.

    For years, conformist Japan has lived under the ideal that everyone is middle class, and most people tended to shun flashy or luxury cars that stand out.

    But Toyota officials say Japan is changing, and a growing upper class is willing to spend — though how the new brand will fare in this notoriously finicky consumer market is uncertain.

    Toyota Motor Corp. says it's trying to sell more than a car. It wants to give customers "an experience," and set up luxurious-looking dealerships, complete with leather furniture and hotel-quality service, especially for the Lexus. The showrooms open Aug. 30.

    "This is the realization of our dream to create a global luxury brand," Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters at a giant tent pitched in a Tokyo park, similar to tents for fashion shows and other gala events here. "This is something we have wanted for many years."

    The Lexus models sold in Japan, which were known here as the Toyota Aristo, Soarer and Altezza, are slightly different from — and cheaper than — the sedan models shown Tuesday, the GS430/GS350, SC430 and IS350/250, priced as much as $61,000.

    Toyota is counting on the success Lexus scored since its debut in 1989 in the United States, including excellent J.D. Power and Associates rankings, to woo rich Japanese, who now buy imports such as BMW and Mercedes Benz.

    Toyota, based in Toyota city, in central Japan, has set up a special training center to groom classy, courteous dealers to sell the Lexus brand in Japan. That's proved a challenge because Japanese dealers are already superior to what people are used to in the United States and other nations.

    Watanabe said Toyota is targeting 3,000 vehicles a month sales for the three models combined, and other Lexus models will start selling in coming years, including a hybrid GS next year. Toyota sold 7,900 of the planned Lexus three models combined last year in Japan as Toyotas.

    This year, Toyota expects to sell 84,000 vehicles of the three new Lexus models around the world, 20,000 of them in Japan, Watanabe said. Next year, that the company hopes that will climb to 500,000 worldwide for all Lexus models — 50,000 to 60,000 in Japan, he said.

    Toyota sold more than 358,000 Lexus vehicles around the world last year, about 80 percent of them in North America. Since 1989, Lexus global sales have totaled more than 2.7 million.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050726/...n_toyota_lexus

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Very nice.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Yeah, I read that article. It is nice to see Toyota build Lexus into a global luxury brand. Maybe it will eventually become the dominant luxury brand in the world. It surely has done its job in this country. Now the rest of the world should experience it!

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    I dont see what the difference will be, if they already sell the cars there under the toyota brand, wont this be like Ford/Mercury, Chevy/Pontiac, etc clones, same car difference features.. Is toyota taking up badge engineering

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    10 bucks says they won't use a British(ish) accent in the ads (like here)!

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    OK... so here's the big question... What's to differentiate between Aristo, Soarer and Altezza and the Lexus counterparts?? It was my understanding that they were rebadges in the first place!

    Looks to me like a similarity between the old Chevy/Cadillacs of the 80's.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by oudidntkn0w
    I dont see what the difference will be, if they already sell the cars there under the toyota brand, wont this be like Ford/Mercury, Chevy/Pontiac, etc clones, same car difference features.. Is toyota taking up badge engineering
    No. Starting with the GS and IS, all Lexuses will be strictly Lexus -- no Toyota equivalents. So the Lexus being rebadged Toyotas arguement will no longer fly with the new ones.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti Z350
    No. Starting with the GS and IS, all Lexuses will be strictly Lexus -- no Toyota equivalents. So the Lexus being rebadged Toyotas arguement will no longer fly with the new ones.
    OK i was just wondering how they were gonna pull it off. So basically that would be like GM taking chevys away from the brand and rebadging them as a caddy INGENIOUS TOYOTA!
    Last edited by oudidntkn0w; 07-26-2005 at 06:45 PM.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Yea, what happens to the Toyota Altezza? Are they cancelling it, or is it going to get its own exterior, interior, and drivetrain to differentiate it from the new-for-Japan Lexus IS?
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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Infiniti Z350
    No. Starting with the GS and IS, all Lexuses will be strictly Lexus -- no Toyota equivalents. So the Lexus being rebadged Toyotas arguement will no longer fly with the new ones.

    Oh yeah... I forgot about that.
    They still look identical though. And the ES will still be riding on the Camry platform for some time before it transfers out.

    All the more reason Cadillac should not share Sigma and Sigma II with anyone else.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralViscen
    Yea, what happens to the Toyota Altezza? Are they cancelling it, or is it going to get its own exterior, interior, and drivetrain to differentiate it from the new-for-Japan Lexus IS?
    altezza which was the IS is now gone, they will only have the IS
    same goes for the aristo which was the GS, and the soarer which was the SC

    soon the next gen models will follow suit, so there won't be the same car as a lexus and a toyota

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    I think the point that Americans miss is the difference in marketing in Japan and the US. While all Toyota products (not counting Daihatsu or Hino) are badged as Toyotas, they are (were) marketed through five different dealerships. It's kinda like selling "GM" brand vehicles through Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Saturn, and Cadillac dealers. It's not like in America where a Toyota is a mainstream (and ONLY mainstream) brand; in Japan, they can be all levels at the same time.

    Now, Toyota had decided to make Lexus a global brand in all markets including Japan. Previously, there were Toyota models that were exported as Lexus models. Now, they will be Lexus models everywhere.

    While the Lexus ES shares a platform with the Toyota Camry, the ES was never a Camry...it's always been the Toyota Windom. GM has always shared platforms with GM (currently, GMT800 and G-body are shared with Cadillac and other brands), so it's not a problem. It's all in what you do with that platform. The ES is definitely a Lexus.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Hudson
    The ES is definitely a Lexus.*
    *Japanese Toyota.
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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by oudidntkn0w
    OK i was just wondering how they were gonna pull it off. So basically that would be like GM taking chevys away from the brand and rebadging them as a caddy INGENIOUS TOYOTA!
    Previously, Lexus models were just top-of-the-line JDM Toyotas with an absurd attention to detail. GS was the Aristo, LS was the Celsior, ES was the Windom, IS was the Altezza, GX was the Land Cruiser Prado, LX, was the Land Cruiser Cygnus, RX was the Harrier, and SC was the Soarer. Lexus models will now be only known as Lexus throughout the entire world. Starting with the new GS and IS, you won't find a Toyota-badged version with that same body style nor configuartion anywhere.

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    Re: Toyota Introducing Lexus Brand to Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by mgescuro
    Oh yeah... I forgot about that.
    They still look identical though. And the ES will still be riding on the Camry platform for some time before it transfers out.

    All the more reason Cadillac should not share Sigma and Sigma II with anyone else.
    That's where Toyota isn't GM......even though they share platforms, the cars drive and feel completly different. Not to mention that there is more then just a badge switch to the exterior, they are modified to look alot more upscale as well as the interior looks different. So it shouldn't be an issue......

    Compare that to the Impala and LaCrosse...where the exteriors look different, the interiors are almost identical.(minus woodgrain)

    A platform share that GM should get props for is the Saab 9-3 on the Epsilon, really looks nothing like anything else it shares with, sideprofile is same, but that's almost impossible to get rid of.


    I do however think that Saab should get a Sigma platform in the 9-5 to allow it to go more upscale, larger, powerful and handle better. Makes sense considering Saab is GM's European/Global luxury unit, and the platform like the 9-3 could be modified to look completely different

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