Tags: Lexus | luxury | auto | show

Lexus US Growth Goals Tied to Boosting Pricier Car Offerings

Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 09:48 AM

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury line will expand U.S. sales by adding more high-priced cars to its lineup rather than by following German competitors racing to add sub-$30,000 models, the brand’s U.S. chief said.

Lexus deliveries, the top-selling U.S. premium brand for 11 years until falling behind Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in 2011, should rise 6 percent to about 290,000 this year, Jeff Bracken, Lexus manager for the region, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday.

At the event today, Toyota will show the RC F performance car, a luxury coupe with an engine that delivers more than 450 horsepower. While the company hasn’t disclosed pricing, it’s the type of “halo” model Lexus needs more of, said Bracken. Lexus’s least-expensive model is the CT hybrid, which begins at about $32,000 and “we won’t go below that,” Bracken said

“That’s where you’ll see our current lineup expanding, the types of models we have now, and up,” he said. “We don’t want to be adding any models below $30,000. That’s what the Toyota and Scion are for.”

While Lexus may not regain the luxury lead anytime soon, its U.S. business prospects have improved since 2012 as the yen weakened against the dollar, boosting the profitability of models imported from Japan. The addition of new models and styling helped boost sales 12 percent last year and will help get the brand back to the 300,000-unit annual volume it posted from 2005 until 2007, Bracken said.

Entry-level vehicles such as the $29,900 Mercedes-Benz CLA that helped the Daimler’s brand grow 14 percent last year, and Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit plan to introduce an A3 sedan this year matching CLA’s price.

The RC F, which replaces the $63,600 IS F sedan, will arrive later this year. The vehicle has an engine that will make it the “most powerful V-8 performance car ever developed” by the brand, Bracken said.

The U.S. sales unit for Lexus is in Torrance, California.

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Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus luxury line will expand U.S. sales by adding more high-priced cars to its lineup rather than by following German competitors racing to add sub-$30,000 models.
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Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 09:48 AM
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