In a compelling twist, a Lexus executive has revealed that the luxury brand will debut an all new performance model early next year at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The company does plan on unveiling two new models at the prestigious event and while full details regarding both models are still unclear, Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken promises that it will not be a $30,000 entry level model which would be a clear barb at German rivals BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz who have entry level models in their lineups (the 2 Series, A3, and CLA respectively.) However we question the timing of this indirect snub, since Lexus is under pressure to regain some of the market share that it has gradually lost to its two key rivals BMW and Mercedes Benz which caused the Japanese company to slip into third place in 2013, and also ended a decade long stint as the leader of the luxury automobile market.
Lexus’s downfall can be attributed to its comfort over performance strategy, as well as the unveiling of sub $30,000 entry level models by its German rivals. For instance, Mercedes Benz has seen its sales significantly increase ever since it introduced the $29,900 CLA sedan which has so far done an excellent job capturing the youth market. However, Bracken claims that instead of embracing this strategy, Lexus can compete to reach the same demographic, but without lowering the price of admission nor downgradin the prestige of the brand.
“You will not see Lexus go down below $30,000 the executive claimed at a recent event where he was quoted by The Detroit Free Press. “For Lexus to be truly luxury the division needs to keep ourselves above $30,000”.
Instead the company will reach out to younger buyers by reinventing the driving dynamics of its product lineup, as well as providing slick state of the art exterior styling to keep itself visually fresh. For example the Spindle Grille has been a design element that has received heaps of praise by younger buyers despite some hesitance from older buyers that would have preferred a more conservative suit of clothes.
While year to date sales projections for 2014 will most likely see Mercedes Benz emerge in first, BMW in second, and Lexus down in third. Despite this, the Japanese luxury brand is slowly catching up to second place BMW, but more will need to be done if it aims to knock off Mercedes from its lofty 1st place perch.