Originally intended primarily for the U.S. market, when it was launched for the 1990 model year, Lexus has since grown to become a world wide brand, but it's the global aspect that's causing headaches for parent company Toyota.
According to Karl Schlicht, general manager of Global Lexus marketing and product planning, "it's very simple when you've got one market," but "you have multiple regions now – like Europe wanting one direction, Japan another and China coming on, that gets complicated."
Schlicht's solution to this problem is what he sees as a type of progressive luxury, where social responsibility counts just as much as power and exclusivity, factors that can likely help the brand connect with a greater number of buyers in different parts of the world. To that end, future Lexus models will adopt more expressive styling, greater use of hybrid driveline technologies and onboard telematics.
In addition, Lexus will broaden the range of sport packages, offering them on the RX and new entry-level CT models as well as the IS sedan. These sport packages will incorporate different suspension and chassis tuning and where applicable, more performance oriented driveline features.
Also in the works is a new coupe, to replace the previous SC, along with some new SUVs, but while those are some of the things we can expect down the road, in the meantime and particularly here in the U.S., Lexus has it's eye on the number 1 luxury sales spot again for 2011, though Schlicht says that moving forward, they'll be less of an emphasis on the heavy incentives to move metal off the lots, though so far, it's been these very incentives that have enabled the brand to hold onto that coveted market position, ahead of BMW.
More: Lexus Planning More Expressive Styling, Sport Packages for Future Models