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Lexus to Expand Product Line Down-Market With More Entry-Level, Performance Vehicles

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With the ongoing recession every automaker has suffered a slide in sales, but the decline for Lexus has been more significant than at its German rivals with sales down 34.1 percent for the year so far. Lexus believes part of the reason is due to a reliance on up-market SUVs and the fact that the company's buyers tend to be from an older demographic.

To fix this, executives from Toyota's luxury arm have told Automotive News that in the future the company will look down-market to less expensive vehicles and younger buyers at higher volumes. Additionally, Lexus will put more focus on two opposing market segments: environmentally friendly cars, and performance vehicles.

The first step in this process is the new IS Convertible, followed by the HS250h dedicated hybrid. The automaker also wants to put a lot of focus back on the IS sedan. The performance issue has also been addressed as the company plans to build a 416hp IS-F Convertible.

The list of new vehicles will extend well beyond these, however, and with BMW seeing success with the 1 Series (and planning a long list of 1 Series variants), there is a strong possibility that Lexus will follow. It's hard to imagine Lexus would ignore an entry-level crossover that would compete with the BMW X1 and the upcoming Audi Q3.

This move by Lexus is somewhat expected as it is, to a certain extent, the same brand philosophy that Toyota follows. Recently Toyota's now-retired honorary chairman Shoichiro Toyoda blasted company executives for a dependence on large cars, trucks and SUVs, saying that Toyota should follow its traditional and successful path of small, economical vehicles. That philosophy will no doubt be enforced by the company's new CEO and Shoichiro's grandson, Akio Toyoda.

More: Report: Lexus to Expand Product Line Down-Market With More Entry-Level, Performance Vehicles on
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