Lexus in Japan
As the August 30th date of Lexus' launch in Japan approaches, we can expect to see several articles about what the Japanese will experience at their Lexus dealers. Here's the first, from The Detroit News' Autos Insider:
Toyota introducing Lexus in home Japan market to boost brand
By Yuri Kageyama / AP Business Writer
TOKYO - Toyota is bringing back home to Japan its Lexus luxury brand, which has marked big success in the United States, with 150 dealers opening nationwide by the end of the year, the Japanese automaker said Thursday.
Toyota Motor Corp. is eager to strengthen its image by promoting the Lexus in Japan, where it's still largely unknown and most luxury car buyers still prefer European brands like BMW and Mercedes Benz.
Takeshi Yoshida, overseeing Lexus development, said the brand will differentiate itself from European rivals that boast a historical legacy by appealing to younger buyers who aren't afraid to assert their Japanese identities and sensibilities.
"The Lexus hopes to grow into a younger premium brand for Japanese of the 21st Century with new values," he said.
The world's second largest automaker invited reporters Thursday to a Tokyo Lexus dealer, set to open Aug. 30, a shimmering white showroom of glass walls and leather couches that Toyota said will showcase the best in customer service.
Among the perks buyers can expect is a 24-hour helpline phone service, reached with a touch of a button on the dashboard, which will provide tow-trucks in accidents _ and even make restaurant reservations like a concierge.
Owners will also get Net-linking services, such as having a message sent to your mobile phone if someone breaks into your Lexus.
Toyota won't say how many cars it's targeting to sell through Lexus dealerships or how much it's investing in the effort.
Kyoji Sasazu, senior managing director, says Toyota has learned a lot from its Lexus success in the United States such as financing and insurance policies, as well as how dealers should treat customers.
And the best of what they learn in Japan may be brought back to America, he said. "Japanese are even more picky about service," Sasazu said.
The automaker, based in Toyota city, has been recording booming profits in recent years, gaining market share in both the United States and Japan.
But it appears serious about making its brand mean more than the everyman Corolla in Japan. It has set up a facility to train dealers so visitors will get service comparable to top hotels and luxury-brand shops, officials say.
Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard