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Today's edition of the <B>Los Angeles Times</B> contains an article on Lexus, which includes comments by General Manager Dennis Clements. Here are the highlights:<BR>
<P>Dennis Clements, 59, head of U.S. operations for Lexus...acknowledges that the brand's core market of aging boomers "is not a good one to build an image in."<BR>
<P>To keep the marque fresh and draw younger buyers, Lexus is redesigning its entire lineup over the next four years. "You'll see sportier cars, more powerful cars and trucks, [with] a wider range of engines," he said.<BR>
<P>Convertible and coupe versions of Lexus' sportiest car, the IS 300 sedan, are due as 2006 models, with a new Lexus sport wagon styled like a lower, leaner SUV expected in 2007. The wagon is the first of a series of new crossovers — wagon or SUV styles built on conventional passenger car platforms — that Lexus is planning, Clements said. Many will be offered both as conventional gasoline-engine vehicles and as hybrids.<BR>
<P>All-wheel drive will also become an option on most Lexus vehicles. And an electronic stability control system that the company claims is far ahead of anything now available will debut next year.<BR>
<P>"We intend to give our buyers best-in-class performance at all levels," Clements said.<BR>
<P>"Lexus, in a very quiet way, is a competitor with ruthlessly applied high standards," Cadillac spokesman Jeff Kuhlman said.<BR>
<P>For all the new Lexus models in the works, Clements talks a lot about the need to add a flagship vehicle priced at around $100,000.<BR>
<P>Lexus may also introduce a high-performance hybrid sports car that would wildly expand the boundaries of the hybrid genre, he said.<BR>
<P>"We may be a lap ahead of the competition, but we act like we're a lap behind," Clements said. "That's what makes us a tough competitor."<BR>
<P>For the full text of the article, check out <A HREF="http://www.is300.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=13397889"> this thread in the .NET Roundtable.</A>
 
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