Lexus is back in the US luxury sales race thanks to revamped IS sedan and GX SUV

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 9, 2014

Lexus was the best-selling carmaker in the United States for 11 years until 2011. Now, the market has been dominated by German luxury carmakers for three years in a row, with BMW pacing the pack. But Lexus is slowly but surely catching up. In fact, Lexus outsold Mercedes-Benz in May for the second time in five months.

It also managed to trim the lead of BMW to around 12,000 units in the year to date. The luxury unit of Toyota Motor Corp. might be able to trim the gap further as it is set introduce this year its first compact crossover, the NX, and the RC sports coupe.

Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus, told Bloomberg in an interview that the volume is not their goal, but “to do the right things." He said that it was nice to know that consumers are responding to the newly launched products.

Lexus is moving to be back in the game by introducing the revamped IS sedan and GX SUV, despite deciding not to launch entry-level models priced at less than $30,000, like when Mercedes rolled out the CLA.

Christopher Richter, an auto analyst at CLSA, told Bloomberg that Toyota has already made the argument that Lexus will not go down market, since it would risk diluting and lessening the brand.

Toyota produces all Lexus model in and ships them from Japan, save for the RX SUV. The Japanese yen’s 23-percent drop in value against the dollar in the past two years allowed Toyota and Lexus to increase their earnings from exports.

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