Although almost all big carmakers build cars in China, it appears that Lexus wants to stay off that club. The Japanese company owned by Toyota is not planning to open a plant in China due to the fact that all its models sold there are made overseas and hit by the country’s import duties.
Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin believes that the company is still in the “crawling” stage and they are not ready to build cars in China, yet. Lexus needs to build the brand in the country and this is their top priority.
For those who don’t know, the Japanese manufacturer arrived in China 10 years ago and its sales were so modest that the brand only recently began to disclose the figures. Back in 2013, Lexus sold 73,000 vehicles in China, 13 percent more than in 2012.
Other premium carmakers such as Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz already build their vehicles in China, while Acura and Infiniti already announced they will join them.
In order to make an idea about Lexus’ sales in China, you have to know that Audi is the leader on the market as it sold 492,000 vehicles last year, while BMW managed to sell 391,000 vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz is on the third place with 218,045 vehicles sold in 2013. Back in April, Lexus introduced at the Auto China 2014 the all-new NX crossover.
This will be a key model in boosting Lexus’ sales in China as it promises to be more agile than an SUV but also perfect for the crowded streets thanks to its compact dimensions. [source: automotive news - sub. required]