Lexus is planning to open luxury stores offering consumers goods like coffee cups and Italian leather bags to help boost the its brand image around the world. Lexus parent Toyota Motor Corp. is intending to open the first store in Tokyo's Aoyama district on Aug. 30, 2013, with similar outlets to be launched un New York and Dubai, the carmaker said in a statement. Lexus’ occupies a 331-square-meter (3,563 square-feet) space in Tokyo's Aoyama district and is situated along premium boutiques like Prada and Louis Vuitton.
The Aoyama store, designed by Masamichi Katayama, will feature a cafe, a garage, a shop and a library lounge serving modern "Tokyo-themed foods." Toyota said the store will provide consumers the Lexus experience "without getting behind a steering wheel."
Lexus’ latest move comes as the luxury marque tries to expand its presence around the world, after being unable to recover its premium sales crown in the United States from BMW and Mercedes-Benz for two straight years.
Takaki Nakanishi, founder of Nakanishi Research Institute, remarked that Lexus' successful debut in the US has yet to “transplanted” to its other markets, adding that its brand presence still needs “a lot of work” compared to BMW and other luxury brands.
He remarked that although sales gain could not be expected from simply opening a cafe, it is “definitely better than not having one." Lexus posted a 12-percent increase in sales in the US in the first seven months of 2013 to 141,446 units, outpacing BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the same period, according to industry researcher Autodata Corp. [source: Bloomberg]