Lexus, the luxury car unit of Toyota Motor Corp., announced that it may fail to achieve its sales target for the United States this year. According to Kazuo Ohara, executive vice president for Lexus, the luxury brand’s sales in the US are slightly behind the set targets. Ohara said that Lexus’ ES model, which was introduced in August 2012, may help boost the brand’s US sales for the rest of 2012. Ohara said in an interview with Bloomberg in Tokyo, Japan, that Lexus has targeted to sell around 250,000 luxury vehicles for 2012, but the goal is now “looking to be tough," Lexus’ performance in the US, its largest market, was negatively affected by the stiffer competition posed by its luxury car rivals like BMW.
Toyota this week posted its largest decline in sales in China since 2008, and announced a global recall for around 7.43 million Toyota-badged vehicles for a faulty power-window switch. Toyota, which was toppled in 2011 by General Motors Co. as the world’s largest carmaker, is aiming to post a strong comeback this year, forecasting total global sales of around 9.76 million units, or equivalent to a 23-percent growth over last year.
Toyota’s current priority for Lexus is to have the luxury brand regain its lost market share, since the latter’s vehicles fetch higher prices than Toyota-brand cars. According to Autodata Corp., the annual target for Lexus sales in the U.S. is around 46 percent higher than deliveries in the first nine months of 2012, which is about 170,990 units.