Can passion cure the blues for Lexus?
It’s been a tough year for the upscale arm of Toyota, Lexus likely to lose its long standing as the nation’s best-selling luxury automotive brand due to production shortages that followed the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March. But Lexus has other challenges to deal with as it struggles to regain its status as king-of-the-hill. Competition in the luxury market continues to increase – not only from existing automakers but also from new competitors like Hyundai, which last year launched its first premium luxury sedan, the Equus.
So, Lexus is setting out to redefine itself with new products like the 2013 GS sedan, a model designed to “start adding driving dynamics,” said Lexus General Manager Mark Templin, to a brand not known for having a passion for performance. The maker is also rethinking what products belong in its line-up. It is less likely to try to match the brand proliferation of rivals like Mercedes-Benz and BMW and may even be willing to cede some market share, said Templin, to stay focused on what it does best.