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Lexus Gives Shanghai Showgoers a Look at New ES.

Maker’s top-seller falls in line.

by on Apr.21, 2015

The 2016 Lexus ES, the sixth generation of the model, made its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Shanghai showgoers are getting a first look at the latest version of the long-popular Lexus ES sedan.

The sixth-generation sedan falls in line with the rest of the Lexus line-up, adopting key design cues including the maker’s spindle grille – while also gaining new engine options and improved features.

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“Our development concept was ‘Take the ES to the next level of elegance and progressive luxury,’” explained Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the ES redesign, in a statement. “We’re confident that the new Lexus ES will be a leader in its class and attract a lot of attention.” (more…)

Adding Major New Lexus Model a Key Reason Older ES Sedan Coming to US

Toyota luxury marque trying to re-think what future luxury buyers will want.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Mark Templin, Jim Lentz and Akio Toyoda at the Friday news conference in New York.

Lopsided exchange rates and potential natural disasters are two reasons why Toyota officials said they plan to shift production of the Lexus ES from Japan to the U.S. during a news conference in New York earlier today – but TheDetroitBureau.com has learned of yet another reason. The Kyushu plant currently producing the Lexus sedan will need to make room for an all-new model the luxury maker is getting ready to bring to market.

While Jim Lentz, Toyota’s top North American executive declined to identify that new model, sources indicate it is likely to be a compact crossover filling a niche below the current RX line. Lentz did say Lexus expects it could yield more than the 50,000 units of annual demand the ES currently generates.

The Last Word!

He also hinted, that this new model and other possibly offerings Lexus is looking at are part of the brand’s push to shift focus from the Baby Boomers who currently dominate its customer ranks to the next generation of luxury buyers. “We’re always looking at the luxury business which will change over time,” explained Lentz during a one-on-one conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com.  “The consumption of luxury and what it means to Boomers may be very different for Gen-Y.  We need to prepare ourselves for what younger luxury buyers will want.”

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Toyota Confirms Lexus ES Production Moving to the U.S.

Maker investing $500 Mil to expand Georgetown plant by 2015.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Akio Toyoda with a Lexus ES at the New York news conference Friday morning.

Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyota confirmed today the maker will invest more than $500 million in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to move production of one of its Lexus luxury vehicles to the U.S. for the first time.

The recently updated Lexus ES sedan will begin rolling off the line at the maker’s Georgetown plant by 2015, said Toyota, grandson of the automaker’s founder. The move, he noted, reflects the fact that the U.S. is the largest market for the luxury brand – while also sidestepping the negative impact of lopsided exchange rates that have made it increasingly difficult to continue producing vehicles in Japan.

The Last Word!

“It is fitting the first country to build the ES outside Japan is the United States because this is home for the Lexus brand,” said Toyoda, a reference to the fact that the luxury marque was, for many years, sold almost exclusively in the U.S. It has, however, begun an aggressive global roll-out in recent years.

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Toyota Investing $500 Mil to Build Lexus ES in US

Lexus ES to move to Georgetown plant by 2015.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Coming at you. Toyota will be building the newly updated Lexus ES at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant.

Toyota Motor Co. is expected to announce Friday plans to invest more than $500 million in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to move production of one of its Lexus luxury vehicles to the U.S. for the first time.

The world’s largest automaker already produces more than half of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. at various North American assembly plants. But it has, until now, limited production of its Lexus line almost exclusively to Japanese factories.  Though the RX crossover is now produced in Canada, the Lexus ES will become the first luxury model – and the 11th Toyota vehicle assembled in the U.S.

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Toyota is the last of the Japanese “Big Three” to move at least some luxury car production to the States. But like rivals Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., it has been hollowing out production in the home Japanese market due to concerns about exchange rates – as well as potential production issues underscored by the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that all but shut down the maker’s operations for much of the following nine months.

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First Drive: 2011 Buick Regal

Reinventing a stodgy old brand.

by on Jun.01, 2010

Once written off for dead, the launch of the 2011 Buick Regal could continue rebuilding the brand's momentum.

There were plenty of surprises when General Motors made it through bankruptcy, last year, including not only the demise of the Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab divisions – but the decision to keep Buick.

Founded in 1899 as the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company, it was sold, in 1903, by David Dunbar Buick and his partners to the company that would become GM.  Today the oldest surviving Amerian auto brand, the once-powerful Buick is but a shadow of its former self, sales plunging 90% over the last two decades.

Yet there have been recent signs of life, new products such as the Enclave crossover and LaCrosse sedan not only surging in sales but bringing in the sort of young, affluent buyers who long steered clear of the stodgy old marque.  Could Buick be hip again?  The real test is likely to come with the launch of the 2011 Buick Regal.

Ironically, the new midsize sedan wasn’t originally supposed to be a Buick.  What’s now badged Regal was originally a joint development pairing GM’s European brand, Opel, and North America’s Saturn.  When the latter division was abandoned by GM, the sedan got a new nameplate and grille, much to Buick’s good fortune.

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While the American sedan is just getting ready to roll into showrooms, the European version has been on sale for the better part of a year under the Opel Insignia badge, and has been winning rave reviews and plenty of new buyers.  If our first long drive of the 2011 Buick Regal is any indication, the same thing may soon happen here.

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