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Lexus LF-NX Creates Buzz – and Plenty of Controversy

Compact crossover is “a stake in the ground,” said Lexus boss Templin.

by on Sep.11, 2013

The Lexus LF-NX may be the single most controversial vehicle to debut in Frankfurt this year.

Lexus has been hinting for some time that it would like to enter the fast-growing compact crossover segment.  While that is far from a controversial decision, the LF-NX compact crossover concept it unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show is an entirely different matter.

While the show car was the object of much interest and attention during the Frankfurt media preview — journalists and competitors alike lining up to take the design in and snap pictures – few vehicles in recent memory generated nearly as much debate or derision.

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“Lexus has seven concept cars at the show – but they’re all in one vehicle,” cracked a senior designer at a major European luxury maker, asking not to be identified by name.

The object of that scorn – and a few kudos, as well, one needs to point out – is the first in what senior Lexus officials suggest will be a series of concept cars designed to test the waters and confirm that Lexus does belong in the compact crossover segment.


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 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.

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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  “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.”


Management Shake-Up at Toyota Increases Role of U.S. Execs

Lentz running North American ops; former GM exec Hogan joins Toyota board.

by on Mar.06, 2013

From sales to manufacturing, Toyota's Jim Lentz will now run all operations in the Americas.

In an unexpected announcement, Toyota has announced a major shake-up in its global management structure that will significantly increase the role of the North American market – and senior U.S. executives, in particular.

The realignment positions Jim Lentz, who has been the top American executive at the giant Japanese maker, as its number one boss for all of North America. Meanwhile, the current U.S. head of the Lexus luxury brand will now become managing officer for Lexus International. And Mark Hogan, a former General Motors senior executive, will become the first American ever on the 76-year-old Toyota Motor Co.’s board of directors.

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“These changes will help us to achieve sustainable growth and realize our global vision by giving more responsibility to each region, including our North and South American operations, so that they may develop and deliver even better products and offer the best service to our customers,” declared Akio Toyoda, TMC’s global chief executive and grandson of the maker’s founder.


First Look: Lex LF-CC Concept

Premium midsize coupe prototype to debut in Paris.

by on Sep.17, 2012

The Lexus LF-CC offers a hint of a future premium midsize coupe hybrid to come from Lexus.

Lexus will unveil an all-new hybrid sports coupe at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, a rear-drive 2+2 that may offer some hints of the additional models the maker plans to add to its luxury line-up.

The Lexus LF-CC will target the premium midsize coupe segment, the Toyota luxury brand reveals. And as these initial images underscore, the new concept model will lift some of its key design cues from the well-reviewed Lexus LF-LC supercar concept that was introduced at the Detroit Motor Show last January.

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Lexus “is absolutely dedicated to hybrids,” the brand’s U.S. boss, Mark Templin, stressed in an interview with last month.  By mid-decade, he promised, the brand will have eight, possibly even nine, gas-electric offerings in its line-up. Some of those will be dedicated models, like the HS 250h. Others will be hybrid options, such as the LS 600h package offered on the maker’s newly updated flagship sedan. A hybrid supercar is very much under consideration, hinted Templin.


Hybrids, Supercars and Compact Crossovers: Lexus Looking at Future Product Options

But don’t expect the Japanese luxury maker to keep up with its German rivals.

by on Aug.10, 2012

Expect to see the Lexus "spindle" grille on more products in the future.

Shifting market trends have changed the face of the automotive luxury market – leading some manufacturers to flood showrooms with new models. By comparison to its German rivals, Lexus has taken a relatively cautious approach to product proliferation but that may have to change, suggested the Toyota luxury brands top U.S. executive.

While Mark Templin, general manager of the Toyota luxury brand, insists he is “not a big fan of” the rampant product proliferation “that calls for having 100 different models in your line-up,” he told that Lexus is closely evaluating market trends and may very well need to add new models in the not-too-distant future.

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The biggest challenge, he laughed, is that, “We’re running out of the alphabet,” as makers not only add more models but shift to alphanumeric naming policies.


Punching More Passion into Lexus

Japanese maker expects smaller share going forward.

by on Nov.21, 2011

Lexus hopes to redefine itself with the new GS, putting more passion into a brand not normally known for fun-to-drive dynamics.

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.

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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.