Even though utility vehicles accounted for more than two thirds of Lexus’ sales in May, Toyota’s luxury vehicle unit, Lexus, isn’t about to give up on the passenger cars that built its reputation even as American car makers walk away from the sedan segments.
“The fact is there is and will continue to be a very important role for sedans,” said Cooper Ericksen, Lexus vice president of marketing, as he showed off the new, seventh generation Lexus ES during a press event in Nashville, Tennessee. “Half the buyers of SUVs also own a sedan,” he said.
Sales in the “near luxury” segment, where the ES competes against the cars such as BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Acura TLX, totaled more than 400,000 units last year, which is a substantial market. In addition, like its competitors, Lexus sells the ES in dozens of markets around the world, making it easier to justify the cost of designing, engineering and developing a new model.
Ericksen also noted that during the past 30 years the ES has been one of the pillars of the Lexus brand and has developed a loyal following.
(May auto sales bring mixed results for makers. Click Here for the story.)
Like the new version of the LS, the flagship of the Lexus, which arrived in dealerships earlier this year, the new ES sedan tackles the need to reach out to a broader range of customers.
Moreover, the 2019 ES delivers everything that traditional Lexus buyers expect along with elements that will draw in those who haven’t considered the brand before with its new “F-Sport” model, which is designed specifically to attract a younger, more affluent buyer looking for a more dynamic driving experience, Lexus officials said.
(Click Here for details about Toyota’s earnings jump.)
Pricing for the new model hasn’t been finalized it will be comparable to the older version, which is being retired. In addition, the hybrid version of the ES, which is expected to account for about 15% of sales will be priced aggressively, Ericksen said.
Ericksen also said Lexus is preparing to launch a major marketing effort to promote the new 2019 ES as reaches Lexus showrooms in late summer and early fall, including national television spots. He also insisted the new F-Sport version of the ES will not steal sales from the Lexus IS, another sedan that competes in the “near luxury” segment.
(To see more about Lexus betting big on the new ES, Click Here.)
Toyota, Lexus’ older sibling in the Toyota Motor Corp., also has signaled that it intends to stick with cars even as American companies such Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler and even General Motors begin to limit the number of passenger cars models they will build in the future.