Fleet News

Lexus plans move to stand-alone sites

LEXUS is to distance itself further from its mass market parent company as it prepares to launch a new prestige compact executive car which should see a five-fold increase in sales. The company is to reduce its dealer network - shared with Toyota - in favour of larger territories and stand-alone sites before revealing a new BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class contender in 1999.

Speaking at the UK debut of the all-new Lexus GS300, Lexus general manager Kevin Flynn said an increasing number of manufacturers with diverse model ranges was considering brand separation to focus more clearly on different segments of the market.

'Certain manufacturers are realising that customer expectations differ in different sectors of the market and some parts of a brand can hold you back,' said Flynn. 'We decided that focusing on core markets instead of trying to be all things to all men was a better approach and we have now established Lexus as a prestige brand.'

The divorce process will be gradual, but Flynn wants it to be complete by the time the new model arrives early in 1998. Lexus sales will top 2,200 cars this year, but Flynn said the new car could boost that well beyond 10,000 vehicles in the longer term. 'We are building a car that will have the specification, the appeal and the styling to really take on that sector and we would expect to replicate the success of the other two models.

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