Fleet News

Lexus aims for more exclusivity

FAST-growing Lexus has underlined its long-term commitment to protecting residual values by pledging to make some models in its range even more 'exclusive'. By the end of this year, Lexus will have an eight model line-up - more than double the number of vehicles it had a year ago - and has plans to sell more than 12,000 units next year, possibly rising to 15,000 units later in the decade.

The sales rise - up from 10,000 units last year - is due to the arrival of models such as the LS430, GS430 and RX300 and the later-this-year launch of the IS300, SC430 and IS300 SportCross. But instead of a gung-ho sales attack, bosses at the luxury arm of Toyota plan to reduce IS model sales by 1,000 units this year despite the addition of the IS300 and SportCross to supplement the IS200, which sold more than 6,000 units in 2000.

Dales of the GS range will also be reduced by 600 units this year despite the addition of the GS430 and sales of the LS line-up will be reduced by 100 units despite the all-new 430 replacing the 400. That means the sales boost will come from the addition of the RX300 - 2,200 sales are expected - and 250 registrations of the SC430, which is sold out until 2002. 'Our long-term commitment is to the development of residual value integrity,' said corporate sales director Andy Simpson, 'We are looking to increase sales but we must grow in a structured and controlled fashion.'

Lexus is looking to break into both the chauffeur drive and the police markets this year. The company has identified a database of 200 small chauffeur-drive companies with which it hopes to undertake business - particularly with GS and LS models. And with both BMW and Volvo clocking up more than 1,000 vehicle sales a year to police fleets, that sector is another target for Lexus. Simpson plans to launch a police fleet programme later this year with IS200 and GS300 demonstrators.

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