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Lexus is on the Verge of a New Portfolio

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

If you’re young, urban and hip, you’ll probably feel right at home at Dallas’ Hotel ZaZa, where roving hipsters come to stay and play. And if you’re Mark Templin, the Group Vice President and General Manager for Lexus – who is both younger and hipper than his corporate headshot makes him appear – ZaZa seems to fit quite well. Although the current Lexus lineup is probably a better match for Dallas’ more established Mansion on Turtle Creek or Hotel Crescent Court, Mr. Templin would assure you that ZaZa isn’t out-of-bounds for what is planned from Toyota’s upscale retailer.

However, Japan’s automotive industry first needs to work through the ramifications of this spring’s earthquake and tsunami. And while Japan is getting a clearer picture of what transpired, and Tokyo is increasingly approaching the work week with a ‘business-as-usual’ demeanor, the ramifications for Toyota and Lexus production remain decidedly unclear. As Mr. Templin put it, “we’re still trying to figure it out. But by the 4th quarter we should be back to capacity.”

Pressed for specifics, there weren’t any. Especially in the luxury segment, it’s a manufacturing process wholly dependent on chips and circuitry available from a very small number of suppliers, many of whom are Japanese. And while the damage assessments have been made, it’s still anyone’s guess – at this point – as to what can be expected in the short term.

What Mr. Templin does know is that Lexus is enjoying some real product mojo on several fronts. The newly introduced CT 200h is selling at approximately twice the rate predicted by Lexus’ sales execs (so much for forecasting), the IS 250 attracts Lexus’ youngest demographic, and the LF-Gh concept (shown in New York) is a credible indicator of Lexus’ new midsize entry. And that intro, we’re assured, is intended to fully crack open the midsize luxury segment for Toyota’s luxury carmaker.

Beyond the struggles in Japan is the strength of the yen versus the dollar. Mr. Templin, noting that the dollar is in much better shape against the euro, emphasized Lexus ongoing commitment to vehicle pricing appropriate to the specific segment, without any significant consideration for fluctuating exchange rates. In short, even if the yen were to weaken, we shouldn’t expect a break on the price of our LFA. As if…

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Used 2011 Lexus GS Models
Used 2011 Lexus GS Models
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Used 2011 Lexus GX Models
Used 2011 Lexus GX Models
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Used 2011 Lexus RX Models AWD
Used 2011 Lexus RX Models
$20,404
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Used 2011 Lexus ES Models
Used 2011 Lexus ES Models
$10,583
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Lexus is on the Verge of a New Portfolio - Autotrader