Lexus India has confirmed that its line-up of compact models are not bound for India anytime soon. PB Venugopal, President, Lexus India confirmed to Express Drives that the Lexus IS sedan and the UX compact SUV are currently under study. However, he stated; “we do not have any plans of launching them in India soon”. The Lexus IS is a rival to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. While the Lexus UX is a compact SUV which falls in the same segment as the Volvo XC40, BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Lexus India’s current line up includes the Lexus NX, RX and LX SUVs. In addition, the highly popular ES sedan and the LS full-sized luxury saloon are also being offered in the Indian market.
On January 31, 2020, Lexus India launched the LC 500h coupe. In addition, it announced the launch of the ES 300h Exquisite which is the brand’s first locally produced model and NX 300h Exquisite. Venugopal says that the ES sedan is the most popular model in India.
Venugopal stated, “We launched our first made in India product, the ES for which we have received an overwhelming response.” He mentioned that the response was better than the automaker was anticipating initially and hopes for it to continue to be encouraging in the coming months as well.
“We feel that the Indian market has great potential. We foresee India having a great opportunity for the luxury car market” he added.
However, when it comes to expanding its local production of models in India, Venugopal said that the quality of the vehicles will be the priority. He said, “We will not compromise on this [quality] to rush local production of our models.”
In India, there is a significant proportion of Toyota customers who are repeat buyers of models from the brand due to the low maintenance costs and reliability of its vehicles. An interesting fact that Venugopal mentioned is that approximately 78% of Lexus customers are from the existing Toyota family.
Currently, Lexus has a network of three dealerships — Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, with presence in eight different cities for after-sales services. Lexus will be expanding its presence with new dealerships, or what they call — “Guest Experience Centres” in four more cities — Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kochi and Chennai. Hyderabad is expected to get its first Lexus sales outlet by the end of 2020. Chandigarh, Chennai and Kochi dealerships are expected by the second quarter of 2021.
In respect to the aftereffects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Lexus feels that the automobile industry will see a paradigm shift in the “New Normal”. The guest interface and experience is expected to see a higher degree of technology adoption. The Japanese automaker is staying positive about the market outlook. Lexus India expects a ‘W’ shaped recovery and hopes for sales to recover to its original volumes by 2022/23.
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