[Five ques­tions for...]

Wheels - - Head Start [People] -

Kiy­otaka Ise


Lexus has changed its fam­ily face and is un­der­go­ing an im­age re­brand. What can we ex­pect in the fu­ture? You can see with the GS that was launched last year, Lexus has gone through a big change. Lexus is now more emo­tional and the de­sign is more ag­gres­sive. It’s quite dif­fer­ent to drive too. We are con­tin­u­ing with this in the new IS, and go­ing for­ward our de­sign will con­tinue to be ag­gres­sive with our hy­brids. Our cars are go­ing to be more pas­sion­ate and emo­tional to drive. The LF-LC coupé shown at the Detroit mo­tor show is a clear mes­sage of Lexus go­ing for­ward.

How is Lexus do­ing in terms of sales com­pared to its key Ger­man ri­vals? The to­tal sales vol­ume for Lexus an­nu­ally is about 500,000 units, and most of that is sold in the US. In the US for the past 10 years we have had some is­sues with qual­ity, but we con­tinue to have great sales in the lux­ury mar­ket. We launched the Lexus brand in Ja­pan in 2005 and have al­ready cap­tured the num­ber one spot in the lux­ury seg­ment. How­ever we con­tinue to look into other mar­kets as well, for ex­am­ple China is a key mar­ket, and we are cer­tainly grow­ing in the Mid­dle East too.

Will Lexus start of­fer­ing per­son­al­i­sa­tion and cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions, es­pe­cially since it’s so im­por­tant to Mid­dle East buy­ers? We have started a cus­tomer cus­tomi­sa­tion pro­gramme in Ja­pan for the LS — we call it the L-Se­lect. This is an ex­am­ple of Lexus putting so much fo­cus on cus­tomer hos­pi­tal­ity and this will con­tinue as we plan to ex­pand this ac­tiv­ity glob­ally.

Who do you con­sider your key ri­vals and how do you bench­mark your ve­hi­cles to en­sure you stay com­pet­i­tive? For Lexus the num­ber of our lux­ury ri­vals is very small; it would be Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. Of course there are other cars but th­ese are ba­si­cally our three main com­peti­tors. At Lexus we pur­chase their mod­els and do a com­plete dis­as­sem­bly so that we can com­pletely un­der­stand our com­peti­tors and their cars.

And how do you en­sure you stand out in the mar­ket in terms of tech­nol­ogy? We will be putting a lot of fo­cus on tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment that will al­low the de­sign­ers to bring their ideas to re­al­ity. We would like to also con­tinue pro­vid­ing the ul­ti­mate hy­brid lux­ury mod­els as well as pur­sue hy­dro­gen fuel-cell tech­nol­ogy.

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