• Oct 16, 2007
Cadillac's image resurgence sees it vacating its spot as fuddy duddy transport, which it filled for most of the 1980s and '90s. Quality woes didn't help, but overall, the brand induced yawns. Big, body-on-frame barges are still available at the Lincoln store, but there's also a market for luxury cars filled with technology and quality that invokes a ho-hum response. Yes, folks, that means that Lexus is getting sucked in by the vacuum Cadillac left when they went all Led Zeppelin on us. Well, that's not entirely true – what is happening, though, is the age of the average Lexus buyer is sneaking up. Currently it's at 51 years old, while kids who spent the 1980s learning hair metal riffs on their B.C. Rich are choosing Infiniti, Audi, BMW, or even the somewhat fusty Mercedes.

If you were at Yasgur's farm with your Microbus, chances are that you've got a lust to wheel around in an ES350 for your retirement years. The average age of that car's buyers is 61, and only Cadillac, Lincoln, and Jaguar have more buyers north of 60 in this segment. This data has Toyota's fancy division rethinking their future plans, lest they be left in the dust. While Lexus may not release a direct competitor, they're keeping a close watch on how BMW launches its 1-series. The way BMW woos buyers is what Lexus has to do, according to Jim Farley, who recently left for Ford. Younger buyers are looking for edgier cars with a higher degree of technology integration, so Lexus must make a serious run at building a real performer with the IS-F, as well as push design and image. You know they're serious when they plan to broaden the scope of their myownpursuit website to include more than squash on the lawn.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      In the land of Toy and in Europe, buyers know that Lexass is not at all what it pretends to be. Only delusional Toy buyers here in the States bought into the inferior copy of Cadillac and Mercedes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So true...

      I've seen more and more of our "Geri-folks" drive this "Lex-ES" model around here in Los Angeles...
      MikeJ
      • 7 Years Ago
      Who said younger buyers want edgier cars with more technology?

      I want a small car with no technology that is fun to drive. Not a bloated, overpriced vehicle that inspires me to take a nap.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very interesting reading...Finally somebody has the balls to print it.

      http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/16/autos/cr_reliability/index.htm?cnn=yes
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sure Lexus is watching the 1-series launch. Toyota is likely champing at the bit to release their own Corolla-sized car that gets under 20mpg, they just need an excuse to do it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      To these eyes, Lexus has made some mistakes. The GS350 is way overpriced for what it is .. it's loaded with profit for both the dealership and Toyota leaving not much for the actual buyer ... The Cadillac CTS has more style both inside and out (and I am not a fan of American cars and haven't owned one in 18 yrs).

      The GS460 didn't get the full tune V8 used in the LS like everyone expected. The LS460 is bland next to a Mercedes or BMW, both inside and out, but fast approaching both in price. It really seems overpriced at this point. The LS600 is an overpriced joke that barely gets better mileage than the 460. How much did it cost to develop that thing anyway?

      The IS350 is ok but bland for the price. I have driven one ... and one thing that stood out was all the clicking from the fuel injection system. It sounded really bad. The new 335i has a more personality and more visual pop. But I think that the IS is one of the more competitive cars in the Lexus line.

      The new LX looks like a ripoff of a Lincoln Navigator from the rear and kind of awkward everywhere else. The RX is a chick car.

      The ES350 is overpriced for a gussied up, soft riding camry. I have sat in both the new accord and the ES and the accord seems nicer on the inside for 10-15k less.

      I remember when Lexus sold on their price and excellent assembly quality. They never really handled that well compared to the competition, or had the best styling and those are things they need to improve on. Now that their price is creeping right up next to the competition and their quality is suffering they are going to have to come up with some more tricks to get the younger gen back.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nothing screams geezer car more than that automatic parking feature on the LS.That went out like a call to prayer from Mecca to all the old ladies who are afraid to park.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lexus mimics Benz more than anything. They offer almost nothing to an enthusiast just Like Toyota offers nothing in the way of a sports car. Lexus are cushy and soft and reliable. It’s why people have bought them. No need to change now. People who want a driver’s luxury car will go to BMW, Infiniti or perhaps Audi.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Maybe they do have a performance car in AMG, but I would not pay that kind of money for Criminally bad reliability and questionable quality.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Its too bad that those sour kraut cars-MB and BMW-have long term quality issues.
      BMW makes ugly cars-Bangle design anyone?
      MB -yawn- electronics suck. Boring design too!
      I'll take "rice" over sour kraut everyday of the week
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with Steve S although I think Merc does a lot better job on styling and offering performance choices (AMG) than Lexus.
        • 7 Years Ago
        As an owner of a Gen I IS300 (aka the JDM Toyota Altezza ...) , I can attest to the downward trend of the Lexus brand. The Gen II IS, though certainly more upscale and comfy than my IS300, lacks the sporty character that the IS300 brought with it ( probably the only Lexus ever that could be defined as sporty...) and instead chose to go the way of greater displacement instead of superior driving dynamics.

        I cross-shopped my IS back in 2004 with the 330i/ci , the G35. MB C320 and the Audi A4 3.0, and picked the Lexus over them all, since IMO, it beat all but the BMW for pure driving pleasure, and it outdid all the others in terms of build quality, reliability and comfort ( the BMW 3er and G35 had HORRIBLE interiors). the fact that it had the Supra block 2JZ Inline 6 made it a no brainer for souping it up if I ever decided to...

        What has happened now is Lexus is not concerned with the average 25-35 y/o buyer. Their focus group, even with the new IS' is right about 35, since spending 45K or thereabouts on a well -equppied IS350 is not an easy ask for most below that age group.

        Its all about the money folks.. Lexus markets to those that can afford to pay more, and builds only for those markets... it does not want to , or even NEED to compete in the younger segment where the profits are lower, and identity dilution is an issue.

        Too bad for them.. my next car will not carry the famed L.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I've never seen so many words say so little...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Agreed. The newer Lexuses are very comfortable and nice - but in the way that I want a civilized ride for when I'm living in Palm Beach, with arthritis, a cane, and weekly doctor's visits, and are going down to play some Bingo with my buddies at civic center.

      Although I know that Toyota hasn't commented, this really shouldn't surprise anyone. I mean, what do you expect? When you make a half-assed "performance" vehicle - only one - and then don't even bother giving it a proper third pedal, even as an option, people aren't going to take you seriously.

      If all your performance means is a crazy, ugly, rice body kit, then sorry, that's not serious, that's called rice. My neighbors down the road do the same thing for much cheaper. You can usually track them down at night within a radius of a few miles - just use your ears.
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