When Lexus was founded in 1989, it appealed to the staid sensibilities of its 45-year-old demographic. Now, those buyers are in their mid-sixties, and Lexus, faced with a 34.1% sales slip for the first six months of the year – more than its primary rivals from Germany – is rethinking its line-up and consumer experience to appeal to younger buyers.
Speaking with Automotive News, Lexus execs admitted they've grown too dependent on sales of the RX crossover, and in an attempt to right the ship – and score sales from BMW 3 series coupe and convertible buyers – they've begun a new push for the IS sedan, and in particular, the new IS convertible.
In addition to the droptop and recently released HS 250h hybrid sedan, Lexus wants to add an array of entry-level models into its line, including more "green" vehicles and sports-oriented models. The automaker's Taste of Lexus events held around the country to woo buyers into showrooms with ride-and-drives and hors d'oeuvres – reportedly costing around $1 million per city – are going by the wayside, and instead, Lexus is pushing its dealer training program to ensure top-notch service, along with a focus on tech-rich features and new, edgier ad campaigns.
Although the RX is still outselling all of its nearest competitors in the luxury crossover segment, Lexus realizes that it has to offer buyers more, particularly those in the coveted 25-35-year-old demographic. Hopefully, that means more high-performance and fuel efficient models, and less confusing (if artsy) advertising campaigns.