• Jul 13, 2009
2010 Lexus IS350 C - Click above for a high-res image gallery

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.



[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      att : Judgeman - VW owns Audi, such as GM owns Cadillac and Ford until recently owned Jaguar and so forth ... how is that any different to Toyota establishing Lexus which quite frankly is an impressive brand in it's own right.

      In the thier first 20 years, Lexus focused attention on establishing the marque and now they are beginning to reposition the brand with greater maturity which should ultimately prove to inject a greater level of passion into what is otherwise a highly respected and an extremely capable automotive manufactuer.

      Personally, i like the direction Lexus is moving and certainly look forward to new and more exciting models from them in the coming years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This can only bring us joy, because when automakers are fighting, the only winner is the costumer, meaning us. Still the new Honda - Toyota war will catch my eye, because I doubt that Takanobu Ito (Honda's new CEO) will stand and do nothing against Toyota's offensive. Oh and it's worth saying that Ito had a big contribution in the last NSX project.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My fiancee and I test drove an IS350, a G37, and a 335i--in that order. She is admittedly ambivalent about cars but her reaction when she drove the 335i was that it felt like it was in a different league, way above the other two.

      If Lexus wants to capture what is a picky segment with a strong sense of usability and ergonomics, they need to start with the Lexus image as staid, the IS's lack of visibility, the total lack of room in the rear for friends, and, as another reader commented, the lack of a 6spd for the IS350.

      The 350's engine was great, the seats were exceptional, and the car had a solid feel. Work on the rest and the competition's on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm...the 3 doesn't have any more space than the IS. Trust me I know when I have to move my seat way up for someone to sit behind me in my 3.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd rather save my lunch and buy a Lincoln. The IS-F group are nice, but that IS-C is horrifying. BMW is unimpressive to me, and until Acura does something about those shields...I don't even consider them. I even prefer the late model TLs much higher than the new ones. Lincoln and just the CTS get my attention in the more affordable luxury market. I feel as if I just ranted a bit, but it all comes down to that I am not very impressed with import luxury these past couple of years, save a couple.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What Lexus has been able to achieve in their first 20 years of operation is nothing short of remarkable especially considering thier build quality (often referred to as impeccable), refinement and technology is arguably second to none alwhile offering amoung the best luxury / prestige motoring that can be found anywhere in the world today at considerably lower cost then from thier German counterparts.

      However, i believe it is time Lexus advanced to the next stage of develping the brand and that is by introducing more sports and performance cars to the lineup which will ultimately attract a younger demographic in due time and models such as the IS series including the new convertible aswell as the IS-F and upcoming LF-A will undoubtedly go along way of achieveing that.

      Considering what Lexus has achieved in thier first 20 years, i can only imagine what they will accomplish in the next 20 ... keep up the good work !!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus builds the best Buick money can buy. The big sellers are the RX and the ES, cars that do not appeal to younger demographics. It must scare Lexus execs to see that GM is committed to making Buick again the best Buick on the market. This will ultimately lead to further market erosion unless they can crack BMW's and even, to a lesser extent, Infiniti's demographic and psychograpic base.

      It is product, not advertising, that will ultimately change the demographics of the consumer. It has taken Cadillac over a decade to begin to move the needle. Lexus needs a truly competitive IS and a new GS. Simply running ads of barefoot people jumping into a car, won't do it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I'm all for Lexus trying to appeal to a younger demographic, I think they already are very appealing to younger people, particularly in the used Lexus market. I see many many older well maintained Lexus rolling through the "Hoods" running Dubz and Gold Trim.

      I think it's more a cost of entry thing more than anything else with Lexus. Not a bad place to be actually.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus is known for excellent built quality but looking at pic 2 there is a huge gap space where the folding top cover goes (see near antennae). now compare it to the gap lines on the rest of the car (which are very narrow and tight).
      • 5 Years Ago
      "We want authentic, deep democracy — everywhere."
      Sounds exactly exactly like a pot smoking, rich parents, college kid who spends time getting STDs from mediocre-looking girls would say... exactly the type that would buy this "vehicle"...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm 24 years old, if (Big IF) they want to please us then do the following:
      1- Bring back the Supra (with inline-turbocharged-6 engine)
      2- Bring back the Celica GT4
      3- Bring back the AE86 (both levin and trueno)
      4- Bring back the Starlet in 3/5 door version and rwd

      Then I'd be happy to have a TOYOTA
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus is coming around a bit late. They have been so obsessed with 4 door family sedans, it's no wonder they've lost the younger generation. It's not nearly enough to offer a "sportier" 4 door sedan in the form of the IS series, as fine as they are. To be successful at grabbing the truly younger crowd, they will need to reach them even before they have families, by offering smaller two door coupes and two door fastback/hatchbacks. They don't even have to be true high performance, they just need to have the good mechanicals. I love the drive trains of Lexus, but I don't like the "luxury" pretense of Lexus, BMW, and Acura. I'd be afraid to even get the floor mats muddy, so it would be like dating a high maintenance woman. However, I would love the motors, transmissions, and suspensions in more of a "blue collar" package.

      Here in the Texas heat, I don't like sweaty leather. I also think that most wood grain interiors are gawdy. So how can you charge more for a vehicle and not give me choices of interior materials and finishes? Why can't I customize my vehicle to my taste and remove that luxury pretense? My guess is the younger generation feels the same way. They want to get into ANY vehicle as a teenager and then their tastes slowly become more sophisticated. That's why I couldn't buy many of the new small cars on the market. I refuse to downgrade to a torsion beam suspension or archaic drum brakes. At the same time, I don't want to "upgrade" to sweaty leather or gawdy wood grain. What a dilemma.

      I want a small two door coupe or hatch with an excellent suspension, comfortable interior, and good fuel efficiency. About the only offerings are the Civic, Mini, and Golf. All others compromise on drive train or suspension.


      • 5 Years Ago

      Just read this, thought it was relevant:

      "Dear Old People Who Run the World..."

      http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/haque/2009/07/today_in_capitalism_20_1.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        ahh yes, the rant of the 20-something. I did it, my parents did it, their's did as well.

        the aboslutely FUNNIEST part is that the guy talks about microsizing economies and then includes Obama, who wants to macrosize the government. the only jobs that he has 'created or kept' have been government jobs, not jobs that create, design, build, service, or maintain anything but government jobs that leech off of the economy.

        I think the grandiose dream and meaningful mission statement are terrific. but never forget that most of that wealth amassing was an effort, misguided if you will, to provide for their children (you) and for most of those out there with paid college diplomas, you selfish thankless SOBs can take your rant and shove it. For those who worked to pay their own way through college, you have what it takes to effect the change you want.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The article in the link is absolutely correct. We've been seeing this approach from our younger clients for several years already. (architecture)

        The very IDEA of 'luxury/exclusive' is counter-intuitive to the generations following. They've seen thier boomer parent's generation sell out completely to greed and self-indugence and they want NO part of it. They have been raised in communal situations like daycare and appreciate "WE" over "ME". Yup, the new bling is no bling at all. (the Paris Hiltons of the world notwithstanding)

        VW's Up range of cars or even the Tata Nano is where we're heading - Toyota take note of what kei class cars you're selling and prep them for here NOW.

        Lexus? Um... no, too 'image' for the new-hippies following.
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