Lexus considering building new ES in North America
Lexus dealers are pressuring parent company Toyota to build the new 2013 ES in North America.
According to Ward's Auto, Tim Morrison, vice president of sales and dealer development, admits dealers are clamoring for the ES to be built in North America to help hedge against a strong Japanese yen. The ES, Lexus' top selling sedan in America, is currently built in Kyushu, Japan. But the strong yen has cut into the car's profitability.
Morrison says that the company's North American factory capacity is already limited, but as the brand looks to expand, it will consider finding places to build the ES overseas.
Last year, Lexus sold 41,000 ES sedans, even with the constraints from production problems following the March tsunami. The redesigned 2013 model will include a hybrid version, which Lexus expects to draw new customers.
The ES remains a strong conquest vehicle for Lexus, with 63 percent of ES customers new to the brand, Lexus tells Autoblog. However, only 28 percent stay with the ES once it's time to get a new car.
Last year, Lexus lost its title as America's No. 1 U.S. luxury brand, but officials have said they intend on recapturing it. In 2011, Lexus sold 198,000 vehicles in the U.S., and this year, it hopes to reach 250,000 vehicles.