Having established a strong foothold in the United States, Toyota has turned it's attention, and it's checkbook, towards Europe to promote it's Lexus brand. Over the next five years, Toyota will be spending some $650-million to take on the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW on the European continent. While sales of Lexus automobiles have flourished in America, to the tune of some 260,000 automobiles per year, that success has not been mirrored in Europe, where Lexus sells only 21,600 cars per year. Perhaps, rebadging a Camry as an ES300 just doesn't signify luxury to Europeans (as it seems to for Americans).

The author goes on to suggest perhaps Toyota redirect some of that $650 million to badge it's customer Formula One engines as Lexus engines. Not a bad idea, especially considering Formula One's popularity and prominence in Europe. Of course, Europeans may have yet to forget the scandals that have surrounded Toyota's past and current racing endeavours in Europe (ie. 2003 F1 espionage scandal, 1995 disqualification from WRC for illegally altering their turbochargers).


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