The fate of the Lexus launch in India seems to have been hanging in the balance for years. However, our sources indicate that a decision has finally been taken to launch the brand in India. So, it could be on our shores pretty soon...
To say that Toyota has made a definite mark in the luxury segment globally with their upmarket brand, Lexus, would be quite an understatement. Starting from scratch with the LS 400, the brand has, over the years, established a definite foothold in a rather competitive and brand conscious segment. As a result, Lexus is now a household name.
With the Indian luxury segment growing at double-digit growth rates, one would think that it would be the right time for Toyota to launch the brand in the Indian market. And, over the years, there have been many discussions about when it would be the right time and what the product mix would look like. But, for various reasons, the brand’s eminent launch has been put off. However, we’ve learnt recently from company insiders and industry sources that Toyota has once again started work on launching the Lexus brand in the Indian market by around late-2017, or early-2018.
Making a justifiable business case in India has been difficult for Toyota thus far. Because Lexus would likely do small volumes in the first few years, the company has been hesitant to set up the infrastructure to manufacture these cars in India. As a result, the cars will be brought in as CBU’s and will therefore be quite expensive. Add to this the cautious approach of Toyota, and it’s not difficult to understand why the Japanese giant has flip-flopped regarding introducing Lexus in the Indian market.
However, our sources indicate that the plan for introducing Lexus in India is at a far more advanced stage than ever before. The expectation is that Lexus will focus on its SUV lineup. So, when the launch does happen, expect Lexus to enter India with three of its SUV’s – the NX, RX and LX – to target three popular luxury segments. Interestingly, the NX and RX both have Hybrid versions that are also available. And now with the Camry Hybrid seeing relatively high consumer interest, it would be interesting to see whether Lexus will launch these two cars in their Hybrid avatars as well.
While these three SUV’s seem to be the first choice for unveiling the brand in India, when the sedan lineup will make it into the market is still being decided. Also, expect the marketing strategy of the brand to feature their sports car – the RC – quite prominently.
Either way, expect the luxury car wars in India to get even hotter. Lexus is legendary for reliability and customer service, so an introduction of the brand in the Indian market can only mean good things for Indian customers – we can’t say the same for its competitors though!
Also read: Compact Jaguar SUV to be launched in 2018