Lexus to enter Indian market by August 2016 with three hybrid models as parental company Toyota emphasises its luxury market commitment
The reports of Toyota introducing its flagship luxury brand Lexus have come and gone in the past. Most notably twice in 2010 and 2013, when it almost had been made into reality but the global economic crisis botched the arrival of the sub-brand into one of the most promising luxury markets in the world. It has currently been spearheaded by the German troops with Mercedes-Benz comfortably outshone Audi and BMW and rose to the very top in 2015 by 32 per cent leap in sales.
The Lexus brand has a distinctive history of its own. Born out of Flagship One project to create the best car on the planet, commenced by then-Toyota Chairman Eiji Toyoda in the early ‘80s, the origination of the Lexus LS premium sedan gave recognition to the Toyota’s subsidiary based at Nagoya in Japan. The early 2000s saw Lexus stretching its wings and established an independent production facility outside Japan in Ontario with the RX 330 and in 2005 Toyota became the first car maker to introduce a sub-brand in its home market by deciding to sell cars in Lexus attire rather than re-naming them as parental model.
Lexus has its market presence in over 70 countries worldwide with more influence in the North American continent. To the eagle-eyed enthusiasts, the Japanese company will reminisce them of the glorious LFA hypercar that came forth following Toyota’s extensive presence in Formula One and the state-of-the-art windtunnel facility in Bologna, Germany. Its own performance ‘F’ marque was introduced in 2009 and in the better parts of last decade Toyota learned the conditions of several international markets and fed its sub-brand into the parts of Asian, European and Latin American markets. Lexus uses “IDEAL” (“Impressive, Dynamic, Elegant, Advanced, and Lasting”) development process in manufacturing its luxury cars with each model going through 500 specific product standards.
Lexus’ global carline comprises of entry-level luxury compact IS and HS luxury sedans with LS full-size models playing the significant role whilst the mid-size category has been met with ES and GS line-up. Apart from RX, GX and LX crossovers/SUVs, the brand crucially has plenty to offer when it comes to hybrid variants and that’s where Indian market opens up a wide range of space.
Toyota has the Fortuner and Innova series doing a healthy stand in our domestic market which has lately been emphasised by the building popularity of the hybrid sedans like Toyota Camry and the Prius sedans. The government restrictions in Delhi-NCR prompted Toyota to sell more Camry hybrids in January than it initially anticipated and at the Auto Expo 2016 it underlined the hybrid commitment by setting up a separate stall for its proven hybrid vehicle line-up.
Sticking by its hybrid theme, NDTV Auto reported that the Lexus brand will be revealed in the Indian market as soon as the coming August. It will challenge against the arch nemesis such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo in the luxury space by pitting the hybrid variants of the Lexus RX 450h, Lexus GS 450h and Lexus LS 600h against the respective oppositions initially who are mostly internal combustion engined. Let’s take a deep look into what those models are down below:
The RX crossover practically invented the luxury crossover UV segment and in 2005 became the first vehicle to be offered with hybrid powertain system. Vying for the spotlight against Audi Q5, BMW X3 and forthcoming Mercedes GLC, the fourth generation Lexus RX450h was revealed at the 2015 New York Auto Show and wore an aggressive exterior look much like the NX crossover. With significant use of aluminium and a similar chassis as the Toyota Highlander, the five-seater SUV was powered by a 3.5-litre Atkinson-cycle gasoline V6 engine coupled with a twin-motor Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system to produce an output of 308 bhp.
The Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series rivalling GS 450h adopts the same hybrid powertrain as the RX 450h but with increased power output of 338 bhp. The flagship LS 600h, competing against the BMW 7 Series and the S Class, comes featured with a 5.0-litre V8 engine linked with an electric motor to make out a combined power output of 438 bhp. Lexus has a classifiable looks to its own and will appeal to customers in majority as the luxury brand aims at selling 1,000-3,500 units by 2018 before targeting 5,000 units per annum by 2020.
Source: NDTV Auto