World’ second largest car company Toyota Motor Corporation is set to join the elite club of car makers by launching the Lexus brand in India — the highest selling global marquee brand.
Lexus will be pitted against luxury brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volvo and Audi which are already present in India.
Keeping an eye on the rapidly-growing demand for luxury vehicles in India and the exciting line-up of products from European, American and fellow Japanese carmakers, Toyota is planning to introduce LS 460 sedan and LX 470 sports utility vehicle (SUV) in India in the next two years. It also has plans to launch another SUV, the RX 330, in the domestic market.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) deputy managing director K K Swamy refused to comment on the debut of Lexus in India. “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on future launches. However, sources in the automobile industry said the company plans to maintain the distinct identity of the Lexus in India as in the other developed markets of North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
It has started the preliminary groundwork in terms of strategy and dedicated dealership network which will be different from the network that sells Toyota’s existing cars like the Innova, Corolla and Camry. These dealers will also sell Toyota’s small car which is expected to hit the domestic market by 2010.
Sources added that TKM will rope in select dealers for the Lexus range under a new marketing strategy. “It is likely to have exclusive dealers for Lexus, concentrated mostly in metros and major cities. Even the existing TKM dealers shortlisted for the Lexus will operate from a separate exclusive entity to maintain its niche brand value.