Lexus distances itself from Toyota in order to regain luxury throne

Lexus distances itself from Toyota in order to regain luxury throne

Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, is looking to distance itself from its parent brand beginning with the new Lexus GS, Automotive News reports.

The GS has enjoyed a warm reception from buyers with Lexus pushing a total of 4,900 models off the lot within just two months of its introduction, and surpassing all sales expectations for the year in the process.

Lexus executives attribute strong sales to an overhauled effort by the luxury marquee to distance itself from parent company Toyota in order to create a stronger brand identity. This includes, among other things, a host of aggressive advertising campaigns such as the company’s first Super Bowl commercial earlier this year and a partnership with Sports Illustrated where Lexus created a racetrack based on the contours of SI model Tori Praver’s body, which we can only imagine was a painstaking and grueling endeavor for all involved.

Lexus has even gone so far as to revamp and streamline the whole design and decision-making process for new vehicles. To help promote a decentralized approach to both brands, employees at Toyota’s headquarters were separated from one another — resulting in the development of the GS’s hourglass-like spindle grill as a central design focus for upcoming Lexus models.

Only recently was Lexus knocked off as number one luxury brand in the U.S., a fact Lexus blames on poor brand imaging and customer loyalty. While the Lexus nameplate has traditionally experienced strong sales in the luxury segment, figures show as many as 30-percent of Lexus owners tend to jump ship and make camp with some of Lexus’ main competitors: BMW and Mercedes. This difficulty in retaining customers Lexus believes is in part due to consumers being less interested in owning a particular vehicle as they are in belonging to a brand and image.

“To conquer BMW and Mercedes drivers, we can’t just be looked at as an upgraded version of Toyota,” said Kiyotaka Ise, head of Lexus. “We want our brand to be chosen for its character and handling.”

That “character” has translated into a concentrated push on Lexus’ part to create a brand – on top of vehicles – that consumers want to belong to. It isn’t enough for Lexus to be considered reliable or a rebadged top-shelf Toyota. And on top of non-traditional ad campaigns, a huge portion of delivering that new and distinct image has already begun with the GS and its more aggressive design.

Whether the Japanese automaker will be successful in mounting a new offensive and reclaiming its luxury crown remains to be seen. While it may have been enough for Lexus to provide customers with upscale versions of Toyotas in the past, that formula has ceased to work. But if Lexus can move beyond the languid attempts we have grown accustomed to and provide consumers with enough distinction, reliability and flair with future models, we see no reason why it can’t soar to previous heights.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.
Photography

Sorry, DSLR, but Sony mirrorless is now the best-selling full-frame camera

Four out of every ten full-frame cameras sold in the United States during the first-half of 2018 had the Sony name. That makes Sony's mirrorless full-frame cameras the best-selling models.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Product Review

Grins come standard: Mazda's 2019 MX-5 Miata will plaster a smile on your face

We take Mazda’s updated 2019 MX-5 Miata on a road trip from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco to experience the updates. With a revised engine and more power, the already awesome Miata gets even better.
Cars

How to watch Formula 1 online

There are plenty of Formula 1 races every year, many of which take place in some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Check out our brief guide on how to watch Formula 1 online, if you're looking to keep up on the action.
Smart Home

Kroger supermarket chain tests driverless grocery deliveries in Arizona

Kroger and autonomous delivery innovator Nuro began a pilot program in Scottdale, Arizona, for grocery home deliveries with Prius cars to test the self-driving concept. The first tests do not use the purpose-built Nuro vehicle.
Cars

Whistleblower says a drug-peddling Mexican cartel thrives in Tesla’s Gigafactory

A former Tesla employee says the firm covered up links between some of its workers and a Mexican drug cartel, spied on its employees by wiretapping their phones, and failed to report a $37 million theft. Tesla denies the claims.
Cars

Redesigned 2019 Subaru Forester crossover starts at $25K, hits showrooms in fall

The 2019 Subaru Forester hits showrooms this fall with more tech than ever, including a system that uses facial recognition to detect driver fatigue. Pricing starts at $25,270, but goes up to $34,295 for the top Touring model.
Cars

Lack of domestic battery production could short German automakers’ EV plans

As automakers ramp up efforts to produce more electric and hybrid vehicles, this has increased the demand for battery production. However, analysts fear some companies could struggle with this demand, specifically German car companies.
Cars

Diesel isn't evil! The best diesel cars on the market do it right

When done right, a diesel engine remains an excellent option for buyers who want to save gas. Modern diesel engines are smoother, peppier, and more efficient than ever before. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

Nvidia ‘more than happy to help’ if Tesla’s self-driving chip doesn’t pan out

After Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the intention to use an in-house Autopilot chip, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang responded to an analyst's question, saying that if the Tesla chip doesn't work out, he'd be more than happy to help.
Cars

A bit of patchwork can have you back on the road

Flat tires often come at the worst possible time. Whether you're fixing a flat tire or replacing it, our step-by-step how-to guide will help you get your car back on the road with time to spare.
Cars

Bugatti’s new Divo will be light, nimble, and sharp as a scalpel

Bugatti doesn't introduce a new model very often. When it does, the whole industry sits up and takes notice. Named Divo, the firm's next car will arrive in August as a light, nimble model inspired by race cars built in the 1920s.