The US luxury market is a tough one, admits Toyota's new North American boss.
Lexus is currently working on a few new or refreshed products, including the LS facelift, next-generation IS, and even a Toyota Yaris Cross-based entry-level crossover. This may sound like a busy schedule but Toyota Motor North America's new CEO, Ted Ogawa, admitted the premium brand needs to shorten its relatively lengthy cadence in an interview to Automotive News.
“I have no worries about the Toyota lineup, but in the case of Lexus, the cadence is an issue,” he told the publication back in March this year. “So for this year, the LC convertible is new. Profitwise, it may be OK, but in this sense, the Lexus dealer body wants to see more product sooner.”
Gallery: 2021 Lexus LC
Ogawa also commented that the luxury car market in the United States is very tough right now because many brands rely on aggressive discount strategies. Plus, the German brands have way more products and a significantly shorter cadence, which makes it difficult for a niche player like Lexus to attract new customers to the marque. Could things improve for the Japanese company with new products?
“Yes, product and the cadence, and No. 2 is the cost competitiveness,” Ogawa continued. “Aggressive incentives from German brands in particular are impacting the market. So we need to change the luxury market, which has been tough for us. Customers rely on the quality of our products, but dealers have issues with cadence. I can improve product and cadence because those are in my hands. But I cannot control the market, so that's very difficult, and I don't have the right answer yet for that.”
One interesting topic Ogawa briefly discussed during the interview was the future of the Toyota Land Cruiser off-roader, which seems uncertain at this point. He acknowledged Toyota dealers around the country “strongly want the nameplate” but there’s no final decision taken yet.