Lexus is the big winner
When most people think of Toyota gaining marketshare, they think it will be through sales in the United States, mainly through hybrids It won’t be just by selling hybrids, though they will sell plenty of those. The push will be by taking their luxury brand, Lexus, to Japan. Lexus sales in the United States are growing daily. In October Lexus marketshare, according to the Power Information Network (PIN), a J.D. Power group, was 1.65 percent. In November the marketshare for Lexus jumped to 1.69 while Mercedes fell from 1.24 to 1.22. BMW stayed the same and Audi went from .45 to .46. According to PIN, Lexus Cars jumped to 14,001 units in November, from 10,214 in October; a 37.1% increase. Sales for the GS, IS and SC totaled 7,694 units in November in the United States.
Toyota sells Toyota, Scion, and Lexus in the United States. The Scion xA and xB are marketed in Japan as Toyota products. Lexus is sold in many countries, but it was not sold in Japan until this year. Toyota holds 43% of the Japanese market, but not the luxury market. Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi all hold about 1 percent each in Japan, all in the luxury market. Cars that cost more than $45,000 account for about 60% of total imported sales. There were about 100,000 of them sold last year.
All Lexus sedans are made in Japan. The IS and GS models are the hottest cars in the United States. The IS and GS are built at the Tahara plant and the Kyushu plant in Japan. In August of 2005, Toyota started selling Lexus in Japan. In August, they sold 156 IS, and in October they sold 2,985 IS GS and SC.
Toyota always has a policy of not speaking of its competitors and they almost always project their numbers to the media lower than they actually sell. Toyota is hoping to sell around 10,000 unit’s in the first year. Oh, come on. They’ve already sold 4,548 Lexus in two months. They’re going to be able to sell the Lexus cheaper in Japan, because that is where they are made, so no shipping cost. My figures come out to about one-third of the luxury market if Toyota keeps up this pace. That would take Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi marketshare down in Japan.
Expect Toyota to keep up the pace. By May of 2006, Toyota will introduce the GS 450h (hybrid) in Japan and its LS flagship sedan (which sold 1,635 unit’s in the U.S. in November) by September of 2006.
In the United States Lexus already sells; ES-Series, GS-Series, IS-Series, LS-Series, SC-Series, GX 470, LX-Series, and the RX-Series. Expect the Lexus LS 600h V-8 sedan in 2007.
And just six weeks after introducing the new IS 350 to the American market, Lexus announced today that it will enter the powerful luxury sport sedan in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT2 class in 2006 with a two-car team. After all, the old adage is, race on Sunday, buy on Monday.