Home / Motor/ Lexus, Infiniti luxury car brands test ways to fight Tesla, German rivals

Lexus, Infiniti luxury car brands test ways to fight Tesla, German rivals


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 24 January 2018 00:01


Detroit (Reuters): Japanese luxury auto brands Lexus and Infiniti are using the Detroit auto show to test new ways to regain momentum against Germany’s prestige automakers and Silicon Valley’s Tesla Inc.

Toyota Motor Corp’s Lexus brand unveiled at Detroit its “LF-1 Limitless” concept SUV model, signaling that Lexus may start to focus more on SUVs than its traditional large sedans.

The LF-1 proposed a blend of an aggressive, sleek profile with a system called ‘Chauffeur mode’ which allows the driver to take hands off the wheel and let the SUV handle most of the driving.

The LF-1’s also previews a futuristic navigation technology that anticipates where the driver is going based on driving habits and history, and provides hotel recommendations or other concierge services.

“We don’t want to be the ‘race car’ brand; we don’t want to be the ‘quiet ride’ brand. We want to be the brand which is emotionally connected with the customer,” said Cooper Ericksen, Vice President of US marketing for Lexus. The Japanese luxury brands are fighting to gain ground in the US luxury market as Volkswagen AG’s Audi brand and Mercedes-Benz have expanded sales, and Tesla has provided a fresh alternative to the established brands.

Last year the Lexus brand suffered a 7.6% slide in US sales last year. At Honda Motor Ltd’s Acura luxury brand, 2017 sales fell 3.9% from 2016. Nissan Motor Ltd’s Infiniti pushed up sales by 11.3%, mainly by selling almost twice as many sport utility vehicles as cars. However, Infiniti’s total 2017 sales of 153,415 vehicles put it behind the leading Germany luxury car brands, as well as Acura, Lexus and General Motors Co’s Cadillac brand. Lexus, Infiniti and Acura launched in the US market in the late 1980s and took advantage of quality problems at Audi and a lack of innovation at the then-leading luxury brands in the market, General Motors Co’s Cadillac and Ford Motor Co’s Lincoln brand.

Now, the structure of the US luxury vehicle market has changed. Four brands - Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, BMW AG, Volkswagen’s Audi brand and Lexus dominate sales in the US luxury market.

Tesla, meanwhile, has gathered more than 400,000 orders for its Model 3 sedan, which is just starting to reach customers as the automaker tries to iron out production problems.

In Detroit, Infiniti showed a future sedan powered by a high efficiency gasoline engine. While the prototype is not electric, its exterior might appeal to customers of the Tesla Model S.

“We don’t look at Tesla and try to do the same idea of luxury, but there has been a natural evolution of luxury,” Infiniti’s executive design director Karim Habib said at the North American International Auto Show. 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Reaching global quality standards through Deming Award

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The importance of quality in the contemporary competitive business environment cannot be over-emphasised. Total Quality Management (TQM)is a company-wide, all pervasive management philosophy, which organisations globally, in many business sectors hav


Ramsar accreditation of Colombo Wetlands: Rebranding Colombo as a Wetland City

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Colombo, once known to be “kolonthota,” has always been identified as a wetland complex at the heart of the Kelani river delta. Today this city is increasingly drying up, with around 20 sq km left as wetlands which continue to be threatened every


Coup Sri Lanka: some winners, mostly losers

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

As a president proves shockingly stubborn, a nation waits with baited breath as to what His Excellency the loose cannon on a rocky slope will do next. Two Prime Ministers and the fates of their respective parliamentary groups hang in the balance lik


Rising dollar and bank NPA, brothers in arms?

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The rising Non-Performing Advances (NPA/NPAs) is a matter of concern to the entire financial industry. It is a nightmare. The weekend papers have published some articles based on interviews journalists conducted with respective bank CEOs and also bas


Columnists More