REPORTS out of the US suggest that Lexus is planning to target younger buyers in the 25-49 age group. Toyota Executive Tokuichi Uranishi has mooted a new entry-level model for Europe, and Lexus Australia boss John Roca is eager to get such a car into Australian showrooms.
There has been talk that Lexus is working on a competitor to BMW's 1 Series, which would give the Japanese luxury automaker a means of competing for younger buyers looking for a luxury brand, but aren't yet ready to commit to a more expensive model.
The entry-level Lexus, which is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, will be built on the same Prius-derived platform as the HS 250h mini-Lexus, and, like the HS, will power its front wheels via a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
Unlike the Prius, the Lexus hybrid will be tuned with a greater emphasis on power rather than efficiency, making it an appealing prospect for younger buyers more concerned with style and performance than frugality.
Lexus Australia CEO John Roca believes that a Lexus that sits below the IS 250 in size and price would be perfect for Australia. He notes that younger buyers are more open to and knowledgeable of the Lexus brand as a luxury badge, while older buyers are more traditionally inclined to favour European luxury brands.