Lexus dealers have sent a grave warning to the company’s corporate brass in an internal document that has been obtained by the team at Jalopnik. The file, which details the concerns expressed by dealers at the recent Lexus Southern Region meeting, cites numerous issues with the brand and warns that, “it risks becoming another Buick.”
Recently Lexus admitted that it doesn’t expect to hold on to the luxury sales crown in North America, a title it has held for the last 11 years. And while the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have been the tipping point for Lexus, the problem has been building for years.
Apart from the CT200h and smaller volume GX SUV, Lexus has been slow to roll out all-new products in recent years, as volume sellers like the ES, RX and IS have grown stale. Those models continue to sell well, but the dealers warn, “Lexus cannot afford to rely on selling cars to its existing aging customer base.”
What dealers want, according to the document, are vehicles with more style, technology and features. In particular, they want a smaller crossover below the RX, a larger crossover above the RX, an IS Coupe and a replacement for the SC hardtop convertible. In-car technology has helped many automakers rebrand themselves in recent years, and that is another area Lexus needs to improve on say dealers, noting that Toyota’s Entune system is far more advanced than anything Lexus has to offer.
In response to the story, both Lexus and its dealers refuted the article, claiming that the document is actually a sign of how well Lexus and its dealer network work together, with a dialog aimed at improving the company.
At the recent New York Auto Show, Lexus unveiled the LF-Gh concept, which sets the tone for a more exciting design for future Lexus models. But the brand will need to do far more than just produce more exciting looking cars, especially with German rivals making great strides recently in interior quality and powertrains