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It seems to be an emerging trend amongst Japanese automakers, one of transferring critical aspects of operations to locations outside of Japan. Nissan has already done it by opening a new HQ in Hong Kong, now Lexus is looking to shift key units, notably it’s global marketing operations, from the Japan to the US.
Executive vice president Yukitoshi Funo says that the move is part of a plan to make the brand seem less Japan-centric and reinforce it’s image as a global powerhouse. In some respects it’s perhaps a bit ironic since Japan was one of the later markets where Lexus, as a brand was introduced (many JDM versions of Lexus cars and SUVs being labeled as high zoot Toyotas for many years).
With the move of global marketing operations, there are also rumors circulating that Lexus could move its actual global headquarters overseas, though as yet such reports are unfounded. If such a scenario were to materialize, many say that the US would be a logical choice, as the brand has been established the longest here.
Whether that happens or not, the shifting of marketing responsibilities Stateside indicates that a new mentality is taking hold at Toyota, reinforced by one company executive during a Tokyo Motor Show reception who elected not to use chopsticks while eating. “We [as a company] don’t want to be blatantly Japanese,” he said.
[Source: Automotive News]