Friday, 30 March 2012

European dominance for Lexus in 2012

Luxury Japanese car maker Lexus is expecting European sales to boom in 2012 following a successful 2011. Last year, over 43,000 cars were sold in Europe, an increase of 40%, and this year Lexus forecasts sales to rise about 50,000. It is an ambitious target, as the overall luxury car market in Europe is expected to remain fairly flat throughout 2012. Lexus has made a few changes to its offerings, however, with a facelift given to its vehicles, new smaller models in its range, as well as more fuel efficient larger models, all of which are helping to drive its success.

Lexus has struggled particularly badly throughout the economic crisis, which hit back in 2008 and coincided with stricter controls on vehicle emissions, encouraging many motorists, including the crucial fleet buyers market, to downsize to smaller models. Lexus has traditionally sold larger cars with an emphasis on luxury rather than the environment and efficiency, but the changes it is making are helping to turn the company’s reputation around.

For example, the new RX 450h SUV, which was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, has CO2 emissions below 150g/km, making it suitable for company car buyers. In addition, the introduction of the CT 200h has helped to put Lexus back on the map with European motorists. The new hatchback made up almost half of all sales in Europe for Lexus in 2011, with 17,000 vehicles sold, as Lexus explored a new market.

Lexus has traditionally been very successful in the US market, and hopes to regain its position as the best-selling luxury car company there in 2012 with the launch of nine new models. This will help the car maker achieve its global sales target of 510,000 vehicles in 2012 compared to 404,000 in 2011. The new CT 200h is available now at every Lexus dealer across the UK, and the new RX 450h SUV will be available later this year.

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