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View Poll Results: Does Lexus have too many entry level cars?
yes 5 10.64%
no 25 53.19%
who cares 17 36.17%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

Does Lexus have TOO many entry level cars

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Old 12-05-09, 01:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Agreed.



True, but that is starting to change. The upcoming market for luxury cars is going to be hybrids and diesels, no matter what the price range. You yourself, for example, drive a GS Hybrid. When the new CAFE laws take effect in a few more years, small luxury-hybrids like the HS250 are going to take off.

It depends as its an "AVERAGE" so if the company has some 50-60mpg cars, they can afford to have some 20 or 25 MPG cars.



The 1-series, in America, was the right idea but the wrong engines. BMW made a srious marketing error by not making a base 4-cylinder available in America. It pushed the 1-series' base price up too high....almost overlapping that of the 3-series. Another error was not offering a xi AWD 1-series. Those two policies have cost them sales. The Lexus IS250AWD, for instance, has been enormously popular here n te D.C. area.....I see more of them than RWD models.

For America they felt it was the right engines as they want to protect their image and we don't want hatches. The 1 series I think we all agree is no bargain but I don't know if a bunch of people want 4 cylinder hatch/coupe 1 series cars in America.



Audi isn't really that much different in its base marketing policy either. The A3, A4, and lower-priced versions of the A5, depending on equipment/options, all overlap, to some extent, in their price ranges. You have a point, though, about the three Lexus models all being markedly different from each other, although the three base Audi models, of course, offer sedan (A4), hatchback/wagon A3, A4), and coupe (A5). But the three Audi models offer exxentially the same drivetrains....FWD/AWD, with no RWD option. And, of course, with Audi, the A3 TDI takes the place of the HS250 hybrid.

Yup, Audi has the stategy and the new A1 will also come in coupe, convert, etc forms. This is a GROWING market and only a fool would not have multiple entries.






They have sold well, though I know you don't like the new TL's looks (I don't either).

Actually they have not. The TSX sells okay and I do believe it will hit its 40k a year sales goal. The TL's goal was 70k and they will hit 40k. That is a HUGE miss. The TL is an utter disaster and failure.



The I35 was too much like the Maxima.....a classic rebadging. That's why it didn't sell better , although I considered one when I bought my Lexus IS300.

Agreed




The main reason the Maxima is selling now is that Nissan, once again, gave it a decent interior after the disaster of the first Ghosn years.

I think its part of it. The interior is basically an Infiniti. The engine is great, features are great. I think people LOVE the styling and that is the main reason for its sales. Its a serious contender for my G/F's next car.




Lexus, as you note, has avoided that market for a reason. Shoppers who are looking at small SUV's usually end up looking at vehicles in the RAV4, CR-V, Rogue, Tiguan, and Outlander class.....and taking them home.

For now the cute-ute market sucks. Maybe it will grow in the future and Lexus will enter it. To me the market is very saturated and you can get a nice bigger more luxurious faster RX for the price of a cute-ute.
I suck at multi-quote
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Old 12-05-09, 01:26 PM   #17
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Everyone had some great points. But to clarify I believe that more entry level product wouldn't be bad (read: coupes, hatchbacks, roadsters etc), but the problem I see people gripe about (at least recently, because as encore888 said 5 years ago everyone was saying their were too many SUVs) is that Lexus has too many entry sedans.

In my opinion, Lexus's entry level strategy is unlike any other luxury company. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, and I'm not sure if it's the most ideal approach to the entry level market.

For example Audi has a few sub $40K products in the US but their all different types of vehicles. They have the A3 which is sold solely as a hatchback, the A4 that is sold solely as a sedan, the A5 which is sold as coupe or convertible, and the Q5 which is a CUV.

I like this approach because there is no real overlap and it's just a more streamlined and clean approach, but it doesn't come without compromises. For example, because the A4 is the only sedan for Audi in this price segment in order for them to appeal to customers that wanted more space they had to grow the A4 4 inches (and hundreds of pounds), but at the same time that move hurts it's compact sport sedan appeal to some others.

So no way is perfect, but the real question is does having so many sedans at that price hurt Lexus's image? Also, do all of those sedans cannibalize each other? Do they limit the potential of more high end sales (particular does the ES eat into GS sales)? Would overall sales be higher if there was only one or 2 entry level sedans?

Now I know that there are reasons for Lexus's approach and it's been extremely successful for them, but I think it's something interesting to discuss. Personally I think Lexus's entry level sedan strategy is a little confusing and maybe a bit of it is overkill. With the IS and HS covering the bottom the ES could move upmarket and add a hybrid and optional AWD system. Right now very few people buy the GS because the ES is such a bargain, but if the ES were to move up a notch then the GS and ES would be equals and the main deciding factors would be FWD versus RWD/Comfort versus Sport. That might not work for Lexus and the potential backlash is too great for it to ever happen (see: Acura TL), but its an idea.
Well as you and I have stated, we have NEVER seen this strategy before from any other luxury brand. The ES/IS duo was already unusual, 3 is highly unusual. However it seems to work. As I mentioned who knows, maybe the ES will move up and it will be IS/HS then ES/GS then LS.

We SPECULATE the ES is hurting GS sales, up until this year, the GS was 3rd best selling in class. I do agree I can see some cannibalization.

As for image, I can't recall one person I've spoken to that mentions entry level with the IS/ES/HS. They simply call them a Lexus. This is even true for the TL or G37. The one vehicle I hear more about "image' is the C-class. People like to pick on it for being the "baby" Lexus or "you can't afford a real Benz" Utter garbage. The one thing I've heard in person about the ES is "Its a fancy Camry". not that its entry-level.

Most people would LOVE an entry level luxury car as they are still highly desirable. Some people don't own one their entire lives.

On the INTERNET, you have some people with their Lexus vendetta that try to spin and make up points and imply entry level is some bad thing WHEN EVERONE'S sales are mostly from that price point. Again Lexus has move vehicles over 45k than under 45k
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Old 12-05-09, 02:40 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 1SICKLEX View Post
I suck at multi-quote
And, I sometimes suck at correct spelling/punctuation.

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Actually they have not. The TSX sells okay and I do believe it will hit its 40k a year sales goal. The TL's goal was 70k and they will hit 40k. That is a HUGE miss. The TL is an utter disaster and failure.
Even if the TL doesn't hit the 70K goal, 40K in today's economy isn't bad, particularly for an upmarket sedan. Not every car can have Camry/Accord sales figures.
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Old 12-05-09, 03:06 PM   #19
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How does one define entry level these days? For instance (just an example here don't trip), my 3 series coupe costs as much as a brand new Lexus GS460. Lexus HS250H cost more than some larger luxury cars from other manufactures as well. So what is truly entry level these days?
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Old 12-05-09, 03:11 PM   #20
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How does one define entry level these days? For instance (just an example here don't trip), my 3 series coupe costs as much as a brand new Lexus GS460. Lexus HS250H cost more than some larger luxury cars from other manufactures as well. So what is truly entry level these days?

I think most of us, as me and Mike (1SICKLEX) do, would define an entry-level luxury vehicle as costing between 30-40K and from an upmarket-nameplate automaker. Several lower-priced versions of the BMW 1 and 3-series, for example, fit that category.
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Old 12-05-09, 03:12 PM   #21
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No, I don't think Lexus has too many entry-level cars, but they seriously took a leap of faith with the HS styling.

Otherwise, they got it good...affordable and feature-laden FWD (ES), smaller and sportier RWD (IS), FWD SUV with avail AWD (RX).
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Old 12-05-09, 03:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by 1SICKLEX View Post
The one vehicle I hear more about "image' is the C-class. People like to pick on it for being the "baby" Lexus or "you can't afford a real Benz" Utter garbage. The one thing I've heard in person about the ES is "Its a fancy Camry". not that its entry-level.
The C-Class of today is more worthy of representing Mercedes-Benz, but its earliest antecedent, the 190 E, was very heavily criticized in its day as "not a real Benz". At the time, I remember criticism of its cramped dimensions, lower-grade materials, especially when compared to the rest of the lineup. Some articles reference this:

http://www.automobilesdeluxe.tv/the-baby-benz/
http://www.automobilesdeluxe.tv/bmw-...mercedes-cant/

As for the ES, definitely the Camry association is the most common knock against it..."Camry with frosting", "overpriced Camry" etc. Tell that to a Camry owner or driver. However, even the short-lived first generation still was spacious, and had quality materials (the brochure mentioned how the wood was the same on the RMS Queen Mary, for instance). Today though, the ES has gained a reputation as the midsize luxury comfort-riding sedan...witness its top rankings in publications for stress-free and less than exciting luxury driving, and how it is now the target of a number of manufacturers.

Actually regarding the entry-level discussion, I'd say that the HS initially did give me some 190 E-style fears, because of the exterior styling. Having now sat inside the car, I do feel assuaged by its fit and finish, the materials and functionality. It is the first 4-cylinder Lexus, and the overall styling is not a standout for the brand, but probably buyers will regard it in the hybrid-differentiation category.
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Old 12-05-09, 04:22 PM   #23
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Based on the solid success of Lexus, it's not something they need to worry about. Each product in their portfolio needs to stand on its own merits.
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Old 12-05-09, 04:25 PM   #24
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No, I don't think Lexus has too many entry-level cars, but they seriously took a leap of faith with the HS styling.
Ugly was started with the trend-setting Prius (especially first 2 gens), but you can see latest version getting watered-down. I expect the HS to get improved styling in its next version too. But the ultra-efficient hybrid category is unique.
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Old 12-05-09, 04:34 PM   #25
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Ugly was started with the trend-setting Prius (especially first 2 gens), but you can see latest version getting watered-down. I expect the HS to get improved styling in its next version too. But the ultra-efficient hybrid category is unique.
HS does not have much to do with Prius ;-).
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Old 12-05-09, 06:57 PM   #26
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Instead of moving the ES up(VERY bad idea IMO), they should just make the next GS VERY sporty to further differentialte itself from the same size ES.

ES aren't available outside most of N.America anyway, not even Japan, although I have seen them in the middle east ...
The fact that ES aren't offered anywhere except NA is quite peculiar.

I agree that moving the ES upmarket would be risky, but it wouldn't be a bad idea. I know you're from Canada and the price there is already high, so moving it upmarket there wouldn't be good, but here in the US 90% of ES's on dealer lots are $40K or more. To move it upmarket would only involve making the most popular options and packages standard and only having one or two packages to choose from instead of 4 or 5. FWIW the 270hp Cadillac CTS (although RWD) is priced at about $40K. All I'm suggesting is for the ES to match the price and feature content of the CTS, which is still selling well in this economy. I'm not saying that the ES should move up 10 grand but it could move up modestly to make room for it's lower priced siblings. Then Lexus could add an AWD option and an even higher priced hybrid variant (ES450h). If they wanted to they could even add an HS300h (2.7L I4 +electric motor) to absorb some former low end ES buyers.

Again this all would be a VERY risky move, but it would be quite interesting. Would it be successful? Who knows. They would probably lose some sales on the ES, but the hope would be that some of the former "low end" ES customers would buy the HS/IS. What makes this slightly different from Acura moving the TL upmarket is, that former TL customers had no where to go when the move was made. Acura should have made sure the TSX was ready to absorb former TL customers but they didn't bring a V6 TSX until after the fact and by then the buyers had already left. Lexus already has two really strong entry level sedans so an ES move would be far less catastrophic. Oh and the ES isn't butt ugly so that also helps. Anyway I want to reiterate that I doubt this would ever happen but it's an idea.

I REALLY hope they make the next GS VERY sporty but Lexus can't alienate too many of the original GS buyers. What could really differentiate the GS is making the interior materials and quality EQUAL to the LS, so that it feels like a more significant upgrade over the ES (right now, the ES and GS are both too close in interior feel).

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Based on the solid success of Lexus, it's not something they need to worry about.
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Old 12-05-09, 07:00 PM   #27
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Ugly was started with the trend-setting Prius (especially first 2 gens), but you can see latest version getting watered-down.
How is ugliness in the 3Gen model "Watered Down"? IMO, I don't see the 3Gen Prius as looking any better than the first two, and, to boot, it uses cheaper, flimsier materials for the body and interior.
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Old 12-05-09, 07:07 PM   #28
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To clarify, while N America is the ES' largest market, the ES is currently sold in:

US
Canada
Brazil
China
Korea
Philippines
Taiwan
Bahrain
Kuwait
Oman
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Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

...and in many of those markets it is the top-selling Lexus model.
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Old 12-05-09, 07:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by encore888 View Post
To clarify, while N America is the ES' largest market, the ES is currently sold in:

US
Canada
Brazil
China
Korea
Philippines
Taiwan
Bahrain
Kuwait
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

...and in many of those markets it is the top-selling Lexus model.
It's (probaby) the top-selling Lexus sedan in America, too, although there is no doubting the extreme popularity of the RX as an SUV.
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Old 12-05-09, 08:10 PM   #30
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I have heard the same as well. The ES sells like hot cakes.
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