From Question Mark To Benchmark

28 July 1999

– Lexus Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary –

It is often said that what is happening in America today happens here 10 years later. If so, then the fact that Lexus is celebrating its tenth anniversary from the Number One slot in the US luxury car market is a prediction Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar and Audi should fear.

Ten years ago this month Lexus was revving its engine and preparing to enter the US luxury car race. The big question was whether this unknown newcomer could compete against established German and American luxury marques.

Now, 10 years later, Lexus is leading the race. For the first half of 1999, Lexus is the No. 1-selling luxury car in the United States, outselling Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac and all other luxury competitors.

“At the outset we established two primary goals – offer the best products in the world and exceed customers’ expectations. We’ve stuck by that philosophy and in the process we’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, including our own,” said US Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Bryan Bergsteinsson.

Lexus’ debut came with the LS 400 luxury saloon. From the moment it entered the market, the LS 400 was hailed as one of the finest cars ever made. Lexus quickly carved a niche for itself and, in 1993, became the No. 1 luxury import brand in the US. By the mid-90s, Lexus had become a household name and earned the reputation of selling bulletproof cars that were fully specified and setting new standards of customer satisfaction.

For the 1999 model year, Lexus launched the RX 300, a car-based 4-wheel drive, which offers the commanding ride height and off-road functionality of an off-roader without sacrificing the smooth ride, handling and comfort of a luxury car. The RX 300 has become a runaway success, establishing an all-new segment in the market.

Lexus’ US product line-up is continuing to grow, but for once Europe is ahead with the launch of the IS200 as the US version of the car is not scheduled to be launched until mid-2000.

In the UK, 1999 will be the third consecutive year of record Lexus sales and many of the lessons from America are being applied here. This is most apparent with the introduction of a new network of dedicated Lexus Centres across the country. They will offer UK customers the outstanding levels of customer service that have made Lexus number one in the US.

But can Lexus be the top luxury car brand in the UK in 10 years time? A decade ago few would have predicted that Lexus would be the current benchmark in the US.

ENDS

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