The Lexus phenomenon continues to gather pace. Figures just released for the first six months of 2001 show that Lexus is the fastest growing prestige brand in the UK with sales up 31.66 per cent over last year. The market as a whole was up 4.32 per cent, but many of Lexus rivals could not match that level, one recording a reduction in volume (see data table overleaf).
The continued strong growth of Lexus – it is now on course for its fifth straight year of increased sales in the UK – comes thanks to new models bringing more and more customers to the Top Gear/J D Power winning brand for the first time.
The new for 2000 RX300 and high performance GS430 accounted for over one thousand new owners in the six month period while the new LS430 has seen sales rise by 76 per cent over the previous flagship model.
The compact, sporty IS200 remains the most popular Lexus model with over 4,000 cars sold in the first six months of the year, up 4.1 per cent compared to last year. This success will grow further later in the year with the introduction of the 3.0-litre IS300 in both saloon and, all new, versatile five-door SportCross derivatives.
Commenting on the half-year results, Stuart McCullough, Lexus Director, said: “The performance of the whole car industry is good given the unsettled economic situation over the first six months of the year, but the results for Lexus are remarkable. The combination of new products and our dealers’ ongoing commitment to provide the best customer service – many from new, purpose built facilities – is clearly proving attractive to buyers in the prestige sector. With more new models just around the corner we aim to do even better.”
The last days of June also marked the first registrations of the new icon of the Lexus range, the SC430 coupe. The first 10 cars were registered by the company as demonstrators as it gears up for the introduction of the £50,000 luxury coupe convertible. Fully equipped as standard – like all Lexus models – the SC430 boasts an even better version of the highly praised Lexus satellite navigation system. For example, the DVD based system can now find and give directions to restaurants around Europe by category – i.e. French, Italian and even fast food.
The SC430 also features the best hi-fi stereo system ever fitted to a production car. The Mark Levinson system was created especially for the SC430 and uses a 440Watt amplifier and nine custom designed speakers. The system automatically takes into account the different acoustic environments of open or closed roof motoring with a digital sound processor.
Deliveries of the new Lexus SC430 begin shortly, but it will not add many to the overall sales of Lexus due to its exclusivity. All of the 250 cars allocated to the UK for 2001 are already sold.
UK New Car Registrations – Jan-Jun 2001
Make – Growth vs. 2000
- Lexus – 31.66%
- Audi – 22.34%
- BMW – 8.53%
- Mercedes Benz – 5.61%
- Volvo – 2.99%
- Jaguar – -3.25%