Luxury Lexus brand looks to growth

Lexus, the Japanese premium marque, is upbeat about its prospects in Thailand in 2013, expecting 13.7% sales growth to 870 cars.

Lexus will spend 100 million baht to expand its showrooms and service centres to upcountry, most likely in Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, where large groups of potential premium customers live, says Mr Kubo. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

The promising sales growth is attributed mainly to the relatively narrow price gap between Lexus vehicles imported through authorised dealers and independent importers or the grey market.

The price difference between the two markets for Lexus is only about 100,000 baht, up to one-third that of other brands in the premium car segment.

Sales of premium cars in general will remain brisk this year, with expected sales of 16,000 to 17,000 vehicles, up from 13,000 in 2012, thanks mainly to rising demand from medium- and high-income customers.

Premium cars are generally defined as models priced from 1.8 million baht.

Lexus automobiles in Thailand are available through three authorised dealers _ Lexus Sukhumvit, Lexus Auto City on Ram Intra Road and Lexus Bangkok in Huai Khwang district.

Lexus is the luxury brand of Toyota Motor Corporation, and all Lexus cars in Thailand are imported from Japan.

Hiroshi Kubo, the managing director of Lexus Sukhumvit, said his company expects sales growth of 18.3% to 220 units this year, then 300 next year.

The company will spend 100 million baht to expand its showrooms and service centres to upcountry, he said.

"We're considering Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai, where large groups of potential premium customers live," said Mr Kubo.

He said Lexus will launch two more new models locally this year after recently introducing two new models of the Lexus IS series priced from 2.99 to 3.99 million baht.

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Writer: Piyachart Maikaew
Position: Business Reporter