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Toyota drives in luxury brand Lexus to India with 3 models

Japanese auto major Toyota's luxury brand Lexus on Friday entered India with the launch of three models priced up to Rs 1.09 crore (ex-showroom).Lexus introduced the RX Hybrid model priced at Rs 1.07 crore, RX F Sport hybrid at Rs 1.09 crore and ES 300h hybrid sedan priced at Rs 55.27 lakh (all prices ex-showroom).

The company also unveiled its top end SUV LX450d, but didn't announce price, along with the fifth generation Lexus LS which would be available for sales from next year.

Lexus is entering the Indian market with an aim to tap the growing number of luxury customers, specially those Toyota customers who are looking to upgrade.

"Toyota manufactures Camry hybrid already in India and many of the customers are looking to upgrade. Therefore, it is the right time for Lexus to enter the Indian market so that our customers don't go to other brands," Lexus International President Yoshihiro Sawa said.

"The Indian luxury customers are growing and it's part of our future strategy to tap them," he added.

The company will start retailing the products from four dealerships -- Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru -- to start up in the country.

Additionally it will also establish service centres at Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi.

Lexus India Senior Vice President Akitoshi Takemura said they will have to first see the response in the country before before taking a call on having local manufacturing in India.

"There is scope for local manufacturing, we support Prime Minister's 'Make in India' initiative but for the time being we are just starting operations. We will have to see how the market functions. If volume consolidates and reach a critical level then we may think of local manufacturing," Takemura said.

At present the models would be imported from Japan, he added.

When asked about competition in the luxury segment with established brands like Audi and Mercedes already present for more than a decade, Takemura said the they would first like to establish in the country and would not go for big numbers.

"Our pricing position is higher than JLR or German brands. We haven't set a sales target as such and would like to create Lexus brand in the country," he said.

When asked about synergy with Toyota brand, he said that some of the existing dealers would also be able to provide servicing facilities to the Lexus customers as they are already experienced on providing service to Toyota Camry hybrid customers.

Bullish on the Indian market, Takemura said, "High net worth individuals are growing in India , getting more affluent and they are spending on luxury items." Besides, Lexus would like to provide the solution of eco friendly mobility in luxury segment, he said.
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