Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it will introduce its Lexus luxury brand on the domestic market.
Lexus cars were introduced in the United States in 1989, with Toyota currently operating 201 Lexus outlets throughout the nation.
Japan’s largest carmaker also said it will reorganize its domestic sales networks in an effort to boost car sales in the sluggish market.
Kazushi Iwatsuki, executive vice president of Toyota, said that Toyota will form a new specialty sales network in mid-2005 to market Lexus models.
The carmaker will integrate its Vista and Netz sales networks into a new Netz network in spring 2004. The new network will have 1,600 outlets and about 30,000 employees.
The Vista network currently handles midsize cars, including the Verossa, while the Netz network deals with compacts, including the Vitz.
Iwatsuki said that, as consumer demand is diversifying, these strategic changes will help Toyota maintain a share of more than 40 percent of the domestic car market, excluding minicars.
Toyota cars are currently marketed via five sales channels, comprising about 5,000 outlets.
By integrating the Netz and the Vista networks, Toyota will have four sales networks for Toyota brand cars.
Toyota will also reinforce the operations of its other three channels — the Toyota, Toyopet and Corolla networks — and review their product lineups.
Iwatsuki said that the number of Toyota sales outlets will not decline in light of these reorganization plans.
The company will set up about 150 Lexus outlets in Japan and develop new premium Lexus models that will be different from the traditional expensive models, including the Crown, according to Iwatsuki.
While enjoying thriving trade overseas, Toyota saw its domestic sales fall 2 percent in 2002 to 1.68 million units.
In addition, the Toyota Corolla compact fell to the second place on the nation’s best sellers list last year for the first time in 34 years. It was beaten by the Honda Fit.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.