Business / Corporate

Japan gets first dibs on new Lexus RC coupe


Toyota Motor Corp. has added a sports coupe to its Lexus range and launched it in Japan ahead of other markets.

The new RC coupe, with a sticker price of ¥5.65 million, is being rolled out along with the higher-performance RC F version starting at ¥9.53 million.

The models, first unveiled last November at the Tokyo Motor Show, are debuting at a delicate time for the Japanese auto industry, with consumer sentiment dampened by the first stage of the consumption tax hike in April. Vehicle sales fell for the third straight month in September.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a final decision by the end of the year on whether to complete the doubling of the consumption tax to 10 percent next October.

Tokuo Fukuichi, head of the Lexus division, brushed aside concerns about the impact of the tax hikes on the new models, citing solid sales of the new Lexus NX, a small SUV introduced in July, as a signal that demand is firm for new models.

He said Thursday that consumers have already “loosened their purse strings,” after being encouraged by Abe’s economic policies.

The RC and the RC F will be introduced in North America, Europe and other markets starting next month.

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