• Nna/kyodo

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Marking the model’s first launch in Southeast Asia, Toyota Motor Corp. has begun selling the latest model of its flagship Lexus luxury sedan series in Thailand.

Following its launch in Japan last month, the automaker released its all-new LS — the fifth generation of the model — this week in Thailand, where it aims to sell 40 units there during the first year. The sedan will be on sale there after being remodeled for the first time in 10 years.

The new LS sedan, with a 3.5-liter engine, is made in Japan and is priced at between 11.5 million baht (over ¥39 million) and 15.8 million baht (about ¥54 million).

Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont, executive vice president of Toyota’s Thai arm, Toyota Motor Thailand Co., said demand for vehicles with high-performance engines is strong among Thai high-end users and that the market is expected to grow around 20 percent this year.

“Sales of luxury cars for the first nine months of this year stood at about 20,000 units and will likely reach 26,000 to 27,000 vehicles by year-end, up from 21,700 the previous year,” he said.

But he said the sales of Lexus brand cars overall in Thailand is expected to decline 16 percent year-on-year to 650 units this year, due to a hiatus of new Lexus model launches since the release of new sport utility vehicle RX at the end of 2015.

In Japan, the country’s largest carmaker by volume has seen a good response from customers to the latest Lexus model, receiving orders of about 9,500 units a month after its launch on Oct. 19 against the company’s monthly sales target of 600 units.

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