Lexus "too Japanese" for the Japanese
Toyota's luxury brand Lexus sells very well in the United States, but back in Japan the situation is utterly reversed. The locals there prefer foreign brands (namely German) to Lexus, apparently because the foreign cars provide more individuality. ( WCF )
While Lexus has been around for almost 19 years in the United States, the brand only hit the Japanese shores some three years ago. In a market dominated by German brands such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, Lexus has been struggling to sustain its projected sales figures. In fact, Lexus merely sold 34,800 cars last year.
The problem actually started right from the initial launch in 2005. Lexus had only three models to name of; the GS sports sedan, the SC convertible, and the entry-level IS sedan. The same three were previously sold in Japan under the Toyota nameplate, and were 20% cheaper. Furthermore, reports claim that Toyota's earlier marketing campaign for Lexus somehow failed and unexpectedly raised the sales of the German brands instead. The stronghold obsession in the German brands rarely makes space for customers to switch to Lexus, and oddly enough, some even go to the extent of importing left-hand-driven German cars to feel its originality (Japan's norm is right-hand driving).
In recent times, Toyota has spent much on commercializing the Lexus brand, which according to them is increasingly effective. The significance of the brand is growing among the locals, with Lexus outselling its German rivals in some of the important segments.