Unless you speak Mandarin, Lexus doesn’t care if you like it or not.
Getting attention is an art form that takes some fine-tuning to pull off. Just ask anyone who walks his or her high school halls unnoticed. The popular kids are well known by everyone, so there’s no need for them to try hard for the recognition. Meanwhile the unpopular kids have to do crazy things to get anyone to look, and that’s exactly what Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura are trying to do. In case you haven’t noticed, Japan’s major luxury automakers have been adopting some eye-catching design languages lately.
Lexus has been plastering huge grilles with angry angular lines that make its cars hard to mistake. Infiniti has been going a similar route although with chrome and curves instead of angles and sharp creases. Acura has typically been behind the styling curve compared to the other two Japanese automakers, but concepts like the Acura Precision Concept show how the brand’s future styling language will gain some attention-robbing looks of its own. The question now becomes, why are these automotive brands seeking so much attention? Lexus has captivated the wallets of many Americans so it needs no introduction. However, in the world’s largest auto market, the establishment remains a powerful force.
China has been a critical part of BMW, Mercedes, and the Volkswagen Group’s growth, and this is a step that Japan’s automakers will need to follow in order to tackle the Germans head on. Problematically enough, Chinese buyers are biased against Japanese cars, not because they think that the island nation makes bad cars, but because of old rivalries. Of course, Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura wishes that China would forget these past sins, and the wild styling language is intended for this purpose. China is a relatively young market, and that’s why Japan’s luxury automotive manufacturers are designing cars that appear more youthful and less traditional than the German establishment. Only time will tell if this strategy works.