As long as you notice them, the Japanese carmaker is happy.
Ever since Lexus International got started in 2012 its chief goal has been to develop and introduce the brand to a global audience. It was time to shed its bland and conservative image, especially in the US, once and for all. Over the past six years or so a lot of progress has been made, but obviously, there's plenty more to be done.
The all-new 2019 Lexus UX, the luxury brand's first true global model, is now on sale and we were very impressed with it during our recent test drive in Sweden. The controversial design language has now found its way to all models and Lexus is totally cool if you don't like it, according to Lexus Brand and Communications General Manager of Europe, Michael Tripp.
"If you don't like us but you know us, I'm okay with that," Tripp told us here at the Paris Motor Show. "My concern is when potential buyers don't know us." Brand awareness is key. Will the new UX further generate that desired awareness? Only time will tell, but it does have a lot going for it, specifically its self-charging hybrid technology. It's highly stylized design certainly brings a lot of attention as well. Of course, not everyone is a fan of that design language, a reality Lexus acknowledges.
"With design, we leverage the power of the Lexus self-charging hybrid… we are the number one alternative for those looking to get out of diesel. In Europe, diesel is still 70 to 80 percent of the premium market. Just one percent is hybrid or EV."
That will certainly change in the years ahead because of growing government-imposed restrictions on diesel. While the German premium brands were heavily invested in diesel and are now shifting to EV and PHEV, Lexus sees opportunity for those who want to ditch diesel and try something new. "There are a lot of great choices in our industry. But in Europe especially no one knows our story. We must never forget that at the end of the day our brand is our product."
It really all boils down to this: Lexus wants you to spot its cars instantly whenever you see one on the road. Whether you like the design or not, as long as you recognize the brand, that's half the battle.