The luxury brand has seen an uptick in sales...but can it dethrone BMW?
After the disaster that was 2020, vehicle sales have seen a strong uptick across the world. Several brands have released global figures, with luxury carmaker BMW announcing it shifted a staggering 336,644 units in the USA for 2021. Overall, the Munich-based brand sold over 2.2 million vehicles worldwide, despite the crippling semiconductor chip crisis.
Japanese automaker Lexus has recently released its figures and, while the company has seen growth, it's still some way behind the dominant Germans. Spurred on by strong sales of the RX, UX, and ES hybrid models, Toyota's luxury arm delivered 760,012 vehicles worldwide.
While US-specific figures are yet to be released, Lexus estimates North American sales at approximately 332,000 units - not far off BMW but, remember, this figure includes Canadian and Mexican sales.
This still places Lexus ahead of its American rival, Lincoln. The maker of the full-size Navigator SUV experienced a sales slump stateside, with an 18% decline bringing them to a grand total of just 86,929 units. In China, Lincoln faired better: 91,000 examples were sold in the world's biggest car market. Comparatively, Lexus sold approximately 227,000 vehicles in China last year.
If Lexus plans to carve itself a bigger piece of the luxury car pie, it will have to cater to the ever-growing US premium electric vehicle market. Currently dominated by Tesla. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have released an onslaught of competitors to sway would-be Tesla owners. While Lexus cornered the hybrid market early on, an electric vehicle in America is now a necessary addition to the product range. An electric version of the UX crossover is available in other markets.
Lexus' upcoming RZ 450e will likely be released as a 2022 or 2023 vehicle; the luxury crossover will likely be based on the upcoming Toyota bZ4X (watch the video above to hear Lexus International President Koji Sato's thoughts). The luxury brand aims to offer a fully electric vehicle lineup (in all segments) by 2030. Furthermore, it has set a lofty goal of achieving 100% BEV sales in Europe, North America, and China by then, with one million units sold globally. 2035 will see it aim for 100% electric vehicle sales globally by 2035.
Elsewhere, Lexus experienced fairly middling sales. 72,000 units went off to Europe, followed by just 51,000 in its home country, Japan. The East Asia region took delivery of 30,000 vehicles with the Middle East market following closely at 28,000. However, these are all estimations from the brand. It will be interesting to see how Lexus performs in 2022, especially with the addition of more models and, hopefully, the aforementioned electric RZ 450e - should it arrive.