Lexus general manager in the U.S., Jeff Bracken, says the Japanese carmaker won’t follow in the footsteps of Mercedes-Benz and build low-priced models like the CLA sedan. “We will not head down below $30,000. We have Toyota and Scion to handle that price level for us,” Bracken was quoted as saying by Automotive News.
However, the Lexus executive admitted that the Mercedes-Benz CLA is a success in the U.S. “They are off to a great start. They are really doing well, and it has probably not only impacted their overall volume with the CLA, but also brought in some traffic for some of the other series that they represent, and clearly helping drive the luxury segment in total,” he added.
Mercedes’ entry-level sedan launched in September in the U.S. with a starting price of $29,900 (€21,790), plus a $925 delivery charge that brings the total to $30,825 ($22,465). Mercedes has already sold 10,828 units of the front-wheel-drive compact sedan through November.
The most affordable Lexus model is the CT 200h at $32,960 (€24,020), followed by the IS sedan, which starts at $36,860 (€26,860) – both prices include delivery charges. Lexus said it sees no need to go below $30,000 and thinks not doing that will actually help its brand image, as it will concentrate on more premium and higher-margin vehicles.
“By not diluting its brand image, Lexus will stay focused. It lets Lexus hit on higher levels, in segments more traditionally associated with luxury,” said Bob Carter, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.
Furthermore, Bracken added it’s too early to know whether the Mercedes-Benz CLA and BMW 1-Series will help the brand’s in the long term.
By Dan Mihalascu