Shortly after Lexus released a teaser image purportedly showing its first minivan, a Japanese newspaper has stated that production of a Lexus-branded people carrier will commence in 2020.
According to Chubu Keizai, a publication which offers business news for various Japanese prefectures, Lexus will build its minivan at the Toyota Auto Body factory in the city of Inabe. This site currently handles the production of all Toyota vans sold outside of Japan, Lexus Enthusiast reports.
Chubu Keizai suggests that Lexus will start manufacturing its first minivan in response to growing demand for such vehicles from wealthy customers in China and other parts of Asia.
Lexus will allegedly debut its minivan at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month and a recent teaser image revealed that the vehicle will share common design traits with other models in its range, like the headlights and grille which are similar to those of the RX crossover. Underpinning the Lexus minivan will be the same components as the Toyota Alphard, meaning it should be similar in size and shape to its more affordable sibling.
Lexus recently filed trademark applications for the LM 350 and LM 300h names, and it is rumored that these could be used by the minivan. The luxury automaker has reportedly been pondering an entry into this segment for quite some time. Last year, the president of Lexus Manila, Raymond Rodriquez, said it was “only a matter of time” before Lexus created its own version of the Alphard.
While minivans have, for the most part, been replaced by crossovers and SUVs in the United States and Europe, they are widely popular throughout Asia. Thus, it is possible that Lexus will keep this one strictly in Asian markets.