Lexus will begin selling cars in India next year. Initially, the models sold in India will be fully-imported but Toyota has already begun readying its plant in Bengaluru for local assembly of some of the models. One such move is the shift to water-based paints, which are also used by Lexus models.
The carmaker is likely to start local assembly of hybrid cars first. Models like the Lexus ES 300h are likely to be the first contenders. Apart from reduced duties, local assembly of hybrids will also allow Lexus to apply for the FAME hybrid vehicle tax sop that Toyota currently enjoys with the Camry Hybrid.
As far as dealer network goes, Lexus will start with just a handful of dealers, but will appoint more in the coming years.
Despite not being in the Indian market, the Lexus brand is well known and has a premium image here. Apart from this, Lexus is also banking on the fact that a lot of luxury car buyers are facing reliability and service issues – a gap it aims to bridge with its strong aftersales and services. This way, what Lexus will push hard, is the brand’s aggressive service packs and warranty schemes that are often the best in class to gain ground in this market.
Lexus is also likely to offer a range of non-hybrid models for sale too. It is currently evaluating the launch of the full-size LX SUV in both, petrol and diesel engine options.