Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
December 12, 2013
Since Mercedes-Benz has introduced the new CLA-Class, many luxury automakers are joining in as a way to bring in younger buyers and drive up sales. One automaker you'll not see partaking in this display is Lexus.
Group Vice President and General Manager of Lexus, Jeff Bracken tells Automotive News that the automaker will not build a competitor to the CLA.
"We will not head down below $30,000. We have Toyota and Scion to handle that price level for us," said Bracken.
Now Bracken does admit that the CLA is a huge 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 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," said Bracken.
In November, Mercedes-Benz reported sales of 34,376 vehicles, an increase of 13 percent. A majority of that increase came from the CLA.
Bracken also says not having a true competitor to the CLA would make it very difficult for the Lexus to get back the crown of best-selling luxury it held for eleven years. The closest competitor Lexus has is the CT 200h hatchback which costs $32,050, just a hair over $2,000 more when compared to the CLA's starting price tag of $29,900.
But Bob Carter, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. points out that with the upcoming 2016 CAFE Regulations, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury manufacturers need to build smaller, entry-level models to meet. Lexus doesn't need to worry about them as much as they have Toyota and Scion to meet those.
"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 Carter.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)