Lexus steps up competition with four new models
Japan-based car manufacturer Lexus aims to increase its sales by roughly 29 percent this year to 600 units in a bid to strengthen its position in Indonesia’s premium car market, which is currently dominated by German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
On Wednesday, Lexus launched four new products, including the new sport utility vehicle (SUV) RX450 and RX 350 F-Sport, convertible sedan IS 300 C and hybrid hatchback CT 200 H, adding to the portfolio of premium cars in the country.
According to data from the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo), Lexus was ranked fourth last year in the premium car segment, trailing Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Chrysler, with a market share of 6.2 percent.
Kazuo Ohara, the deputy chief officer for the Lexus Group, said that despite stiff competition, the company’s sales still grew an average of 25 percent per year, backed by Indonesia’s stable economic growth.
“We are aware of the competition, but we focus more on service and customers satisfaction rather than sales increases, because I think that’s where the real competition is,” said Kazuo on Wednesday.
Lexus Indonesia principal Johnny Darmawan said that up to May this year, Lexus had sold 204 cars, and he was optimistic the newly launched vehicles would help the company reaching its target by the end of this year.
The fully loaded RX350 F Sport and the RX 450 H are priced at Rp 1.17 billion (US$124,450) and Rp 1.4 billion, respectively, and 50 units of each model will be available to the Indonesian market this year.
The CT 200 H (priced at Rp 700-800 million) and the IS 300C (priced Rp 1 billion) are currently available in limited quantities.
“The number of cars sold will depend on demand, we will surely add more cars whenever the demand increases,” said Johnny.
Earlier this week, German automaker BMW launched the sixth generation of the BMW 3 Series sedan, comprised of the BMW 335i, BMW 328i and BMW 320i, to further established its position in the Indonesian premium car market, within which it controlled 25.4 percent of last year’s sales.
The 3 series models that are available at all BMW authorized dealer have prices ranging from Rp 599 million to Rp 849 million. The group sold 1,551 cars last year, up 25 percent from a year earlier.
Mercedes-Benz, another German-based car manufacturer, which controlled the majority of premium car sales in Indonesia, also launched the new Mercedes B200.
Mercedes-Benz Distribution Indonesia director Stephan Moebius said that as competition rose in the premium segment, Mercedes-Benz aims to tap into the city car market and the growing demand for fuel efficient and practical cars, especially in big cities like Jakarta.
The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is priced at Rp 439 million and is equipped with a 1.6 liter four-cylinder engine.
According to data from Gaikindo, Mercedes-Benz recorded 1,421 cars sold in the first quarter this year, up 3.4 percent from the same period last year. Mercedes led premium car sales last year with a 53 percent market share.
Earlier this year, Gaikindo estimated that auto sales would grow between 3 and 5 percent to 940,000 units up from 894,180 units last year. (nad)