As one of our regular commentators recently pointed out, Lexus owes much of its success to their dealer experience. The recently opened Newport Lexus in Newport Beach, California raised the luxury automaker's retail game to the next level. Designed and built by by Sauers Construction Inc., the $73m pleasure dome offers customers a putting green, game room, multiple lounges with giant-screen TVs, restroom stalls with smaller (though plasma TVs), wireless Internet, executive workroom, Wolfgang Puck cafe and Tommy Bahama boutique. Oh, and cars. The only thing Newport doesn't have is an attractive building. In fact, the Seattle Times coverage of the refurbished Lexus of Bellevue dealership confirms the trend: bland, monolithic surfaces adorning large pedestrian shapes. While Lexus' "L-Finesse" design language is moving their cars away from cod-Mercedes shapes, the Japanese automaker's dealership architecture remains heavily influenced by parking garages, government buildings and maximum security prisons.
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