Since it’s shaping up to be Luxury Sedan Day here at TTAC (actually, it’s water-heater explosion day here at TTAC West, but that’s another, less-interesting story) we thought we’d show you Toyota’s Mark X [via Autocar], a sedan it figures could be a budget competitor to the BMW 5 series. But rather than getting hung up on what Toyota wants this car to be, let’s take a look at what it actually is: a Toyotaized version of the GS-series Lexus. This is the same strategy Toyota has taken with its HS250h, offering a JDM-only Toyota version of a Lexus product, although the Mark X’s differences go beyond a cheaper interior. Detuned versions of the 2.5 and 3.5 liter V6s found in the IS-series are offered as engine choices, in hopes of not intruding too much on the GS’s territory. And though none of this is likely to impact the US market, it’s worth noting that this is a questionable strategy at best. Lexus has succeeded in this country because of Toyota’s diligence in differentiating them from pedestrian T-branded offerings. If Toyota ever gets the brilliant idea of offering quick-and-dirty, down-economy rebadges of Lexus vehicles, it will find itself in a GM-sized branding nightmare before it can say “Buick.” And don’t think for a second that nobody at Toyota is thinking of making this the next Toyota Avalon. Just say no!
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