Toyota’s Lexus brand is going into the luxury consumer goods business by opening the first Intersect By Lexus store in The Aoyoma district of Tokyo at the end of the month. Lexus hopes that selling things like Italian leather bags will improve the Toyota luxury brand’s image, particularly outside the United States, where Lexus has been successful. Other Intersect By Lexus stores will open in Dubai and New York City.
According to Toyota, the stores will provide Lexus owners and potential customers with the Lexus experience “without getting behind a steering wheel,” a statement that is likely to provoke some scoffing from car enthusiasts. The fashionable Aoyoma section of Tokyo is home to stores like Prada and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The 3,563-square-foot Lexus store will house a cafe, garage, the luxury goods shop plus and a “library lounge” where people can buy modern “Tokyo-themed foods.”
While the purpose of the stores is to grow the brand globally, the fact that NYC was included in the plans may be a reflection of the fact that Lexus, used to being the best selling premium brand in the United States, has been number three for the last couple of years, behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz. That Daimler brand also outsells Lexus in Japan.
Approximately 50% of Lexus’ global sales are in the U.S. and while the company lagged behind its German competitors in that market since 2011, year to date sales are up 12% in the U.S. from last year, a greater percentage increase than seen by BMW and M-B.