Lexus' Dealership Architecture Sucks

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
lexus dealership architecture sucks

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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  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Jul 21, 2007


    Perhaps you should consider the importance of architecture to various enterprises, including (but not limited) to organized religion.

    In fact, even if you don't consider architecture's impact on your psychology, it's still there. In some cases, it's like Muzak. In others, such as the Vietnam Memorial, it's like a moving piece of music.

    One could say an appreciation of architecture is a sign of intellectual depth, but I couldn't possibly comment.

  • Dean Dean on Jul 22, 2007

    ldbricker: It is the precicely the impact of architecture on our psyche that explains why the plans and proposals for rebuilding the WTC site are so contentious. Whether you think it is shallow or not, architecture says something about who we want to be, and what the places we inhabit are like. I suspect even you would be revolted if a tilt-up concrete Costco were be built at the WTC site, even if it is perfectly suited to the purpose. Comparing an appreciation of architecture to judging people based on physical appearance is a strawman argument, not worthy of response. I guess you’ve never travelled to Europe and marveled at the architecture. You probably think your local big box outlet store is every bit as worthwhile as the amazing York Minster, or the Louvre, or Westminster Abbey, or the Capitol building in DC. Maybe you even think it more so, as it is indisputably more efficient at what it does. If so, I feel sorry for you.

  • Johnson Johnson on Jul 22, 2007
    To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, when you're a luxury brand, branding isn't everything. It's the only thing. What a silly statement. Everything and the only thing is the SAME thing! If branding is the "only" thing, then it also automatically falls into the category of "everything". One could say an appreciation of architecture is a sign of intellectual depth, but I couldn't possibly comment. Let's think a bit deeper on the architecture of Bellevue Lexus, shall we? It mirrors the architecture of a vast majority of buildings in North America. Check. It blends in very well to surrounding buildings. Check. It feels like it "belongs" in your average US landscape. Check. See a pattern? My strong guess is that that the exterior of Lexus Bellevue was designed like that *on purpose* to look "American" on the outside. Ever seen Lexus dealerships in Japan? They look completely different from most US Lexus dealers. You may not consider this possibility, but if Lexus US dealers had the same exterior architecture as Lexus of Japan dealers, some customers might actually find it odd and could feel alienated by it.
  • Ldbricker Ldbricker on Aug 07, 2007

    Actually I've toured Europe and the architecture is beautiful. That isn't a car dealership however. Neither is the WTC a car dealership. I don't need or want the structure housing my car dealership, my furniture store, my grocer, my mechanic or anything else to be grandiose. That is just an invitation to artificially inflated prices. Apparently the concept that architecture is important for the Louvre, Notre Dame and similar places but not for a car dealership is too difficult to comprehend. Cleanliness and good service, without the inflated prices of exotic architecture, are what is important at the car dealership.