By on March 24, 2017

2016 Lexus ES 350

After being knocked off the top perch of the “fastest growing economy” podium in 2016, India is expected to return to the Number One spot both this year and next. The world’s second most populous country has seen average per-capita incomes rise to record levels and, while the average only amounts to $1,500 greenbacks, India’s well-to-do class is thriving.

For automakers, the untapped Indian market offers big potential. The latest to the game: Lexus, which arrived today to offer citizens something better than just a Camry.

Jumping into the subcontinent seems like a natural progression for Toyota’s luxury brand. Its parent subsidiary, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, is India’s fourth-largest automaker. The brand, which first started production operations in the country in the late 1990s, posted a 12-percent sales jump last month. Unfortunately for India’s growing upper class, the Toyota Camry was as good as it got.

Well, not anymore. As of today, Indian buyers can choose from three models — RX 450h, ES 300h, and LX 450d. Two hybrids, one diesel. If the LX moniker seems unfamiliar, that’s because Americans don’t get to mingle with the overseas-market Toyota Fortuner midsize SUV. Next up is Lexus’ redesigned 2018 LS 500 flagship sedan, which also comes in hybrid guise.

“We are excited about what we can bring to the luxury market in India, where we see opportunities mapped to the remarkable growth the country is experiencing,” said Akitoshi Takemura, Lexus India’s senior vice president, in a statement. “This is just the beginning – we look forward to bringing more exciting products to India in the future.”

Lexus has set up sales centers in four cities, with servicing facilities located in four more.

[Image: Toyota Motor Corporation]

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11 Comments on “Lexus Sees Fertile Ground in India, Launches Trio of Models...”

  • avatar

    They had better stock up on gold emblems.

  • avatar

    India is an exceedingly difficult place to do business, but probably has the single greatest short-term growth potential of any market in the world. Good move, although it will cost Toyota money and headaches in the immediate term.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      After living there for almost 7 years there is only one thing that will help them : and that is price. Indians, esp rich ones that I knew, are pretty damn brand loyal.

      On Toyota’s side is that those who can afford one already know about Lexus so if they sell it sufficiently cheaper than a equivalent MB or BMW you should see them brand hop.

      I say this with all due respect, there is nothing an old rich Indian man likes more than getting something at a bargin, nothing, they are like the Ferengi from Star Trek that way.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    We don’t get the Fortuner because it’s Hilux-based, and that’s a no-no for The America. For whatever reason.

  • avatar

    Are you sure the LX is based on the Fortuner? The LX450d sold in other parts of the world is just a rebadged Land Cruiser. We get that same vehicle in North America with a gas V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Going based upon what the article says above, since it indicates the LX450 moniker is not expected.

    • 0 avatar
      Vipul Singh

      The LX450d indicates a Land Cruiser based Lexus. Maybe the article needs a re-visit by the author.

      Toyota should have waited for the next gen Land Cruiser based LX to arrive, before launching it, though, in my opinion.

      I hear that these vehicles are priced above even the Germans. Let us see how that turns out. Lexii may be more suited to the harsh environment in India compared to ze Germans, though.

  • avatar

    @Steph Willems
    Fortuner is based on the Hilux. LX450d is a Lancruiser basically.

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