Lexus Sees Fertile Ground in India, Launches Trio of Models

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
lexus sees fertile ground in india launches trio of models

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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  • Gomez Gomez on Mar 24, 2017

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Vipul Singh Vipul Singh on Mar 24, 2017

      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.

  • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Mar 24, 2017

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

  • Bkojote I think it's a home run that VW is bound to bungle.For the anti-CUV crowd there's a cool factor here as pickup trucks have become so cartoonish. This will absolutely embarrass the neighbor with a GMC pavement princess pile in the driveway. Even better, the VW van fandom hasn't ruined these the same way it has the Sprinter, and honestly the design looks tight. And believe it or not there's huge demands for minivans- look no further than the unobtanium that is the Toyota Sienna.So here's what's going to go wrong-These are going to be priced on the premium end and they'll be hype for the first 3 years. The owners (whom The MKIV coil packs and dieselgate disasters a distant memory) trading in their post-college Rav4's and CR-V's are going to quickly discover the whole host of Volkswagen failures- bad sensors, glitchy software, leaking roofs, and hell it'll probably have an emissions scandal of its own somehow. This on top of the already terrible haptic controls VW has, the unreliable charging network, and terrible range. And they'll have the privilege of endlessly fighting with Sleazy Sam's VW dealership after the 4th flat bed tow.They're gonna make the same mistake the kids did in the 80's with the rabbit, the 90's with the Passat and Jetta, and the 00-10's with the TDI's- think VW finally turned the corner and stopped making garbage before doing the trade of shame back to Toyota and Honda.
  • Buickman the only fire should be in the board room.they just hired an executive from Whirlpool.that should help them go do the drain.
  • Mike Beranek I don't care about the vehicles. But I'd be on board for inspecting the drivers.
  • Art Vandelay Coming to a rental lot near you. And when it does know there is a good chance EBFlex and Tassos have puffed each other's peters in it!
  • Art Vandelay I doubt there is even room for EBFlex and Tassos to puff each other's peters in that POS