In a bid to help boost the premium marque’s brand image worldwide, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus unit has plans to open luxury stores offering consumers goods including coffee cups glazed with volcanic ash and Italian leather bags.
Japan’s carmaker will open its first “Intersect By Lexus” store in Tokyo’s Aoyama district on Aug. 30, it said in a statement today. Lexus will add similar outlets in New York and Dubai, but the company did not specify a time frame for the new venues.
“Lexus’s successful debut in the U.S. hasn’t been transplanted to its other markets, and its brand presence still needs a lot of work compared to BMW and other luxury brands,” said Takaki Nakanishi, founder of Nakanishi Research Institute. “You can’t expect to gain sales from simply opening a cafe, but it’s definitely better than not having one.”
Lexus’s marketing effort comes as the Japanese carmaker aims to raise its global presence, after losing its luxury sales crown in the U.S. to BMW and Mercedes-Benz for two straight years. Mercedes also leads the Toyota unit by deliveries in the home market of Japan.
In the U.S., its biggest market, Toyota’s Lexus sales have gained 12% to 141,446 units this year, outperforming BMW and Mercedes’s growth in the same period, but also GM’s luxury brand Cadillac comes strong from behind, posting a solid 30% unit sales growth in the year through July, making it the fourth-largest brand by volume, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.