Toyota Pressured to Build the 2013 Lexus ES in North America image

Lexus dealers put pressure on parent company Toyota to build the new 2013 ES in North America in order to help hedge against a strong Japanese yen.

The ES, which is currently Lexus’ top selling sedan in America, is manufactured in Kyushu, Japan, but since the strong yen made profitability decline, the dealers request the model to be built in North America. Tim Morrison, vice president of sales and dealer development, declared that the factory capacity in North America is already limited and that the company will consider finding places to build the ES overseas.

“One of the requests we’ve had from our dealer council is to figure out a way to get the ES – or one of our other volume vehicles – here just to blunt the (negative effects of) currency exchange,” he says. “(But) when you look at whether you want to shift production to North America, that’s a very big decision. It’s a lot of money, and there’s timing with changeovers, etc.”

In 2011 Lexus sold 41,000 ES sedans, but the company expects to attract more customers with the 2013 model which will also include a hybrid version. The 2013 Lexus ES will go on sale in August 2012 and the US are expected to take about 50% of the production.