Lexus starts exploratory work for getting electrics to India - Times of India

Lexus starts exploratory work for getting electrics to India – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Lexus, the luxury brand of Japanese auto major Toyota, has started exploratory work for launch of electric cars in India as the company prepares to take on German giants Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi for a slice of the affluent Indian car buyers.
The company is also looking to scale up the locally-assembled model line-up in the country beyond the one model (ES sedan) that it currently makes at parent Toyota’s plant in Bangalore, India president Naveen Soni told TOI.
Lexus has been in India for the past nearly five years, but rollback of the lower duty regime on hybrids and lack of a local assembly operation meant that the company stayed only on the fringes. The pandemic and lower availability due to chip shortage also impacted the expansion plans of the company over the last two years.
“However, we are now planning to scale up the business in India. We see India as an important market and would be taking steps to broaden our operations here, including having a stronger model line-up and a wider sales and service set-up,” Soni, who took charge of the brand after working at Toyota, said.
Lexus on Wednesday drove in the new NX 350h crossover in the market, pricing the base version at Rs 65 lakh (ex-showroom).
The brand currently operates in India through four dealer points – called ‘Guest Experience Centres’ – and will be adding three more over the next two months. “Apart from these, we intend to have additional sales and service touch points to cater to a larger set of market and audiences,” Soni said.
Speaking about plans for full-electric vehicles in India, he said that the company has started initial tests for gauging customer and market expectations. “We are currently testing for electrics in India from the point of view of the customers and their preferences.”
Asked whether the company plans to look at local assembly of green cars in the country as it helps avail the lower 5% GST duty, Soni said, “It is too early to comment on this. All such plans will be justified by the sales volumes that this market will generate in the luxury space.”
The luxury car market in India is currently around 30,000 units annually, and just 1% of the broader car market.
Speaking about competition from established luxury players, Soni said that Lexus remains confident of growth in India due to the low penetration of the industry currently. “There is space for everyone. The market has been growing strongly and we hope to see good momentum as the market moves up from here.”


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