As the man responsible for planning the products and business strategies of the Lexus brand on a global scale, Lexus International executive vice president Mark Templin has the firmest understanding on what the future holds for the manufacturer.
In this second post taken from the recent interview with Lexus Enthusiast, we hear Mark express his thoughts on the current Lexus line-up and future product plans. The following are intriguing extracts from that conversation.
How do you feel about where Lexus stands within today’s marketplace?
“We’re consistently setting global records in terms of our performance. But it was never about selling more cars; it was about doing the right things.
“Now we have the best product plan I’ve ever seen in the 25 years I’ve been at Lexus. We have new products coming and much better life cycle management, so throughout the life of a product we’ll add new features and new powertrains to keep it fresh.”
What challenges are you currently facing in your role?
“My job is to bring more emotion to the brand, which we’ll execute through product and other things in the coming years. But the biggest challenge is always prioritising the resources. You can’t do everything all at once, so you have to be strategic in the way you deploy those resources.”
Can we see evidence of that strategy right now?
“Over the last few years, we’ve been very effective at executing our plan to create a brand identity across the Lexus line-up. You see that most vividly in the spindle grille and other styling cues of our products. In less than two years we’ve changed the face of every single product in the Lexus line-up.
“The second step was to bring emotion to the brand, with cars like the IS F, LFA, and now the RC F and GS F. We’ll follow that up with a lot of great volume products that are core to the business, and NX is the first in line of those.”
How will we be able to see this progressing in the future?
You’re going to see us take the brand to a whole new place over the next few years
“We’ll continue the plan we put in place a few years ago. We’ll start with a couple of other great, exciting products in the near-term future, and you’re going to see us take the brand to a whole new place over the next few years.
“I don’t want to reveal too much at this point but it’s exciting for me to see what we have been able to accomplish in the last few years and what we have on the plans for the next few years.”
Where does the ‘F’ brand fit within the overall Lexus strategy? Is it being elevated into a kind of halo range?
You’ll see a lot of other halo products in the F-branded genre
“A lot of people saw the LFA as the halo car for Lexus, but I think there are lot of forms of a halo car. To us, the RC F and GS F and other products we have coming will also be halo cars. In a way, we may have versions of the LS that will be halo cars as well.
“Akio Toyoda believes that every generation of people – a generation being every 20 to 30 years – needs a car like the LFA, something really spectacular and really special. Between now and the time you see another LFA, or anything like that, you’ll see a lot of other halo products in the F-branded genre.
“How do I say this without giving out too much information? I think what I’m trying to say is that you’ll see several segments of halo cars within the Lexus brand.”