Japan will get a taste of its Kentucky built Lexus ES when it debuts in its lineup later this year.
The Lexus ES was never meant for the Japanese market but Lexus Japan is going to try to market it to its own market. As per Automotive News in their somewhat surprising update on what’s going on with Lexus abroad they put out earlier today (Nov. 5,2018) Lexus will start production of the TNGA-K based Lexus at its Kyushu plant although currently the majority of Lexus ES’s are made in their Kentucky plant for American consumption. Here’s what the Lexus ES looks like right now, below.
As mentioned, the Lexus shares the same platform that underpins the current Toyota Camry, Avalon, and Rav4. As such, it’s a FWD based platform that, in its previous forms, has found favor with the United States market. In its various iterations, if you squinted hard enough, you could tell that it was based on its cheaper counterpart, the Camry. That was most prevalent with the fourth generation ES 300, almost an exact copy of the Camry, except for the grilles, wheels, and badges.
As per GoodCarBadCar, sales of the Lexus ES, in recent times, hit an all-time high in 2013 when Lexus sold 72,581 units. Since then, sales have gradually declined with 2018 being a goose egg of a year with sales through October sitting at 38,875 ES’s and sales probably not going to crack 50,000 ES’s, the lowest the sedan has sold in the United States since 2011.
Lexus of Japan selling the ES in Japan isn’t, by no means, going to right the ship that is the crossover takeover, but, it will lessen the blow by a couple hundred ES’s a month.
The ES sales target is 350 vehicles per month in Japan and 11,500 a month globally. Lexus’ sales in Japan more than doubled to 33,000 units in the first six months of 2018.
Lexus as a brand is still relatively new in Japan, first selling to its home market beginning in 2005.
There’s a slight possibility that some of the Lexus ES’s earmarked for Japan might find their way to dealerships in the United States if that counts for anything.
Source: Automotive News