Lexus to boost brand in 'hot' Dubai

22-08-2013 08:28 AM

Ammon News - DUBAI (The National) - Lexus is to open a luxury store in Dubai that offers people the chance to experience the brand without getting behind the steering wheel of one of its vehicles.

The first Intersect By Lexus store is due to open in Tokyo at the end of the month featuring a cafe, bistro, a garage to display concept cars and art, plus a shop selling items such as pottery made using ash from a Japanese volcano.

A similar outlet is expected to follow towards the end of next year in Dubai, while the brand also plans to open stores in Toyota City, Japan, and New York.

"The Middle East area is a very big market for Lexus. In fact, our Lexus has a high percentage of market share," said Kavuo Okino, the deputy general manager for the Lexus brand management unit in Japan.

"Dubai is the most hot city in the Arab area. [It] is the best place to [showcase] the new brand image," he added. The luxury car maker is hoping to lift its sales in the United States, its largest market where about half its sales originate, after finishing behind BMW and Mercedes Benz for the past two years.

And it appears to be working.

The car maker, Toyota's luxury brand, has recorded a 12 per cent increase in sales this year to 141,446 models, outperforming growth of both BMW and Mercedes in the period, Woodcliff Lake, an industry researcher at Autodata told Bloomberg. In Japan, the brand's home market, it delivered around 800 fewer vehicles this year than Mercedes Benz through to the end of July.

"Lexus's successful debut in the United States 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, the 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."

The brand's 330 sq metre store is in Tokyo's Aoyama district, home to Prada and Louis Vuitton boutiques, and was designed by the architect Masamichi Katayama

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