European car market is dominated by the German automakers and the Lexus wants to step up in volume with a new entry hybrid model, the CT200h. German car makers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes Benz each reached annual sales of 600,000 units in 2010 where the sales of Lexus were under 17,000. But the Lexus did well in the North American auto market. If a company is looking at the European premium car marketplace, it has to give importance to brand values.
The Lexus CT200h arrives this year as a hybrid only model and it is not a replacement for an outgoing model. This car is differentiated from the others in two ways. One, it is green and the Lexus hybrid power trains have a CO2 emissions number that is relatively very low. There are Lexus diesels too, naturally, but Lexus in Europe is looking for gasoline electric hybrids to account for over half of the brand’s sales. Second, is the differentiator which is the high tech element.
Lexus CT200h is made to attract older people who want a bit of luxury late in their life and also the younger customers who are attracted to a car that comes with high standards and also environmental credentials. It may also attract some premium brand customers in this recession times, as it has smaller price tag and lower running costs.