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Story by Lexus: 24th February 2000


Lexus is building on a year of dramatic growth with a programme of opening dedicated sales outlets and a model range which is expanding to cover more areas of the prestige market.

The new flagship of the range, the Lexus LS430 makes its European debut at the Show. An all-new car bristling with the latest technology, the LS430 is faster, smoother and even quieter and more comfortable than its predecessor.

Also shown at Geneva are the RX concept car, fore-runner to a four wheel drive Sports Utility Vehicle which will go on sale in early autumn, the outstanding GS300 prestige high performance sedan and an executive edition of the IS200, the 2-litre sports sedan which has dramatically increased Lexus sales volumes in Europe.

Lexus sold more than 16,000 cars in Europe in 1999 and this year has a target of around 22,000 units, an increase of more than 35 per cent.

"The launch of the RX300 and then the new LS430 towards the end of the year means that we will go into 2001 in a very strong position, " said Javier Contijoch, Lexus Brand Director. "That is why we are pushing ahead with the development of dedicated sales outlets which will provide a superior customer experience and be able to fully support our sales objectives for the larger range of luxury cars."

The new showroom building programme started last year and currently there are 40 already open. Close to 100 dedicated outlets will be completed across Europe by December, 2000. Several showrooms have opened in prestige locations in major cities, notably Barcelona, Athens and Stockholm. A further 200 non-exclusive showrooms feature Lexus.

"It is no secret that our range of cars will be wider still in 2001," said Mr Contijoch, "and we are expanding our marketing and support activity to help distributors and dealers build the Lexus brand."

Worldwide Lexus sold 221,690 units last year, and cumulative sales in the USA topped the 1 million mark.

Three new Lexus models will go on sale in Europe later this year, including the new flagship LS430 which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today.

"The LS430 re-defines what a luxury car for the new Millennium should be – quiet and extremely comfortable, fast but also fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly and safe," said Mr Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, Vice-President of Toyota Motor Europe.

The LS430 has a new 4.3-litre V8 engine and a completely new platform and body. It reaches 100km/h in 6.8 seconds but with a CD factor of 0.25 and gains in efficiency in many areas it returns fuel consumption figures almost identical to its predecessor. The engine is also classified as meeting European Step IV and USA Ultra Low Emission standards.

New features which are at the very edge of current technology include torque activated powertrain control which automatically adjusts for gradients, a sophisticated air conditioning system which recognises if one part of the car is in sunshine and another in the shade, and a pure air system which monitors the content of the air entering the cabin. Air conditioned seats which blow cool or warm air through perforated seat surface and a world-beating 11-speaker 350 watt stereo system have also been developed for the new model.

Lexus will show a production version of the car at the Paris Motor Show and it will go on sale in most European countries later in the autumn.

The Lexus RX luxury sports utility vehicle – a European-design – is shown as a concept car. It too will be in full production for Europe, and will be in showrooms in the autumn.

The RX concept has a 3 litre V6 engine with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing intelligent), permanent four wheel drive and automatic transmission. Its luxurious interior, reclining seats front and rear, stylish facia and instrument design, and exclusive 19 inch alloy wheels emphasise its premium market character.

The RX concept car is lower than most off-road vehicles and its ‘one volume’ design stance is more unified and sporty than traditional 4 x 4s.

The European version of the RX300 is closely related to the Lexus RX300 vehicle which was launched first in the USA where it racked up 73,500 sales in 1999, its first full year.

The third new car on the stand is the Executive line version of the IS200, the sports sedan launched across Europe last year to appeal to a new type of Lexus buyer – younger, and more sporty. It has been a great success already, gaining more than 12,000 sales in Europe in 1999.

Now an executive edition is to go on sale in the summer, featuring a black and ivory finish dashboard, black leather steering wheel, and wood trim for the electric window switch base.

Lexus has committed to widening its range of prestige cars further, to increase the appeal of the Lexus brand.