Another challenge is setting Lexus apart in the age of commoditized EVs.
“We need to be more unique — we need to define that,” Watanabe said. “If we rely only on product alone, we probably can’t get as far as we need to go. We need to offer more. After the customer has bought the product, what other kind of experiences are possible?”
Diversifying the brand lineup to appeal to regional needs is one way to accomplish that, Watanabe said.
In Europe, for example, Lexus offers the LBX compact crossover based on the same architecture as the Toyota Yaris Cross. Customers in China and Japan, meanwhile, are being targeted with the boxy LM van, a chauffeured living room on wheels for the executive set. And the redesigned GX SUV and new TX three-row family crossover are geared toward North America, where people want premium performance both on the road and off.
“For the first time on a global scale, we’re bringing unique products to different regions,” Watanabe said. “That’s what’s unique about this time in our brand history.”