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Lexus to appeal to enthusiast market with new IS

Date: 15 May 2013   |   Author:

Lexus is hoping its new upper medium IS model will boost enthusiasm in the brand, according to fleet boss Neil Broad.

"The IS300h is massive news for Lexus. We've been overly rational on Lexus and Toyota - our rational benefits are true but we need to infuse more dynamism and excitement," he told BusinessCar.

"We want to increase the 'I want one' demand rather than the 'I know I should have one'. If we get both we've cracked it!"

The new IS will be the first premium upper medium car to crack 100g/km, coming in the lowest trim level at 99g/km, and Broad predicted it will match the Toyota Auris Hybrid also launching this summer in terms of a high fleet mix of around 66%.

"If I can get people banging on the fleet manager's door saying why isn't this on my choice list at the same time as we're saying we can help you get this onto your list then that's the ideal situation; it's a success."

He said the new car "connects" the Lexus line-up in a way not seen before.

"The CT has done great strides and the IS connects the CT to the GS for a three-car line-up, plus the RX, which is pulling its weight, and the LS," he explained.

Lexus has also recently set up a division called Lexus International, aimed at developing the cars better for markets outside of North America.

"If there has been a traditional criticism of Lexus it is that it's born for the US," said Broad. "Lexus International is designed to tailor cars for the rest of the world, to start looking seriously at European differences and where the brand needs to go."

A result of that will be annual product refreshes and developments, rather than the new model being left alone until its mid-life refresh, as is currently the case.