Lexus has arrived
After years of going back and forth, Toyota's luxury arm has officially arrived in India. Lexus announced a three-model lineup for India starting with the ES 300h sedan, RX 450h crossover and LX 450d SUV. Prices were announced for only the former two. The ES comes with a price tag of Rs 55.27 lakh ex-showroom, and the RX, which is available in two variants, starts at Rs 1.07 crore for the standard version and Rs 1.09 crore for the sportier F variant.Akitoshi Takemura, a Toyota veteran who has been in India since 1998, has taken over the reigns of Lexus India. The company is cautious about its prospects in the wake of a struggling luxury car market and the presence of formidable rivals but he seemed confident of building the Lexus brand from scratch in India. 'We have already sold 60 units,' he revealed to TopGear India. And all of these are the RX 450h. Currently we start with four dealerships,' he added.While the Lexus network's front end is going to be different, for the moment the service centres will be shared with existing Toyota workshops but with dedicated Lexus bays.All cars are imports from Japan with the ES and RX coming from its biggest (by volume) plant at Kyushu. Lexus sees both these segments as one with reasonable volumes as per their research and the reason why these models were picked over the others from its stable.The stepping point to the Lexus India range is the ES 300h, a hybrid sedan that is powered by an alliance of a 2.5-litre petrol engine, a battery and a motor generator to output 202bhp.Next up is the RX 450h crossover, which with a 3.5-litre V6 and a battery working in tandem to output 308bhp, can breach the 100kph-mark from standstill in a claimed 7.7 seconds. And there's the F Sport version with cosmetic additions priced marginally higher.The third car revealed as part of Lexus' India lineup is the LX 450d. Prices for the 4.5-litre V8-powered SUV have not been announced yet but expect Lexus to keep it at just under Rs 2 crore.David Nordstrom, VP, Lexus Asia, said 'We can't remain a four model line-up for sure. High-performance brands are the next in line,' he said. Lexus may also look at local assembly in the future and the ES and RX are the models that are, incidentally, most feasible given its Indian factory infrastructure. One of the reasons why these models were picked over the others in its line-up.Personalisation options are already being offered. The RX, for example, comes with a 120 interior colour palette. 'Existing Toyota car owners are obvious customers but we'd like to get customers who are not satisfied with what is being offered by competing brands,' says David.Interestingly, and a surprise, it showcased the LS 500h, recently revealed at the Geneva motor show. The 3.5-litre V6-powered hybrid sedan, though, will be available here only in January 2018.