USA is Lexus’ biggest market, contributing nearly 40 percent of its total sales worldwide, followed by China at 25 percent. Since the Lexus ES was launched last year, the model has been very successful in the all-important US market, outselling the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
According to data compiled by Jato Dynamics, the Lexus ES sold 51,336 units in USA last year. This compares against the BMW 5 Series’ 38,707 units, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class’ 25,180 units and Audi A6’s 17,799 units.
Yes, the true rival of the 5-Series and E-Class is the rear-wheel drive Lexus GS rather than the front-wheel drive, TNGA-K platform (shared with Toyota Camry) derived Lexus ES. However the slow selling GS’ future is uncertain and the Lexus ES has since been repositioned to fit into the GS’ shoes.
And it seems that Lexus decision was the right one. Consumers shop by price and needs and they don’t really care if their car is front-wheel or rear-wheel driven. Remember that the Audi A6 is also front-wheel driven, unless it’s a quattro.
Because it’s front-wheel driven, and since it doesn’t have to accommodate all-wheel drive mechanicals, the Lexus ES’ interior is more spacious than any of its rivals. American buyers also appreciate Lexus’ dependability and high quality cabin materials.
Closer to home, the Lexus ES isn’t that popular, because our lopsided tax structure means that Lexus cars are often priced much higher than a locally-assembled BMW or Mercedes-Benz.
However for the ES, Lexus Malaysia has secured a very favourable price. In fact, its starting price is actually lower than a 5 Series, from RM 299,888 to RM 332,888. It’s quite rare for an imported from Japan car to be priced lower than a locally-assembled one, and still offer comparable features.
The BMW 5 Series, assembled in Kulim, is priced from RM 328,800 to RM 372,800. Of course, anyone who has walked into a BMW showroom will know that the actual transaction price are much, much lower.
Lexus dealers don’t give discounts the way BMW dealers do but it is also due to that reason that Lexus owners don’t complain about not being able to pay for their cars during tough times.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class, locally-assembled in Pekan, sells from RM 329,888 to RM 399,888.