“We need to close the loop on the value chain with Lexus on used cars, corporate sales and aftersales,” says Steve Settle, Lexus (GB) director.
“In November we plan to launch a revitalised used car programme which will include corporate identity, presentation, vehicle preparation and possibly an extended warranty for older cars – we are looking at the whole package.”
He is also planning an aftersales strategy which will include expanding service, repair and maintenance capacity ahead of demand.
“You can either sell new cars and be a maintenance franchise or sell new and used and be an aftersales franchise,” says Settle.
Capacity will be freed up by separating the final few workshops that are still shared with Toyota to create standalone centres – talks are under way with retailers. This will be complemented by expanding the small network of authorised Lexus aftersales centres, although this is likely to only add six to eight outlets in adjacent territories to existing franchised dealers.
Last year Lexus sales broke through the 10,000 barrier, despite a lack of new product. Settle says dealer support for the franchise remained strong because the company refused to push volume up and instead chose not to make big increases to its retail network.
“We support dealers during the difficult years so that they continue to provide outstanding service to customers,” he says. “Now we have an opportunity to give our centres a good return on investment.”
Lexus will launch new IS, GS and hybrid RX400h models next year. It will also add eight retail centres to the 50-strong network by the end of the decade, filling areas which currently do not justify a showroom. Volumes at that point are expected to have doubled to 20,000 a year.