Lexus is a good long-term profit prospect for retailers, but the carmaker and its network needs to work together in the next couple of years to ensure good viability, according to its new GB director.
Belinda Poole, who replaced Steve Settle in April, has visited around two- thirds of the network and reports that confidence in the long-term future is high.
But she acknowledges that “everyone will have to tighten their belts and act in a pragmatic way” during the economic slowdown.
Poole expects to end the year on 12,500-13,000 cars, slightly down on last year’s 15,119.
Around 40% of these will be hybrid models.
Lexus hit supply problems this year on the hybrid RX SUV – at one stage waiting times rose to five months.
“We have still sold the same number year-on-year, but the opportunity was there to sell more,”
Poole said. “Now we have the supply and waiting times are back to normal.”
Lexus has just started piloting a scheme with Motability to help dealers raise volumes.
“We need sufficient volume in the network but it’s not at any cost. That why we are looking at Motability,” she said.
Customer satisfaction remains Lexus’s number one priority.
The carmaker consistently tops JD Power polls and says it’s all about how the retail centres work and the processes they have in place.
“We have high dealer standards to give customers the right level of satisfaction and it’s the last thing that should go despite the hard market,” said Poole.
“We don’t take it as a given – we have to work hard at it.”