|The Right RX -- Lexus GVP Jeff Bracken excels as a brand spokesman, which includes introducing the latest RX in 2015.
In 2013, Jeff Bracken took over as the group vice president of the Lexus division. While he’s not comfortable talking about himself, he’s ready-at-will to discuss the Lexus brand and line-up of luxury sedans and SUV’s.
So let’s get to it.
Driver’s Seat: What can we look forward to from Lexus this auto show season?
The 2017 auto show schedule will be full of exciting news for Lexus. In addition to an all-new double-decker display at our large U.S. and global shows, we’ll also make news with multiple key product announcements, but it’s a little early to give away the particulars. Let’s just say you won’t be disappointed.
How is One Toyota going to set Lexus up for success over the next 50 years?
As leaders in luxury, our vision must be bold for the future. We must anticipate what our customers will desire, even before they know. With new technology coming out every day in an ever-changing marketplace, our organization has to work even more efficiently and effectively to ensure we deliver an unparalleled experience for our customers.
Our new organization positions Lexus for success by taking on strategic efforts that are critical to remain competitive in the marketplace – like piloting new retail models, engaging in motorsports, taking more risks with our advertising and embracing a more holistic view of our customers to deliver on the expectations of the Lexus brand. Of course, the key to Lexus’ continued success is the human element – from headquarters to the field to all Lexus dealership personnel. All team members are encouraged to behave in alignment with our brand personality – to be brave, thoughtful, and imaginative.
The path we started down 26 years ago with Lexus now includes 90-plus global Lexus distributors. And all unite behind a shared brand message to lead with amazing experiences.
The luxury market is as competitive as ever. What sets Lexus apart from the competition?
First and foremost, Lexus is fortunate that Akio Toyoda takes a literal hands-on role in all Lexus product development. He’s the driving force for advanced driving dynamics, styling and performance, all with a constant drive for quality, dependability, reliability and safety. There’s no OEM leader in the world that embraces such a hands-on, yet visionary role. He’s our secret sauce.
Another key focus for Lexus is to create unique experiences for our customers. Whether it's building cars with imaginative technology, developing daring marketing opportunities or finding a way to connect with our customers in an emotional way, Lexus will make an amazing future for our customers.
One of the ways we’re working with our dealer partners to anticipate customers' needs is through the Lexus Plus pilot program. It’s a negotiation-free, single point of contact business model. Early customer reviews are glowing, with more learning and kaizen opportunities to come. Lexus Plus is just one example, among other unique and creative retail processes developed by various Lexus dealers, that will keep Lexus at the forefront of delivering premier customer care.
Another example is The Lexus Difference, which focuses on providing our broad customer base with personalized attention to the details that matter to them, with a special focus on women and clientele that are both culturally and generationally diverse. In partnership with our dealerships, we are making every effort to be mindful and attentive to details that contribute to a positive experience at every interaction.
What is the most important thing for Lexus to focus on in order to be successful in the coming years?
Lexus has always had a reputation for superior customer care and product quality, but we need to be even bolder, more exciting and more original with the products and services we provide. We’re pushing ourselves to be daring with everything from product design to aggressive styling and driving dynamics, and benchmark dealership facilities.
The next product example, arriving next spring, is the LC 500, a flagship touring coupe that creates an all-new halo for Lexus. The LC 500 and LC 500h are strikingly beautiful. Amazingly, these two models perform even better than they look, and will cause the media and marketplace to see Lexus as a brand that delivers much more than quality products and great customer care.
Overall sales are down this year, but they’re up for SUVs. What does that say about the current market, and does that affect Lexus’ approach going forward?
|GS Yes -- Under Bracken's leadership, Lexus has begun evolving into a more exciting brand, which includes specialized vehicles like the RC F GT3.
Lexus introduced the very first luxury SUV, the RX. We created the segment and have every opportunity to continue as the luxury SUV leader. The UX Concept car was just revealed at the Paris Motor Show, and it’s an indication of where we might go here in the U.S. as well. But even as we evaluate other vehicles that may appeal to luxury SUV customers, the passenger car segments are still quite large, therefore sedans will continue to play an important role in the Lexus product line-up.
What are the biggest challenges Lexus faces now and in the future?
The biggest challenge for Lexus is to continue to push the envelope. Whether it’s introducing products you wouldn’t expect, or working with our dealers to interact with Lexus customers like never before, we need to look beyond our history to imagine our future.
That’s all we got. Thanks, Jeff!