Toyota bets made-in-Japan Lexus can drive sales
News On Japan via Reuters -- Jul 06
Toyota Motor on Friday launched production of its revamped Lexus ES sedan, a flagship luxury car that represents a renewed bet the automaker can keep building cars for the United States and China at more costly factories in Japan.
Toyota, Japan's top automaker, has made it a goal to safeguard production of some 3 million vehicles a year in its home market - roughly triple the equivalent output at Nissan Motor and Honda Motor and about 40 percent of the cars and trucks Toyota builds globally.
Lexus is key to that commitment. The only Lexus model made outside Japan is the RX sport-utility vehicle manufactured in Ontario, Canada.
Japanese automakers, including Toyota, have been reeling from a strong yen that has eroded profits on exports. The Lexus strategy leaves the brand more exposed to foreign exchange than Toyota's mainline brand, but Toyota officials said the made-in-Japan strategy would pay off even at current yen levels.
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