GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
Lexus Press Conference
March 1, 2016
Alain Uyttenhoven, Head of Lexus Europe
Good morning and welcome to Lexus!
Let me start today’s press conference with this figure: One million!
Indeed, Lexus will deliver this month its 1 millionth hybrid vehicle to a customer in the world and we are extremely proud of this milestone!
Lexus is the leading provider of premium hybrid vehicles – by a comfortable margin. We have the largest range with no less than 10 hybrid models on the market. And only last year, we sold 150,000 hybrid cars in the world.
Europe is a leading region in that respect. Did you know? In Europe, almost ONE out of every TWO hybrid premium vehicles sold in 2015 is a Lexus! We delivered more than 40 thousand hybrids here last year, representing 64% of our total sales. And if we focus on Western Europe the mix is even 95%.
Hybrid is our defining powertrain technology. It also drives the highest satisfaction rates from our customers and this naturally leads to sustained sales growth.
Looking at last year, Lexus sold 652 thousand vehicles in the world, which is a progression of 12% versus 2014 and our 3rd record year in a row.
2015 was also our best-ever year in Europe, with a 20% sales increase versus 2014 even 31% if you consider only Western Europe. Also, looking to the East and Russia in particular, Lexus is one of the very few premium brands able to increase sales by 6% in 2015 despite challenging market conditions.
Our key sales driver was the new midsize crossover, the NX, of which we sold already more than 187 thousand units in the world since its launch at the end of 2014 including nearly 37 thousand units in Europe.
You know, it’s already the third year that I stand in front of you, here in Geneva time flies and I’m still amazed by the speed of transformation at Lexus!
In just a couple of years, we have completely renewed our line-up. We have launched new models, like the very successful NX, the RC coupe and our F performance cars, RC F and GS F. And we have introduced new versions of several core models including the 4th generation RX just a couple of months ago.
We are raising Lexus to the next level with a bold and instantly recognizable design identity with a more engaging driving experience and with innovative technologies for instance in terms of safety and powertrains.
Lexus is on a roll and we have even greater ambitions for the future. We aim to exceed the mark of 70 thousand units in Europe this year and 100,000 by 2020.
Indeed, there’s much more to come from Lexus. Our design journey will take us even further we will introduce more models and brand new powertrains.
The two cars we have on display in Geneva today show you the direction we are taking.
First, have a look at the LF-FC concept. This is our vision of a future Lexus flagship harmonious, seductive, sleek lines almost like a coupe but with all the usability of a large sedan.
And FC also stands for ‘fuel cell’ – the powertrain technology of the future. It’s our commitment today: we will launch a Lexus fuel cell vehicle around 2020. It will be a highly refined vehicle, with strong performance credentials and yet zero emissions and zero dependence on oil.
The LF-FC also previews advanced technologies such as autonomous driving on highways and a very innovative interface operated by natural hand gestures.
And the second model standing next to me under this cloth represents our short term future. I really can’t wait to reveal it to you so without further delay. Ladies and gentlemen here is the brand new Lexus hybrid sports coupe please welcome the LC 500h!
Judging by the reactions after its reveal in Detroit earlier this year, we seem to have got it right.
As Akio Toyoda said in Detroit, in order to make this vehicle possible engineers and designers had to collaborate in an innovative way.
The starting point was the LF-LC concept that we unveiled 4 years ago. Great looks as well but conceived purely as a design exercise, with no production constraints in mind.
So our mission was simple but challenging: bring this concept to life with great driving dynamics and while retaining the concept’s stunning visual identity.
Designers had to understand the engineers’ image for the LC driving dynamics and incorporate it into their work so we let designers do several test drives with performance cars so they could better understand the ideal positioning of meters and controls and – more importantly – the engineers’ passion for a great driving experience.
And our engineers also had to integrate our design requirements. Look at the front of the car. They had to develop a front suspension that: fits within a remarkably low hood line, accommodates 21’’ wheels AND provides GREAT handling.
Also, the LC is the first model to benefit from our brand new corporate platform architecture it’s the most rigid structure we have ever built.
And finally powertrains. We launched the LC 500 with V8 powertrain in Detroit.
Today we are proud to introduce, for the first time, our next generation performance hybrid system on LC 500h: the Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System.
What we wanted to do was very simple: expand the benefits and the attractiveness of hybrid to performance vehicles. This means: more power, greater acceleration and traction, higher efficiency and last but certainly not least more fun to drive.
To achieve this, we added a 4-speed automatic transmission to our current hybrid system. Together with the hybrid transmission, this allows the multi stage system to generate no less than 10 gears to respond precisely to driver inputs at any speed and in any driving conditions.
One figure summarizes it all: LC 500h will surge to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds.
Really, we can’t wait to let you drive this car ahead of its launch in Europe in the spring of 2017.
To conclude, let me invite you to welcome on stage the chief engineer of LC: Mr Koji Sato and the Multi Stage Hybrid engineer: Mr. Koji Oshima for a photoshooting opportunity.
Thank you for joining us today!