If there's one thing Lexus would really like to be known for, it's quality. They didn't become popular by building a bland and haphazardly built car. But even in the high stakes Chinese luxury market, it doesn't appear Lexus is going to even let their cars be made there, in order to keep tabs on quality.
In an interview with Reuters, Lexus' design chief Tokuo Fukuichi said nothing's been decided on Chinese production, but gathered it wasn't too likely anytime soon. In fact, he went so far as to say:
Customers would leave us if we have any problems with quality because that is what they are seeking in a Lexus.
This is despite the effect it's had on sales. Because of the tariffs on imported cars, Lexus' China sales are roughly a fifth of BMW's and are even further outstripped by Audi, according to Reuters.
They may have a point with the quality concerns. Even in the U.S., people don't really buy Lexus for the image or style or heritage. Its main appeal as always been that it's a quality product that's one of the best assembled cars out there. When its cars were subjected to the wrath of Toyota recalls earlier this decade, Lexus tumbled from the top spot to number 3 in U.S. sales for luxury brands.
As more and more Chinese customers demand quality over gimmick, this is probably the smartest move Lexus could make.
Photo: AP Images