Despite a lackluster year economically for LatAm, Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus, had another stellar year in the region, despite only counting on 7 dedicated dealerships scattered across LatAm.
Lexus has a single dealership in the major cities of Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Costa Rica, as well as temporary dealerships in Panama and the Dominican Republic.
Despite this limitation, Lexus managed to increase its sales by 32% throughout the year, a similar figure to that achieved in 2015. This makes LatAm the fastest growing region for Lexus for a second year in a row. Lexus went from controlling 1.9% of the luxury car market segment in 2015, to controlling 2.9% of it in 2016.
Lexus plays at a disadvantage against the regional leaders in luxury car sales, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Whereas Lexus imports all of its vehicles from Japan, the other three possess manufacturing facilities in Brazil, this cuts back transportation costs significantly and allows them to avoid a 35% import tax in Brazil, the region’s largest market.
The present then, seems to favor Lexus’ strategy of carving out a niche for themselves in the region, ready to pounce when the commodities cycle brings about a boom to the economy once again.
Until then, Lexus will continue expanding. They have set their sights on Argentina, which recently disposed of a large luxury tax.