Lexus enters India with luxury hybrid SUV RX 450h, sedan ES 300h
Lexus launched the hybrid SUV RX 450h in two variants -- RX at Rs 1.07 crore and RX F-Sport at Rs 1.09 crore, while the executive luxury sedan ES 300h was launched Rs 55.27 lakh.autos Updated: Apr 15, 2017 09:58 IST
Lexus, the luxury brand of the Japanese giant Toyota Motor Company, made its India debut on Friday with two luxury SUVs and a premium sedan, entering the market dominated by the German big three -- Audi, BMW and the Mercedes-Benz.
Lexus launched the hybrid SUV RX 450h in two variants -- RX Luxury at Rs 1.07 crore and RX F-Sport at Rs 1.09 crore, while the executive luxury sedan ES 300h was launched Rs 55.27 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).
The company also unveiled a luxury diesel SUV LX450d, the Japanese twin of the Toyota Fortuner, but didn’t announce price. All the three models would be imported from Japan as completely built units initially, until Toyota arranges to localise assembly in the country.
Apart from these, a fifth-generation Lexus LS 500 was also showcased at the launch in Delhi, which the company is expected to launch later this year.
Lexus said it is entering the Indian market to tap the growing number of luxury car-buyers who are looking to upgrade from Camry, the top-of-the-line luxury sedan in the Toyota portfolio.
“Toyota manufactures Camry hybrid already in India and many of the customers are looking to upgrade. Therefore, it is the right time for Lexus to enter the Indian market so that our customers don’t go to other brands,” Lexus international president Yoshihiro Sawa said.
The company will start retailing the products from four dealerships -- New Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru, while after-sales service facilities will also come up in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kochi. Additionally, the Lexus cars could also be serviced at Toyota service centres across the country, where special Lexus bays would soon come up.
Lexus RX450h is powered by a 3.5-litre, V6 petrol engine coupled to Toyota’s Nickel metal hybrid system, the one that drives the Prius, mated to an eight-speed CVT gearbox to generate 312PS of combined power and 335 Nm of torque.
The SUV has been pitted against the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. However, the all-wheel drive hybrid will only be in competition with the Volvo XC90 T8, a plug-in hybrid launched in India last year.
Being produced since Lexus’s birth in 1989, the ES300h borrows its motors from the Camry – a 2.5-litre petrol engine coupled to an electric motor and mated with the same six-speed CVT gearbox to generate 202PS of max power 336 Nm of max torque. The newest luxury in town has been priced at Rs 55.27 lakh and will fight it out with the recently upgraded Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 5 series which will be updated later this year.
|Model||RX 450h Luxury / F-Sport||LX 450d||ES 300h|
|Dimensions (LxWxH) mm||4890 x 1895 x 1685||5080 x 1980 x 1865||4915 x 1820 x 1450|
|Ground clearance mm||195||225||151|
|Engine||3.5-litre V6 + nickel metal hybrid e-motor||4.5-litre V8||2.5-litre 4-cylinder inline + nickel metal hybrid e-motor|
|Gearbox||8-speed E-CVTi||6-speed CVT||6-speed CVT|
|Power||312 PS combined||265 PS||205 PS combined|
|Torque||335Nm||650 Nm||213 Nm|
|Price in Rs||1.07 crore / 1.09 crore||Not announced||55.27 lakh|
Toyota’s plan to bring Lexus to India could work, given the increasing appetite for big luxury SUVs and sedans in India. With principal leaders like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen already running successfully in India with their premium brands, Lexus will have a good playground to play in.