Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 11
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE
Why not the U.S.?
We sell UX in the U.S., but there is no
plan to introduce an EV variant because
there is no demand there and the regulation situation is different. Our fundamental strategy for electrified technology is
"Right place, right timing, right price."
Lexus is launching its first autonomous-capable car this autumn.
Which level is it?
It will start from Level 2 but it will have
over the air (OTA) updates so that in the
future we will update the level. Regulation as well as social concerns may affect what level we can produce in the real
world, so we need to consider customers'
expectations and how society will adapt.
Will the customer be asked to pay extra for the update?
It's not decided yet.
Will it use lidar?
Will automation be restricted to a
specific vehicle or is it something
that will roll out across your range?
Automated drive technology is not just
focusing on the super high level. Our
target is to expand it to a wide range of
vehicles. It will be applied next year for
the first-generation automated drive vehicle and after that we will roll out the
technology to other vehicles.
Which car and which market will be
first to get the technology?
We haven't announced that yet. [Lexus
showed an LS sedan concept in 2017
that previewed its automated technology planned for 2020.]
The autonomous technology will be
upgradable over the air (OTA). When
do you plan to offer OTA?
It won't be this year, but sometime in the
future. The car that debuts this autumn
will be OTA-ready, but OTA itself will not
happen this year.
download this. Technology improvement
never stops. At launch the technology is
at the perfect level, but, of course, we will
never stop so we will find new solutions.
Will Lexus launch a hydrogen car by
the end of the decade?
We are investigating the technology.
Hydrogen is one of the solutions for
the future. It can be stored, and the
charging speed is the same as filling
up with gasoline.
What share of Lexus sales are SUVs
and will the share continue to grow?
Globally, SUVs account for about 65
percent of our sales. Our highest volume
is in the U.S., where they represent 60
percent to 70 percent of our sales. Europe is 80 percent and China is about 50
percent. We think this trend will continue for another five years or so but after
that, maybe SUVs will be on the ropes
and people will want something new.
We need to prepare for something other
than the SUV over the next 10 years. The
LF30 concept is one proposal for that.
Your SUVs are quite traditional in
terms of body style, while your German competitors are offering a growing range of SUV coupes. Will Lexus
also join this niche?
We will not expand our vehicle lineup to
fit the trend.
When will Lexus add its first plug-in
hybrid to the lineup?
What are the target markets?
We are thinking globally.
Other manufacturers of premium large
SUVs have been very quick to add plug-
in hybrids. Why has Lexus been slow
into this niche?
We believe the hybrid will need additional work if you are thinking long term. It's
easy to just put in a big battery, but our
priority is to fundamentally improve the
entire hybrid system. That will help us
apply the technology to battery-electric
vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles. That's the
main reason why we are taking our time.
It's about priorities. Compared with other brands we already have low CO2.
Lexus doesn't make vehicles in Europe. Would you like to add production in the future, possibly using a
To produce vehicles in Europe, we would
need to reach a certain volume. That being said, we continue to believe that our
main Lexus factories should be in Japan,
because one of our identities is Takumi
craftsmanship [an artisan philosophy of
applying a human touch to all aspects of
Lexus design and development]. We are
really proud of that.
Could Lexus add a model below the UX?
We need to investigate whether there is
any opportunity in the B-segment [small
segment]. We are not sure right now.
Many car manufacturers go into this
segment but sometimes disappear so
it's complicated. It's a very difficult part
of the market because the business is
fractured globally. It's mainly Europe and
some Asian countries, including Japan,
but the U.S.? No chance.
Could it work as electric only?
There is some opportunity. Many manufacturers are developing short-range EVs
for this segment. ANE
What opportunities are there to create new revenue streams via overthe-air solutions?
One example is upgrading to automated
drive, but also customization and also
Could you give an example?
One example - and this is just an idea - the
customer could upgrade the driving character, the suspension settings or aerodynamics that are linked to performance and
make them fit their own tastes. They could
Lexus needs to prepare for what comes after the SUV surge cools, Sato said.
The LF30 concept is an example of how Lexus may react.
Automotive News Europe - February 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Europe - February 2020
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Intro
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover1
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover2
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Contents
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 5
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 6
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 7
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 8
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 9
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 10
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - 11
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Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover3
Automotive News Europe - February 2020 - Cover4