US: Lexus wants car purchases to be free of “haggle” image
Bargaining is one of the biggest nuisances when purchasing a car – whether its new or used – so Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury brand has started a prototype program designed to get rid of it.
The premium Japanese automaker is trying to take advantage of the booming period for the luxury auto market in the US, after it managed to top all other makes in terms of deliveries last month. Lexus will be testing the “negotiation-free” retail method at 12 stores, according to Jeff Bracken, the brand’s senior manager in the US, who announced the idea during an auto-industry conference in northern Michigan. Lexus’s annual summer sale and the introduction of its newest crossover – the compact NX – have taken Lexus past its two German rivals – BMW and Mercedes-Benz – to narrow the difference between the three in terms of deliveries for the year. Luxury autos are doing even better than the overall US auto industry – which in turn is close to sales not seen in more than ten years. The premium brands have managed to broaden their appeal thanks to more affordable models such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and the Lexus NX crossover.
Lexus said its sales last month jumped 9.1 percent from the same period last year to 29,816 units. Mercedes-Benz came second with a feeble 1.2 percent gain to a total of 27,526 autos and BMW came third with its brand deliveries up 2.1 percent to 26,970 vehicles. After the first seven months of the year, the latter holds leadership with sales of 195,593 units, followed by Mercedes-Benz with a total of 192,496 vehicles and Lexus with a tally of 188,664 autos.