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Old 27th March 2017, 00:59   #61
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

(Apologies for the long post)

The Lexus brand succeeded due to many reasons:

From its early days, it offered:

1) Reliability

2) Quality

3) Hybrids

3) Uniqueness

4) Value

5) Experience

I need not elaborate on the superior quality and reliability levels of a Toyota product in comparison with rivals at various price points. And Toyota and Lexus definitely benefited from their early mover advantage in hybrids, a point I think most of my fellow BHPians would agree with.

On uniqueness, Lexus' styling has always been a selling point. But in the current generation products, and to some extent in the last generation products too, Lexus's exterior styling, especially the front grille, has really gone over the top. And from what I read somewhere, these semi- weird front grilles are meeting some customer resistance. But the overall design finesse and the interior styling of Lexus are second to none.

Coming to value, Lexus gained foothold, especially for its big LS400 sedans, by offering unmatched value vis-ŗ-vis its competitors like the 5 series and E Class Europeans in the then big US market. Audi was then not so in the picture, as they suffered from acceleration controversy (or something similar) back in those days. Now, after two decades, Lexus has gone down as a bargain proposition, but still remains good overall value due to higher residual values, better durability and more affordable maintenance.

On point 5), it would be safe to assume that Lexus is capable of providing excellent service and ownership experience compared to the Germans.

For those who are wary of sharing service space with Etios/ Liva, from what I hear, Lexus vehicles would have dedicated service facilities.

And I humbly suggest to those esteemed fellow members who are unconvinced on superior or comparable service experience, that they walk into a Toyota service facility and compare its ambiance, the staff's politeness, the transparency in their interaction, etc., etc. with any German marque's. You will find that there are more vehicles and more people around in the lounge, but as somebody who has seen the Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen service facilities in my town, let me say this: the Toyota facility is quite mind boggling.

Now we bring all of this into the main topic of discussion: the Lexus ES300.

The ES was one of the two inaugural models of the brand in USA. Even in those days, it had the stigma of being a dressed up Camry. I can see that this still stands. But that point has already been addressed by other contributors by highlighting the Skoda - VW- Audi case.

Similarly, on CVT, I do not see why a CVT should draw more flak in a Lexus than it should in an Audi. And, the ES does not seemingly suffer from any significantly lower count on equipment levels in comparison with its competitors. But certainly, the rear seat recline and 'front passenger seat away' features are pretty important in its segment and its positioning as a luxury oriented car, I agree.

And finally, to the point that Toyota kept away from selling Lexus in Japan till 2005/6, I humbly suggest some extra reading, as those vehicles were offered in Japan not as Lexus, but as Toyota. The ES was known as Vista / Windom, the GS as Aristo, and the big daddy LS400 was sold as the Celsior.

Many members would have seen Aristos and Celsiors being imported from Japan and re-badged as Lexus. The cars were the same, differing only in the logos and badges. I think many of them could still be found in Mumbai and Delhi.
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Old 27th March 2017, 10:09   #62
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Fan-boy or no fan boy, one can quote hundred reasons for rooting for a car. But Lexux is really Lexus? Doesn't that sound dumb? I have seen equally dumb Honda ad which says," a Honda is a Honda". Really? Unless words such as Honda/Lexus have some meaning, it really sounds stupid. If Sokda says its Superb is Superb then it's acceptable. The word Superb has some meaning.
Lexus's Tagline - Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. People who know the brand, know how powerful brand Lexus really is. It's funny you guys compare it to Honda and Toyota and other silly brands.

To most Lexus brand stands for more than just reliability. Lexus make one of the World's best luxurious interiors with superb NVH control. Fan boyism apart, I and many have always thought that Lexus is synonymous with Luxury.

Maybe you do not know the brand and that's why you talk about it with such disdain. I feel Lexus is definitely more luxurious than all the Germans except the Benz maybe. I suggest you guys first sit in a Lexus and then say whatever you want.

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th March 2017 at 14:56. Reason: Post edited. Tone it down a bit please. :)
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Old 27th March 2017, 13:25   #63
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

For those who think 55 lakhs is overpriced, wait till you see the on-road price. The gap to the Germans increases - reason? RTO taxes are higher for CBUs.

From what I've read, the ES 300h is a luxurious, comfortable cruiser. But the Indian car is overpriced (just like the other Lexus launches). It's also a question of timing - if Toyota had brought it 2 years back, it would have had a better start. But now, we have the game-changing LWB E-Class here and trust me, it is one heck of a car. For the self-driven, the new 5-Series is coming up.

Toyota is too slow, and it prices its CBUs terribly. Both of these factors will hurt Lexus in India.

Originally Posted by Durango Dude View Post
Instead of bringing in the 'lame duck' sedan they should have got this here first to add some Wow factor! The full fat Lexus LS 460.
Originally Posted by Raja View Post
The LS 460 has been superseded by the LS 500
Oh please no! The way they're going, Toyota will probably price it on par with the Rolls Royces & Bentleys.

Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
I am sure people in India want a luxury sedan that they can drive without worrying when is it going to break down or when something is going to stop working.
The reliability of the Germans has improved. My 530d - now approaching 4 years of age and loads of high-revving / hard driving - has had a single notable failure - water leakage. And that was down to a simple plastic / rubber cap. Wasn't that serious. In the area of mechanicals (engine, gearbox, suspension etc.), the car has been flawless. If you search on the forum, you'll see BHPians with 3-Series & 5-Series at 75,000 km, and no serious reliability issues.

I'm hearing Mercedes has improved as well (although it's behind BMW in the reliability standings). Reliability is no longer a deal breaker with Mercedes & BMW as it once was.

With respect to sales, do note that Lexus is no longer the no.1 luxury brand in the USA. It has been overtaken by BMW 6 years back. This year, Mercedes is leading the fight. Further, other than the USA, Lexus is not strong in any other big market. Not Europe, not Japan. Even in China, Mercedes & gang are way ahead. Lexus cracked the USA, but only & primarily the USA. It's not a significant player anywhere else.

Originally Posted by Karthik Chandra View Post
But what exactly is the problem if the car is getting serviced next to an Etios/Liva?
. What matters is the quality of service, not the car parked next to it.
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Old 27th March 2017, 15:17   #64
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
Lexus's Tagline - Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. People who know the brand, know how powerful brand Lexus really is. It's funny you guys compare it to Honda and Toyota and other silly brands.
You may call Lexus best car in the world. I have no problem with that. But, Lexux is Lexus? That sounds dumb. Did you not read my post full? I called Honda calling a Honda dumb, too. It's like saying stanjohn is stanjohn or pgsagar is pgsagar. That is meaningless.
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Old 27th March 2017, 15:26   #65
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Sifting through this thread, I could not help but notice how there are some arguments like 'Have you owned one? Driven one? Sat in one?' to defend the brand and the car in question. If we are qualified to post only based on Owning, sitting and driving a car, then I am afraid, 95% of the posts in Team-BHP would need to be deleted. People comment not only based on ownership experiences here, but a lot based on personal experiences like renting, test driving as well.

Owning or driving an Octavia or a Superb is considered great in India, but in markets like the UK, the Octavias and the Superbs are relegated mostly to Taxi operators. It all depends on the market and how they perceive their cars. Just because someone owned a Lexus doesn't mean the ones that don't own one are lesser mortals or do not understand what the brand 'Lexus' commands. As an aside, Micromax's tagline says 'Nothing like Anything'. Does that mean that Micromax mobiles are completely different from other mobiles in the market?

Now coming to the 300h, the following are my problems with the car. They are my personal opinion and doesn't necessarily mean they are etched in stone.

1) Overpriced for what it offers. I agree with the argument of Taxes inflating the price tag. But my problem is with the strategy used. Why can they not use the existing manufacturing facilities of Toyota to manufacture Lexus cars. What is so special about manufacturing a Lexus that it cannot be done using existing Toyota India facilities? VW manufacture everything from the Polo to the Audi in their existing facilities.

2) Holding on to the initial price tag. While it is too early to comment about the prices once local manufacturing starts, I am pretty sure that the reduction in prices once this happens will be minimal. My bigger worry is that the already overpriced Germans would see this as an opportunity to close in on the gap with Lexus. MBIL would say. Heck, looking at the 300h prices, my C class looks too VFM. I need to increase prices to uphold the premium image that it commands.

3) Reliability: Ok. There is no two ways to put it. Lexus and Toyota epitomise reliability. But that doesn't mean that consumers can be charged the moon to be offered reliability. I am sure most of us agree that the Innova and Fortuner are priced well above what they deserve. Lack of competition is one big factor that results in such a pricing anamoly. The 300h has direct competitors that are already launched and established here. Commanding a premium of 2X just for reliability is utter nonsense; in my books.

As a consumer, my only worry is that launches such as this do not give impetus for other brands to raise prices on their offerings which are already overpriced.

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Old 27th March 2017, 15:33   #66
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
That is meaningless.
No, it's not. It's a practical example of the expression "Your reputation precedes you". Knowledge of reputation is a prerequisite for it to make sense though.

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Old 27th March 2017, 23:17   #67
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by Yeldo View Post
The ES was one of the two inaugural models of the brand in USA. Even in those days, it had the stigma of being a dressed up Camry.
Perhaps not. In 1989-90-91, the premium Toyota model was not Camry, it was Toyota Crown / Toyota Cressida. My memory may be fading. But I think, this is correct. Sorry for the OT.
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Old 27th March 2017, 23:31   #68
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by racer_ash View Post
1) Overpriced for what it offers.As a consumer, my only worry is that launches such as this do not give impetus for other brands to raise prices on their offerings which are already overpriced.
I wonder how price sensitive this segment is. For somebody who has a networth of Rs. 10 to 50 crores, does Rs. 10 Lacs here and there matter much?

Let's take out a zero from the price tag.

Does it matter much if one premium hatchback costs Rs. 7 Lacs and another one costs Rs. 8 Lacs? Looking at the sales numbers of i20, Baleno, Jazz, Polo etc, there does not seem to be a linear correlation between sales success and price.

At the end of the day, price is just one of the 10 plus parameters an average buyer looks at, before zeroing in on a car.
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Old 27th March 2017, 23:45   #69
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

I am taken aback at the vigour of the opinions expressed on the Lexus in general and the ES300H in particular. Some of the opinions are almost ferocious. I am the guilty party who has committed the sacrilege of booking one. Be kind to me when I write the owners review. As I have put my money where my mouth is allow me to pen a few observations:

1. The ES300H is for slow pokes like me who want to travel by road in comfort and silence and don't want to go any where near 180 kmph. Those who need 0 to 100 in 7 seconds should not waste their money here.

2. The H has a meaning for some. I am quite clear that all my future car buys will be hybrid or electric or other green technology.

3. In terms of quality of interior trim - materials, finish and matching the ES300H compares eye for eye with the new E. Having examined both that is my observation. The E however is more opulent and lavishly put together. The ES300 is quieter in its interiors.

4. As a socialist in some corners of my heart I would proudly have my Lexus serviced next to a Etios with a smile. What matters are - (i) the quality of the training (ii) quality of diagnosis and (iii) repair procedures. These I believe, based on written correspondence with Lexus, they have addressed.

5. Price - yup it is over priced by Rs 5 to 10L. I've told that to the Lexus seniors as feedback from an early customer. It is for each of us to determine value for money. For some, like me, sheer reliability and good after sales service matters most. For others 'neighbours envy owners pride' would count for more. To each his own. If Lexus have botched it on price it will tell in their sales. From what I've been told they will not be producing it in India.

5. In the 1990s and years of the last decade I travelled often to the NYC-Connecticut area on business. For my travelling I patronized a Brazilian vendor who had just started off his taxi business and in those 12 years grew to a large fleet of Mercedes, Lincoln and Lexus cars. Often he drove me himself. He always said the Lexus beat the Mercedes for reliability and maintenance cost. That stayed with me.

6. The fact that the company's senior management is willing to devote time for letter correspondence with an ordinary customer, spend time answering questions tells me something of the attitude and values of the company. It is my hope that those values will translate to their product too.

7. Human motivation to buy a particular car can be very complex. It is not a simple this model versus that. What is aspirational varies from person to person and for the same person with time. It helps that the Lexus is not perceived as an opulent brand in India.
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Old 28th March 2017, 00:15   #70
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Perhaps not. In 1989-90-91, the premium Toyota model was not Camry, it was Toyota Crown / Toyota Cressida. My memory may be fading. But I think, this is correct. Sorry for the OT.
The initial ES was based on the Camry. I remember a buyers' guide or some publication calling it a dressed up Camry.

But as you said, the premium Toyota sedan in the US market at that time was not the Camry, but the Cressida. It was essentially the same as the Toyota Mark 2, many copies of which are still running around in India.

The Crown was withdrawn from American market much before that. I am almost sure that there was no Crown model in Toyota US lineup while the Lexus ES was launched.

Now thinking of it, the current generation ES is not exactly a dressed up Camry. Its underpinnings are also related to the larger Toyota Avalon, a model that succeeded the Cressida. I am not exactly sure, but the current ES shares it platform with the Camry, the Avalon and the Highlander SUV also. Maybe the 'platform experts' here would enlighten us on this.
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Old 28th March 2017, 02:52   #71
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

I'm glad that Lexus ES is now launched in India and if I was in India and was in market for the car in the price range, I would never hesitate to buy one for sheer peace of mind it gives even though there are worthy competitors such as E class and 5 Series.

As my account says, I own a Lexus ES in its 350 avatar which has 3.5 liter Petrol engine producing 278HP. It is a gem of a car and I have driven it daily since April 2009 till today without a single issue and only routine maintenance which costs no more than 40 USD every 3 months or so and occassional brake pad & tire replacements which are again not that expensive compared to Germans.

Its a reliable daily driver and I have already passed 1,10,000 miles on it i.e. more than 1,75,000 kms. My daily commute is little more than 60m round-trip or about 100km in all stop and go traffic so it puts lot of stress on engine and transmission but still its butter smooth and no vibrations or excessive noise at all even after putting on so many miles. Its interiors are impeccable without single rattle or issue even after 8 years or ownership and having driven it in not so nice SF Bay Area traffic & roads which are some of the worst in the US.

On my most recent trip to LA just couple of days back, I even crossed 110MPH (175KMPH) for a brief period while overtaking a semi-trailer and the engine didnt even sweat at all and was hovering around 3K RPM with lot of room to go further. If I wanted, I could have pushed it even further which I don't recommend nor I should have due to being way over the speed limit and safety concern.

Only issue I agree may hinder it success in India is its price which is quite high than it should normally be when compared to US and other developed markets.

My car was fully loaded version and cost me 40K USD in 2009 inclusive of all taxes & fees. In its 300H version, it costs about 50K USD due to Hybrid premium.

I think in India they should have priced it around 40-45L INR and it would have been a tremendous success.

However, pricing for all cars is out of whack in India with everything costing much more than it should so its not a surprise that CBU Lexus is priced as it is. I wish Lexus all the best and hope it becomes a success in India as well.
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Old 28th March 2017, 05:09   #72
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Interesting though slightly acerbic discussion so far.

Yes the sixth generation ES 300H/350 shares the platform with the Camry but it has nothing in common mechanically with it. It is in fact more closely related to the larger Avalon. The current Grand Cherokee share the platform with the ML 350/GLE 400 and the VW Touareg share its platform with the Porsche Cayenne; thereby if someone implies that theyíre similar vehicles, no, not by a long shot.

I have driven both The Lexus ES 350 (was a 2012 and not the ES 300H though) and Toyota Camry; they are as different a vehicle as chalk & cheese; the only commonality between them being the plush ride.

Yes it is true that Lexus ES was never known for its driving dynamics; on a slalom it cannot hold a candle to the 530/540Xi or even the E Class but then an archetypal Lexus ES owner does not buy a ES350/300H because they want to light up the drag strip; they buy it because of its opulent interiors, best reliability record that actually far exceeds that of Germans and years of worry free ownership experience and that includes top of the line customer experience at Lexus dealerships (donít know if this will translate to India). One of my dentist friends owns an ES 350 that has 316,000 kms on the clock and it is his fourth Lexus. I have not seen the 2017 E Class up close and the 2018 5 Series is also rumored to be quite good so has Toyota brought a knife to gunfight, I hope not. I wish Toyota had considered the ES 350 as well which would have been a better fit.

Lexus ES range is rarely cross shopped with a MB/BMW/Audi. Potential buyers of the European luxo cruisers stick to the gang from Deutschland & they probably have as strong a reasons to buy MB/BMW/Audi which is absolutely fine.

In 2016 Lexus ES sold 58,299 units vs 46,740 of E Class & 32,408 of 5 Series, making it a clear winner of the segment. The reason Iím comparing it to the E class and the 5 Series is because its typical competitors such as C 350 or the 340Xi are not sold in India currently.

As for the brand cache of a Lexus vs MB vs BMW, thereís no doubt that the Germans bring a certain heritage quotient coupled with an aura of German engineering to the table but when it comes to signing a cheque these things only have a peripheral value. One of my colleagues went from Porsche to a BMW to a Range Rover only because of the crappy customer experience that he had with both Porsche and the local BMW dealers though he loved all these brands.

Automotive market is a very dynamic place today driven by a number of complex behavioural patterns and when any one/few of these metrics change it can result in a situation that can alter customer loyalties in a jiffy. I hope Toyota has done its due diligence and chosen partners that will do justice to its hallowed brand so that Lexus can give a thorough competition to the Germans.

Indiaís contemporary luxury mid/full size car buyer is fairly well traveled and is aware of the various strengths & weaknesses of the respective offerings in the local market place for the most part. The argument that this is a relatively lesser known luxury brand is a fallacy as a large majority of the buyers in this segment would know about Lexus, having sat in/driven one when overseas or heard about it from a friend, relative or read about it.

As for me the only Lexus that Iím interested in is the GX 460 which is one of the best if not the best body on frame luxury 4X4 (thatís almost an oxymoron isnít it?) out there.
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Old 28th March 2017, 06:23   #73
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

I'm checking this thread often and I find lot of comments either strongly supporting or opposing. Want to see a replacement for my dad's superb, which is five years old and is reliable till now. For someone like him, who's chauffeur driven and used to the space in the back, the 3 series, A4 and probably even c class is out of question. Haven't sat in the C class, but the 3 and A4 are too cramped. I found even the 5 series and A6 to be cramped (sorry may be its the Superb effect). I was hoping the Lexus to be in between the entry level Germans and the E class. Before the product was launched, I checked prices in other markets and I found it was priced lower than the E and 5 series. But, I'm not sure. May be those who are abroad can give a clearer picture about the respective pricing there. For me personally the Lexus pricing was a disappointment. May be retaining the superb would be the most sensible option.
Personally we've had bad experience with Toyota. The corolla we had, did have it's share of problems. The worst was the car would accelerate on its own and used to be scary. Toyota never acknowledged it inspite of writing letters. If I'm not wrong Corolla did have a recall abroad for the same, but not in India. The other problem was the paint in the bumper would just chip away. It was like hypopigmented patches in skin. I have never experiencedrienced such a thing in any other car we owned. Also was advised to replace all discs by 45000 Kms. So, personally after the bad experience we had, for me Toyota reliability is over rated. Sorry for the Toyota fans. I'm not for any arguments. But these are my personal experience and worst was they weren't acknowledged.
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Old 28th March 2017, 13:07   #74
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
we have lower customs duties on CBU with 4 cylinders ( I believe less than 2500 CC or so ) due to which ES has a lower factor. That's the reason Porsche was able to price newer 718 - Cayman/ Boxter at lower prices than outgoing ones which had 6 cylinders.
Thanks for pointing this out. Wasn't aware of this till i read it in ET. Import duty gets cut to 120% from the usual 170% for CBU's with smaller engines!

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Old 28th March 2017, 13:52   #75
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Default Re: Lexus ES 300h launched in India at Rs. 55 lakh

It is an unhealthy symbiotic relationship. Toyota finds some excuse to overcharge poor Indians and poor Indians find some excuse to overpay Toyota. I wonder when we realize that rather than being sold a ride, we are being taken for a ride.
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