Lexus might try mall outlets

Toyota has disregarded Tesla’s powertrain solution, but it’s not disregarding Tesla’s retail solution. This frank interview with Ward’s Auto about opening mall outlets should be read as a trial balloon floated by Toyota, akin to a concept car. It’s meant to gauge public (and dealer) reaction. Surely there’s more to come. Tesla is eating Lexus’ lunch in the premium sedan segment and now occupies the runner-up spot behind Mercedes.

The phase-in plan probably goes something like this:

Phase I: Casual mention in the press, to break the ice
Phase II: Quiet discussion with dealerships to ease shock
Phase III: Public announcement
Phase IV: Execution

Will these Lexus outlets be factory-direct or independent? In a stroke of journalistic ineptitude, the Ward’s article fails to clarify that crucial aspect, but rest assured that every automaker would go factory-direct if it could. Remember, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, of which Toyota is a member, has complained about being forced to use dealers while Tesla can skip the middleman.

Complaint 1
Complaint 2

Automakers badly want a direct pipeline to you, the customer. Ford and GM tried it in 1999, but the efforts flopped for various reasons.

Meanwhile, TeslaMondo long-ago predicted that Tesla would expand beyond mall outlets, and more recently, Tesla has indeed said it might expand to a hybrid system of factory-direct mall stores and independent dealerships. Perhaps that’s ultimately where auto retailing is headed, period.

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One thought on “Lexus might try mall outlets

  1. Timmy says:

    Break the ICE, LOL.

    “Brake that ICE!”. LOLx2


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