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Beyond Alan Partridge – Lexus’ Image Change

»Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Partners | Comments Off on Beyond Alan Partridge – Lexus’ Image Change

When Alan Partridge, the Norfolk-based DJ and former host of ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge’ swapped in his beloved Rover 800 for a Lexus, fellow Lexus owners across the UK instantly became figures of ridicule and the famous car brand’s reputation took a battering.

Steve Coogan’s comic character’s purchase led to Toyota’s flagship luxury vehicle being viewed as one likely to be owned by the self-important and pompous. However, for Lexus lovers and dealerships, such as Inchcape Lexus Derby, this image of the Lexus and its owners couldn’t be further from the truth. So what are Lexus – that’s the official plural of Lexus, according to the brand, however insistent Alan may have been that it was Lexi – really like and are they becoming a credible option for UK motorists once again?Inchcape Lexus Derby

Lexus – ‘The Japanese Mercedes’

Alan Partridge’s assertion that the Lexus is ‘the Japanese Mercedes’ does have some basis in fact. The first Lexus to be produced – the Lexus LS 400, which was launched in 1989 – was the result of a secret Toyota project, code-named F1, the aim of which was to design a luxury vehicle capable of competing against the best cars on the market, including those manufactured by Mercedes-Benz.

Lexus focused on emphasising the luxurious and high-quality nature of its vehicles in its advertising campaigns, but it was the reliability of the cars that became the main draw for many customers. The brand became popular around the world, particularly in the USA, and gained a reputation for providing superb customer service too. Soon after the launch of the LS 400, Lexus received two complaints from customers. The company responded immediately by recalling all of the LS 400s that it had sold, collecting them from customers free of charge and replacing affected parts where necessary, before returning them to their owners.

Lexus – A Brand That’s ‘Bouncing Back’

Despite the damage done by Partridge’s purchase in the BBC show ‘I’m Alan Partridge’ in 2002, Lexus has been doing booming business outside of the UK since its first car was launched. Sales did fall in 2008, but this was largely due to the global recession, and after some quick rethinking, the brand had recovered its foothold in the market by 2009.

It seems to have ridden out the rough times in the UK too – Lexus has always had a loyal following and its hybrid models have certainly won it new fans. In 2009, the company stated that it intended to become a hybrid-only brand in the UK and, between 2011 and 2012, Lexus was the fastest growing mainstream car manufacturer in the UK, partly due to the success of the CT200h, the brand’s compact premium hybrid model, which accounted for more than half of its annual sales.

It looks like Lexus may be successfully ditching its negative image in the UK and, like Alan Partridge, be ‘bouncing back’ – so now is the ideal time to visit a Lexus dealership and try one out yourself.

About Sophie Wiggins

Sophie Wiggins is a freelance writer, She loves long drives, motorsports and checking out the latest vehicles on the market. She recommends visiting Inchcape Lexus Derby where she picked up his first hybrid car. When She’s not on the road, Sophie blogs about motoring-related subjects.

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