Stuno1

Why f cars don’t sell well...

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Let’s have some thoughts on this then.. the way I see it...

- Lexus don’t spend as much as competition on marketing and sombrand awareness isn’t there. 

- Most reviews are based on a few hours in track and on a road and do not show off the cars in all weather conditions and over an extended time. Chris Harris did a review of the m5 and gsf and due to poor weather the gsf shon.

- People are too focused on 0-60. Lap times between the f cars and rivals are usually within 1 second if each other. 

- Brand image. As above, due to lack of spend on marketing those non car folk still see Lexus as an old mans car.

 

stu

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I think Lack of marketing is the main reason, although they have seemed to have gone up a gear with the LC, I have seen many TV commercials and bill board posters with the LC, compared with absolutely nothing when i purchased my RC-F.

I also don't think that Lexus as a company are to bothered with the UK / Europe sales they have enough problems keeping up with US demand.

 

 

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I agree with both @Stuno1 and @wendle it’s the perception of others and the marketing’s, in my collection of all things ‘F’ there are a considerable number of pics of billboards massive electronic signs from the US and othe countries IsF related.

There were were very few for the RcF/ Gsf..... massively more for the LC.

Only yesterday I met up with @FTBBCVoodoo Lee and he related a car or car events he’d been to where there was complete ignorance or no interest in the ‘F’ Marque.

Do others think that if they the ‘F’ cars were badged Toyota things would have been different or am I way off the ‘Marque’ 😉

Big Rat 

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I was at goodwood breakfast club and a lc was getting some good attention.

My isf got almost zero attention unless people were looking at the rear. I think a carbon rcf will get a lot more attention but time will tell. 

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1 hour ago, Stuno1 said:

I was at goodwood breakfast club and a lc was getting some good attention.

My isf got almost zero attention unless people were looking at the rear. I think a carbon rcf will get a lot more attention but time will tell. 

I’ve att need two Shelsley Walsh breakfast meets, one with the ISF, one with the RC-F CE. Nobody stopped to look at the ISF.

The RC-F CE, totally different. At one point there were 8 people crowded round the car.

Bottom line, if you want to be discreet, get an IS-F, if you want some attention, get a RCF standard edition and finally, if you want to stop traffic - go for the RCF CE.

 

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Lexus does sell in quite respectable numbers as a niche brand. If we're talking why Lexus doesn't sell in BMW or MB numbers then I think there are loads of factors here. Below comes from personal experience, as I used to work for the marketing agency that did all Lexus UK marketing, and my best friend made the LC500 launch film so knows the advertising team quite well. Beyond that its just my opinion:

- We have a v.traditional and v.established car market in the UK where 'new' is not seen as a virtue
- UK consumers are some of the most brand conscious consumers in the world. Furthermore our peculiar flavour of brand-centricness (not a word!) is closely aligned to heritage and history
- For this reason no premium brand has made any kind of dent in the market...except at the mass/budget end of the market (Smart, Hyundai, Kia)
- Product development takes place in Japan with American and domestic tastes as the basis of the brief. The resulting products are therefore delivered as a fait accompli to the UK, and are therefore often a little alien looking to the average household
- The UK car market is one of the most valuable in Europe, therefore the established European brands guard it jealously
- Historically cars manufactured in Japan have been subject to a 10% import duty to the EU, wiping out much of the profit and money that could otherwise be spent on marketing/advertising
- Partly because of this and partly because of the influence of BMW/MB, Lexus haven't been able to break into the hire car market in Europe. Hiring a 'Premium' or 'Luxury' car in Europe will rarely result in you driving a car with an 'L' on the steering wheel. This is an enormous market and accounts for a large proportion of inventory coming out of Munich or Stuttgart, and how many business customers come to experience these cars
- The German car industry have made it their business to 'control' Dennis (Auto Express, Evo, Octane) and the other magazine publishers by block buying the most important advertising space in the magazines (inside front, outside back pages, etc)
- Lexus hasn't been good at 'playing the game' with the publishers and haven't been generous enough with the launch trips they organise. It is a bit of an industry joke that the reason the RCF didn't review well initially is that the journalists were 'only' flown economy to NYC for the launch, couldn't take spouses and were only put up for a weekend...whereas when Porsche (or MB or BMW) create any kind of iteration of their cars, they offer week long trips with WAG's to private estates and also allow journalists to jump waiting lists...interestingly Lexus fixed this for the LC500 and took the journalists away for a whole week, first class, with spouses and really showered them with hospitality - as a result reviews were a lot more generous
- Outside of GT racing recently Lexus hasn't been near the track and haven't understood the link in European minds between success in F1 and Premium...in Japan motor-racing at any level is used purely to show sporting prowess, nothing more
- Japanese products don't have much of a cache as premium products. Jackie Chan in the Cannonball Run didn't help. Nor did Infiniti. Nor does the newest Civic Type-R. Or Casio watches or anything else that the average UK Joe associates with Japan...rather than the reality which is: an attention to detail that borders on obsession, a natural affinity for craft, materials and engineering, a commitment to science being able to transcend art and a genuine culture of having petrol in the blood 

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Young drivers seem to either be the “Em-free, innit” lot, or aspire to own a diesel Audi A3 on PCP. The German marketing machine has certainly done a number on us.

This, coupled to the general state of our roads, traffic levels and the utterly relentless war on the motorist, I think petrolheads might be a slowly dying breed. 

As I understand it, in other countries, Lexus has a better market share, but they’re quite small in the UK. Here I’d imagine a very healthy percentage of all sales are the CT200h, more for tax/BIK reasons than anything else. 

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Lack of marketing/image. Youngsters into cars or learning to drive will know nothing about Lexus/F cars to inspire them to want to own one in the future. Personally I hope it stays this way as a big appeal was the rarity of F cars. I blame Doc Martin for the image btw.... 

 

 

_20180918_132344.JPG

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2 minutes ago, Stuno1 said:

@tomRCFcarbon it’s mad that hospitality and travel for reviews has that much of a impact on reviews!

It's true though. The issue is that the journalists end up in an impossible situation, of their making, but devised by the big brands (a bit like Russian Kompromat). After all no one forced the averagely paid journalist to accept the 'free' Macan that Porsche is lending them (for over three years) for the school run, but if they do - how do they resist the pressure to write a positive review of the new four cylinder 911? 

Back in the day Chris Harris was quite honest about it, in his Pistonheads review he went as far as basically describing how annoyed he and his fellow journalists were that they had to go straight from the airport to the briefing to drive the car and still had their bags with them! https://www.pistonheads.com/regulars/ph-chrisharris/lexus-rc-f-first-drive/30817 

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3 hours ago, Stuno1 said:

Chris Harris did a review of the m5 and gsf and due to poor weather the gsf shon.

same review (basically) as the print one on the website, best quote: 

'A simple straightforward head to head between the new Lexus GS F and a BMW M5. And yes, it’s a ‘30 Jahre’ edition M5, not because it swings the power barometer even further in the M5’s favour, but because it was the only one that BMW had.'

Hahahahaha...this is BMW's press team responding to a request for an M5 for a group test against a Lexus? A car that has been designed to embarrass the m5 and surprise, surprise the £25,000 more expensive special edition was the only car they had to hand...have you ever been to BMW UK, every middle manager is driving an M car and most are driving M5's they have so many in their fleet that on any given summer day - you can go to one of about 5 different national/local country shows and there will be a full M product range on display.

So it is quite funny and a credit to Chris Harris (probably annoyed about the reality of the above), that he finds in the GSF's favour. The fact that the Top Gear website is dripping in BMW M advertising makes this doubly more surprising...but its why he never got the Editor-ship job at Evo, he just couldn't tow the line...he wrote a column in Evo about it once, how influenced and under pressure he felt from advertisers - which no one would have thanked him for.

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14 minutes ago, tomRCFcarbon said:

same review (basically) as the print one on the website, best quote: 

'A simple straightforward head to head between the new Lexus GS F and a BMW M5. And yes, it’s a ‘30 Jahre’ edition M5, not because it swings the power barometer even further in the M5’s favour, but because it was the only one that BMW had.'

Hahahahaha...this is BMW's press team responding to a request for an M5 for a group test against a Lexus? A car that has been designed to embarrass the m5 and surprise, surprise the £25,000 more expensive special edition was the only car they had to hand...have you ever been to BMW UK, every middle manager is driving an M car and most are driving M5's they have so many in their fleet that on any given summer day - you can go to one of about 5 different national/local country shows and there will be a full M product range on display.

So it is quite funny and a credit to Chris Harris (probably annoyed about the reality of the above), that he finds in the GSF's favour. The fact that the Top Gear website is dripping in BMW M advertising makes this doubly more surprising...but its why he never got the Editor-ship job at Evo, he just couldn't tow the line...he wrote a column in Evo about it once, how influenced and under pressure he felt from advertisers - which no one would have thanked him for.

Madness! 

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Sadly none of that surprises but certainly informs! 

Sad really and kind of pathetic. 

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4 hours ago, tomRCFcarbon said:

Lexus does sell in quite respectable numbers as a niche brand. If we're talking why Lexus doesn't sell in BMW or MB numbers then I think there are loads of factors here. Below comes from personal experience, as I used to work for the marketing agency that did all Lexus UK marketing, and my best friend made the LC500 launch film so knows the advertising team quite well. Beyond that its just my opinion:

- We have a v.traditional and v.established car market in the UK where 'new' is not seen as a virtue
- UK consumers are some of the most brand conscious consumers in the world. Furthermore our peculiar flavour of brand-centricness (not a word!) is closely aligned to heritage and history
- For this reason no premium brand has made any kind of dent in the market...except at the mass/budget end of the market (Smart, Hyundai, Kia)
- Product development takes place in Japan with American and domestic tastes as the basis of the brief. The resulting products are therefore delivered as a fait accompli to the UK, and are therefore often a little alien looking to the average household
- The UK car market is one of the most valuable in Europe, therefore the established European brands guard it jealously
- Historically cars manufactured in Japan have been subject to a 10% import duty to the EU, wiping out much of the profit and money that could otherwise be spent on marketing/advertising
- Partly because of this and partly because of the influence of BMW/MB, Lexus haven't been able to break into the hire car market in Europe. Hiring a 'Premium' or 'Luxury' car in Europe will rarely result in you driving a car with an 'L' on the steering wheel. This is an enormous market and accounts for a large proportion of inventory coming out of Munich or Stuttgart, and how many business customers come to experience these cars
- The German car industry have made it their business to 'control' Dennis (Auto Express, Evo, Octane) and the other magazine publishers by block buying the most important advertising space in the magazines (inside front, outside back pages, etc)
- Lexus hasn't been good at 'playing the game' with the publishers and haven't been generous enough with the launch trips they organise. It is a bit of an industry joke that the reason the RCF didn't review well initially is that the journalists were 'only' flown economy to NYC for the launch, couldn't take spouses and were only put up for a weekend...whereas when Porsche (or MB or BMW) create any kind of iteration of their cars, they offer week long trips with WAG's to private estates and also allow journalists to jump waiting lists...interestingly Lexus fixed this for the LC500 and took the journalists away for a whole week, first class, with spouses and really showered them with hospitality - as a result reviews were a lot more generous
- Outside of GT racing recently Lexus hasn't been near the track and haven't understood the link in European minds between success in F1 and Premium...in Japan motor-racing at any level is used purely to show sporting prowess, nothing more
- Japanese products don't have much of a cache as premium products. Jackie Chan in the Cannonball Run didn't help. Nor did Infiniti. Nor does the newest Civic Type-R. Or Casio watches or anything else that the average UK Joe associates with Japan...rather than the reality which is: an attention to detail that borders on obsession, a natural affinity for craft, materials and engineering, a commitment to science being able to transcend art and a genuine culture of having petrol in the blood 

Cracking post

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It's exactly why I bought my ISF I didn't want a car you see 500000 times a day and people still bang on about them, those who know cars know about the f brand which unfortunately is also another reason why I reckon it's a small market as a lot of folk tend to go with the flow and copy each other sad but true.

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I bought my ISF thinking it was a low mileage Toyota Avensis. Imagine my surprise when I carried out my first overtake!

 

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6 minutes ago, Flytvr said:

I bought my ISF thinking it was a low mileage Toyota Avensis. Imagine my surprise when I carried out my first overtake!

 

My paying passengers loved it!!

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I would say simply lack of progression via range. Entry level models are boring for young drivers, mid-range doesn't exist, and then straight to F... Lexus lacks cheap and cheerful entry level car into the brand, then they lack reasonably fast mid-range cars for performance oriented buyers and F-Sport pretty much just sits there.... almost no connection to the rest of UK's line-up. I would imagine somebody having IS300 as a first car, would happily trade into IS350 mk2 (if performance is their thing), then RC350 and the RC-F or straight into IS-F after IS350. There are no progression to build brand loyalty and keep the customers at bay.

Now what happens - IS250 mk2, which is now affordable car is mediocre performer and rather understate looking car, nobody going to really notice or appreciate it or certainly not have it on the list of their dream cars. Ok they are reliable, but that is about it... unless you have had extended drive and you know the car very well... ok maybe... and if you want more power then what? You leave the brand. Nobody makes jumps from £6-8k car straight into £40-60k car... steps are usually incremental with the age and experience. You could expect BMW 320 owner to get maybe BMW 335i for 8-10k, after that maybe 640i for £14-18k, then maybe M3 for £22k... not straight into new M4 for £60k...

I know I am taking solely from my perspective, but getting into F... requires almost "leap of faith" or totally impulsive buy... which is a bit of big ask from the customer.

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14 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I know I am taking solely from my perspective, but getting into F... requires almost "leap of faith" or totally impulsive buy... which is a bit of big ask from the customer.

Agree with all of what you said apart from this. The f seems to be for those who research cars heavily and want the ownership package. Those who don’t necessarily don’t want normal offerings. 

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13 minutes ago, Stuno1 said:

Agree with all of what you said apart from this. The f seems to be for those who research cars heavily and want the ownership package. Those who don’t necessarily don’t want normal offerings. 

Such people are rarer then unicorns as far as I know... which just reinforces the point of why they sell in low numbers. I am pointing to general public with my post...

Other thing - those who care, understand and research are usually already in ownership of HP car like 911, AMG, M or other - so for them it is more of the same, just more reliable.. not leap of faith at all. As well just to clarify - I don't think that leap of faith actually happens... rather opposite - it doesn't hence sells low numbers, but what I mean "one would need to do it, to get from entry level Lexus (say 300h) straight into F".

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I'd say Image and lack of marketing.

To sum things up we met a couple  on holiday. The wife was a company director and wanted something a bit classy , he insisted it should have some grunt so they got an AMG C63 coupe. She wanted the badge, he wouldn't entertain an RCF as he said no one would know what the hell it was. Thats just one example and you hear it repeated over and over again. Most of these cars are sporty looking status symbols, yet the owners on here tend to be enthusiasts. 

Look in a Premier League football car park and you will see exactly whats selling high end / whats bling and you won't find a Lexus let alone an F. 

There is probably zero market for an RC 350 here either (which I agree is a shame). Audi and BMW have nailed that particular slot with faster and far more efficient engines in the 3 litre range.  

 

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