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It’s difficult to read how the luxury market behaves, especially during extraordinary times. And it’s safe to say that this is a truly extraordinary time. Perhaps, owing to their deep reserves of material wealth, buyers of luxury cars have also amassed a wealth of time in their hands—time they can spend to make more carefully weighed purchasing decisions.

Asked to read into the future of the luxury market, lawyer Rommel Gutierrez, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (Campi), told Inquirer Motoring: “There are different trends for different customers. Some are hesitant to purchase or to receive delivery of their cars, (opting to be) low profile during these pandemic times. Others are wanting to do so since they can’t travel, etc. And to some also that still want to reward themselves for the hard work they have been doing.”

If a seasoned lawyer and longtime stalwart leader of a national automotive association won’t even risk a definitive guess as to how the luxury market will behave during a public health crisis, then what better chance do we ordinary observers have?

It is in this situation that Lexus Philippines finds itself in, when all it can and needs to do is to carry on offering the same quality of luxury cars, no matter the circumstance. The buyers will always come. It’s just a question of when, not if.

Carlo Ablaza, Lexus Philippines vice president for brand communications, explains, “Generally for Lexus, these are personalities who have a high regard not just for quality but who also appreciate the crafted, thoughtful, personalized details in a car.”

Ablaza said that Lexus buyers purchase their vehicles for various reasons, but there is a common denominator: A shared appreciation for design, craftsmanship, exhilarating performance in the drive and technological features that put them right ahead of the curve.

More cautious

They do also share a fair amount of prudence in spending. Ablaza told Inquirer Motoring last Monday that luxury car buyers are still more cautious with their purchases and choices, even if the community quarantine status in most parts of the country, including in NCR, had been eased to the more relaxed general level which allows for more freedom of movement.

Last month, Lexus Philippines offered special financing packages for would-be buyers, hoping to induce a movement in the market. The jury is still out if that move worked, as the financing promo has been extended this September.

“In a month’s time, we believe that not a lot has sharply changed given that people are also being more cautious with their purchases and choices. Although that’s the case, we still look forward to ending the year on a good note despite the circumstances,” Ablaza said.

Ablaza shared that Lexus Philippines has also been finding more ways to reach out to its audience through online space.

“We understand that there are some ways pre-pandemic that are slowly being replaced by digital tools that aid us to continue to go on with our daily lives. For instance, we have introduced the Lexus Remote and the Lexus Remote Guest Experience wherein you can purchase our cars from the comfort of your own home or even look and experience our Lexus Manila showroom through your mobile devices.”

Lexus Philippines utilizes this digital space as it continues its special financing deals this September.

Good until Sept. 30, a 30-percent downpayment, 24-month term, at 0-percent interest is offered for these models: The Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS 350, Lexus RX 350, Lexus RX 350 F Sport, Lexus RX 350L, Lexus RX 450h, Lexus NX 300, Lexus NX 300h, and Lexus NX 300 F Sport.

On the other hand, the Lexus UX 200 (including the UX F Sport) is offered with a 50-percent downpayment, 12-month term, at 0-percent interest.

Interested buyers may visit the Lexus Remote and try the Lexus Remote Guest Experience with a personal sales consultant at https://www.lexus.com.ph/en/lexus-remote.html.

Bolder designs

The Lexus design has been traditionally described as “subdued elegance”, aligned with its owners who share that similar quality. However, lately, Lexus designs have taken on more aggressive lines. Lexus describes its newer designs as having “the power to catch the eye and turn heads”.  Inquirer Motoring asked the reasons behind this altogether different design direction.

“One of the more evident features of a Lexus is its brave design spearheaded by our signature ‘spindle grille’ that first made waves in 2012 led by Tokuo Fukuichi. It was first seen in the GS and from then on, this took cue on how our vehicle lineup has been inspired by sharp curves with uncompromising craftsmanship,” said Ablaza.

“It was a bold move for us at Lexus to move towards the spindle grille, but it is only through bold and brave decisions that can lead to epoch-making designs. Today, in a heartbeat – when you pass by a car with a spindle grille, you know it’s a Lexus.”

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