Economy, Auto

Lexus to Reveal Updated ES Sedan in China

Lexus to Reveal Updated  ES Sedan in China
Lexus to Reveal Updated  ES Sedan in China

Toyota Motor Corporation is to introduce a new Lexus model in China for the second year in a row, highlighting a completely redesigned ES sedan in Shanghai this month, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The company has released a marketing poster showing the updated ES on its website, showing the daytime lighting system, a hallmark of the company's branding in recent years.

Toyota will release more details when the car is unveiled April 20 at the Shanghai auto show.

Choosing China for back-to-back global debuts after introducing the NX compact crossover last year in Beijing underscores Toyota's increasingly global ambitions for its luxury brand, which still generates the bulk of its sales in the US.

Lexus targeted 85,000 vehicle sales in the Chinese market last year, about a quarter of its deliveries to US customers.

By updating the ES, Lexus is revamping two of its best-selling models in short succession. The fourth generation of the RX crossover, the brand's best seller, debuted earlier this month at the New York auto show and goes on sale in later this year.

Lexus has failed to keep pace with German competitors BMW AG, Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG's Audi in China.

A barrier to growth has been Toyota's reluctance to build Lexus vehicles locally, meaning the brand's made-in-Japan models are subject to a 25 percent import tariff.

Lexus is likely to soon fall behind General Motors' Cadillac to No. 7 among premium foreign brands in the China market, Max Warburton, a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst in Singapore, wrote in a March 17 report.

GM plans to open a Cadillac factory in Shanghai this year and already builds the XTS and ATS-L sedans locally.

The car is likely to make an appearance in the Iranian market in the coming months.