Japanese luxury car manufacturer Lexus today confirmed that it has begun local production of the ES 300h sedan in India. The first locally produced model is set to be available in India from February 2020, marking the first such operations since the company’s debut in India in March 2017.
Lexus India has set up an assembly line at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s (TKM) Bidadi plant in Karnataka. Following the ES sedan, the line will also soon begin assembly of the NX SUV to help them price it more competitively.
The Japanese carmaker currently sells the ES and LS sedans and the NX, RX and LX SUVs in India, all of which were earlier imported as Completely Built-up Units (CBUs). The steep import duties were a major disadvantage for Lexus’ market share in the luxury car segment in India, which stood at just 1-2 percent in 2019.
The Make in India programme of localisation has a direct impact on costs, which now stand substantially reduced for the ES 300h. With prices set at Rs 51.90 lakh for the Exquisite variant and Rs 56.95 lakh for the top-spec Luxury variant, the luxury sedan's sticker price is sharply reduced by Rs 800,500, given that the CBU model, which was available in one variant only, was priced at Rs 59.95 lakh.
The ES Exquisite is the entry-level variant that misses out on features like a head-up display and a 360-degree parking camera, both of which are present on the Luxury variant.
The ES is Lexus’ entry-level sedan offering in India that’s powered by a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. It combines a 178hp, 2.5-litre petrol engine with a 120hp electric motor for a total output of 218hp.
“This new chapter is significant for Lexus and for our presence in India. Today’s announcement represents our strong commitment to not just delivering an exceptional product and experience for our guests here, but sustainably enhancing our business for greater contribution to the economy and industry in India. It also clearly shows our strong trust in the skills and craftsmanship of the Indian workforce for producing quality products,” said Masakazu Yoshimura, Chairman of Lexus India.
Lexus India also launched three new models – the flagship LC 500h coupe, the ES 300h Exquisite and the NX 300h Exquisite. The LC500h coupe is a breakthrough in hybrid electric vehicle performance, while the ES 300h Exquisite and NX 300h Exquisite are new variants of the existing ES and NX vehicles along with the LC 500h. All the models are BS VI compliant.
PB Venugopal, president of Lexus India, said, “We are taking the next big step on our Indian journey. This reflects our belief in skills in automotive manufacturing locally.”
Lexus India also announced the launch of four new Guest Experience Centres in Chandigarh, Chennai, Kochi and Hyderabad, which complement the existing ones in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
All the new models- ES 300h, NX 300h and LC 500h are BS VI compliant.