Lexus cornered 42% of premium auto market in ’23

AT THE RECENT media thanksgiving party of Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP), Chairman Alfred Ty looked back at 2023 as a “remarkable year,” and outlined some of the many highlights for the company.

“On the occasion of our 35th anniversary, we were fortunate to have President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr. visit our Sta. Rosa factory. (Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman) Akio Toyoda and I hosted him during his visit, and we were very encouraged by his high level of interest in our operations. In fact, PBBM mentioned that he felt like he was visiting an automotive factory in Japan given the level of quality he observed,” shared Mr. Ty.

Speaking of Mr. Toyoda, he also attended TMP’s first-ever GR Festival last August and got behind the wheel of a WRC-spec Toyota GR Yaris — assuming his motoring nom de guerre Morizo to showcase his drifting skills in front of a Quirino Grandstand crowd. That was certainly a particularly unforgettable moment for me personally, as I was among only a handful of individuals who rode shotgun as the smiling executive pushed the vehicle to do donuts and more.

“To this day, Morizo is all smiles when he recalls his visit to Manila last year,” Mr. Ty continued.

Arguably the centerpiece of TMP’s embarrassment of riches is the company’s 22nd consecutive “triple crown.” It again led auto companies in passenger car, commercial vehicle, and total sales. “I am also very happy that we set a new all-time sales record in 2023, with sales shattering the 200,000-unit barrier,” he told the attendees. The exact figure, 200,031, represents 46.54% of total vehicle sales, per the reckoning of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI) and Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA).

If the triple crown has perennially been a foregone conclusion owing to the utter domination in sales numbers, TMP added a welcome feather on its cap through Toyota’s luxury brand. You could even say it’s a now a quadruple crown as Lexus annexes the luxury auto market sales title with a sum of 1,843 units — good for 41.92% of the total.

“What this tells me is that the Filipinos are on their way to a higher quality of life and standard of living, in line with the government’s goal of making the Philippines an upper middle-income society,” stated Mr. Ty.

The executive additionally noted that, “carbon neutrality is gaining ground with sales of our hybrids and Lexus RZ BEV increasing their representation in our lineup to 3.6% from 1.2% in 2022.”

As vehicle production across the industry has largely returned to its pre-pandemic state, Lexus Philippines can surely gird for more growth this year. As the table above suggests, there is healthy demand (and, surely, supply) anew for its popular MPV model, the LM — outpaced only by the RX (also in all-new guise).

On the horizon, too, is the opening of a new, bigger Lexus facility at the Bonifacio Global City, this one near Mitsukoshi and a breath away from its original location. That one, we’ve heard, will revert back to Federal Land control.

But surely, all eyes must be on the LBX crossover, slated to debut locally in the first quarter, according to Lexus Philippines. Even smaller than the UX, the LBX will effectively become the new entry point into the Lexus stable. This, of course, will make the brand even more accessible to more people seeking admittance into the luxury segment.