Toyota Europe may extend its Lexus luxury car range and invest in a new dealer network. The maker is looking at a range of options designed to boost Lexus sales.
Last year it sold around 4,000 units in Europe, half of them in the UK. Germany and Spain were also major markets.
'We have to make the whole franchise more attractive to our dealers,' said Alan Marsh, Toyota Europe vice-chairman.
The options include extending the range with a third model. Toyota has not decided which model to add. In 1996 Toyota sold 1,549 GS300 and 2,259 LS400 limousines.
Other options involve new arrangements with dealers. Selected Toyota dealers may be offered a shop-within-a-shop to sell Lexus cars. However, the few exclusive Lexus dealers in Europe have secured the highest sales to date.
'But it is a chicken and egg situation,' said Marsh. 'Whatever we do, it will be a matter of investments by dealers or by us. The addition of a new car largely depends of the chosen sales concept and perspectives.'
Toyota hopes to conclude its Lexus feasibility study this summer.