A few years ago Toyota decided to go slow with its prstige brand in Europe while it charged ahead in America and made Lexus a standard for luxury.
It should have done the same thing here. Instead, Toyota executives in Japan worried about offending Daimler-Benz and BMW in their European home markets.
They failed to price the car competitively or set up a separate dealer channel. They didn't make it exclusive and didn't back it with enough advertising. As a result, Lexus is just another very good auto brand in Europe. Making it special now will mean overcoming a lot of inertia at its dealers and distributors.
Toyota gave up a chance to score big in the American pickup truck market a few years ago with a similar display of timidity. It shied away from installing a V-8 in its big truck.
Japanese companies are more cautious when they decide things from Tokyo. The bosses back home must allow local marketing executives here and elsewhere in the world to make the tough calls.