Lexus is working through an order backlog in Europe after Toyota’s premium brand was hit particularly hard by the chip shortage, forcing it to pause sales of some versions of its newly launched NX midsize SUV.
“There is no denying 2022 was a very tough year for Lexus,” Matt Harrison, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said at the automaker’s Kenshiki media event in Brussels at the end of November.
Lexus sales in Europe fell 28 percent to 27,247 in the first nine months of 2022, according to figures from market researcher Dataforce. The brand’s best-selling UX compact SUV had the biggest drop, down 36 percent to 10,053.
Lexus’ European sales were also hit by the Toyota’s exit from the Russian market, which the company includes in its European reporting. “25 percent of Lexus volume was in Russia,” Harrison said. “And not small models, either. Mostly RX [large SUV], NX and even LX [luxury sedan]. The profit impact is more significant than the sales impact.”
Lexus had been hoping for a sales boost in Europe from its newly launched NX model, which added a plug-in hybrid to the brand’s range for the first time to give it access to tax incentives offered to fleet customers.
Japanese production of the NX, however, has been slowed by the chip shortage, leaving the brand with a backlog of orders.
“We have experienced severe production cuts on key models including NX, a model central to our growth aspirations this year,” Harrison said. “We are confident that when supply limitations ease, our Lexus growth momentum will continue.”