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Lexus wait times slashed as new subscription service option introduced


Luxury brand to support customers waiting for their new car with Lexus Now short-term vehicle subscriptions, while announcing massive stock injections

Lexus is being proactive in addressing frustrating new vehicle wait times with a Lexus Now subscription service.

“It’s an initiative from Lexus Australia together with our dealers,” said John Pappas, Chief Executive of Lexus Australia. “Basically, we see it as our entry into subscription.”

Unlike a lease that would lock you in for a fixed term, the subscription model is a more flexible “pay for use” approach.

Lexus NX 350
Lexus will begin offering its vehicles on a short-term subscription service, starting with the NX

Launched in recent weeks, initially at only two dealerships, it’s a flexible service for those seeking a vehicle for the short- to mid-term. Initially, the subscription cars will the brand’s top-selling NX midsize SUV.

“It’s basically totally flexible for the customer,” explained Mr Pappas. “If they (the customer) need it for one month, or nine months, or they could be using it while waiting for their new vehicle.”

When asked what the cost of a subscription would be, Lexus spokesman Paul Ellis told Chasing Cars it was impossible to give a figure at present as it would be tailored to an individual customer’s needs. That would include the model, grade and length of the subscription.

Why the need for a subscription service?

Primarily, it’s because demand for new Lexus vehicles outstrips supply, and has done since the challenges of Covid-caused disruptions. Many brands, of course, have suffered the same, much to the frustration of long-waiting customers with paid-for orders.

While announcing Lexus Now, the brand shared positive news about Lexus supply.

Lexus RX 350 F Sport 2023 rear badge
Subscription services are being offered from a range of car manufactures

In signalling intent to boost market share in Australia, Mr Pappas said: “The support of our parent company is essential, and I’m pleased to confirm Australia has now secured a much stronger share of global production.”

Good news for long-patient customers with existing orders, and it should guarantee strong growth for Lexus in 2023 sales-wise.

What are the new wait times for Lexus models?

Putting numbers to the statement, it was said the “typical” wait was between four and eight months for a new Lexus, including for the in-demand hybrids.

Lexus UX300e 72kWh 2023-1-2
Wait times for cars like the all-electric UX300e have been reduced significantly

Being model specific, it was suggested the UX300e electric small SUV was now at six to eight months; a big improvement on the over 12 months wait before.

Even better news for Lexus’s runaway best-seller – the NX medium SUV – with supply of “well over 5000 cars this year for NX,” said Mr Pappas. In 2022, the brand shifted 3362 new NXs, and it would have been more had supply kept up.

But the NXs coming in won’t fulfill all demands. The NX plug-in hybrid’s status has moved to “expressions of interest,” but not orderable, while the extended wait for the in-demand NX350h Sports Luxury “will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Wait times on the LX SUV are still extensive

Other models, we were told, “would take a while longer for supply to normalise.”

This includes the luxury LX – sister car to Toyota’s LandCruiser 300 – with the wait down to around 18 months. Still enough time for more grey hairs, but an improvement on four years.

“We expect to deliver several hundred more LXs than last year,” said Mr Pappas. Only 288 of the giant four-wheel-drives found Australian homes in 2022.

Lexus sweeteners have been warmly received

Earlier this year we reported how Lexus Australia had extended invitations to its Encore owner events to customers who have faced wait times longer than five months.

“It’s been warmly received,” said Mr Pappas, “but now we’re going further.”

That’s where the Lexus Now subscription service comes in, which we’re told will be offered only by participating dealers.

2023 Lexus RZ 450e driving front
The subscription service will only be offered at specific dealerships

It’s in its pilot stage so there’s no set list of which dealers Lexus Now will be offered through, although Mr Pappas said “dealers were lining up as we speak. We’ll continue to evolve the program and expand it based on the learning we get as we go.”

Exactly which vehicles will be offered through Lexus Now in future, and the cost involved, will no doubt be key to its success. Regardless, it’s a welcome proactive move to appease buyers enduring well-publicised wait times.