While the luxury minivan from Toyota, the Alphard, was an undeniable hit amongst Philippine customers, we didn't really expect the same to happen for the far more luxurious version from Lexus: the LM.
The Lexus interpretation of the Alphard's proven concept as a luxury shuttle meant that comfort, refinement, and craftsmanship will be elevated to much more meticulous levels, and with the price, tags to match.
While the most expensive Alphard 3.5L V6 is already at PhP 3.925 million (White Pearl), the most affordable Lexus LM which is the 7-seater version is already at PhP 5.408 million. There's an even more plush variant that only seats 4 with the driver and front passenger, while the back is a veritable limousine with just 2 fully reclinable seats and everything on it. That one is priced at PhP 9.088 million.
We had reported earlier that the Lexus LM already had a long waiting list for it; our source indicated there are about 300 orders for the new luxury minivan that hasn't even been launched yet. They were supposed to launch the new model, but the pandemic put that on hold as dealerships had to shut down. Still, we were told Lexus had about 200 orders for the 7-seater model and about 100 for the 4-seater variant in February prior to the lockdown.
Now we've got a better timeframe for orders to be filled, and it seems that the waiting time for the mode can stretch anywhere between 6 months to a full 12 months, according to Lexus Manila, Inc. president, Raymond Rodriguez.
The president of the flagship Lexus dealership in the Philippines informed us that they have already sold 80 units to customers in total, indicating that they are averaging 10 to 13 unit releases per month. If we multiply that by 12, we can estimate that there are another 120-156 customers yet to be served, though we expect the number to be higher.
We weren't given actual reasons for the long waiting time, though we can venture a few hypotheses that would probably revolve around production interruptions due to the pandemic in Japan. Another likely reason is that the LM is also a sought after vehicle in other markets, particularly in China and Taiwan.
Along with the demand from Philippine customers, the market allocation would be a factor too, especially since only one factory in Japan currently builds the LM: the Toyota Auto Body plant in Inabe, the same factory that builds the Alphard.
We expect Toyota (and Lexus) to be ramping up production for such a popular and luxurious model range so the 6 to 12-month estimate could be cut down significantly. That will probably depend on factory employees staying healthy along with everyone else involved in the parts supply chain, logistics, and any other process involved in getting vehicles to showrooms and customers.
So if you're really interested in a Lexus LM, the queue will be a bit long. But good things do come to those who wait, right?