Since Toyota Motor Philippines launched the Alphard in 2010, we knew they had a successful model in their line up.
A market that craves luxurious transport -especially in urban traffic- was thoroughly satisfied by the capabilities of the Alphard van its smooth gasoline powertrains, reclining seats, leg rests, and all kinds of bells and whistles. Toyota even followed up the Alphard with a new generation model in 2015, and earlier this year, a facelift with renewed style and its own unique emblem. This current model is equally -perhaps even more- successful than the last.
But one question remains: Why hasn't Lexus, Toyota's luxury arm, built their own version of the Alphard?
The industry knows Lexus for building new, more luxurious models out of existing Toyotas. Examples of this trend from Lexus include the Lexus RX (originally based on the Toyota Harrier), the Lexus IS (originally the Toyota Altezza), the Lexus ES (originally based on the Toyota Camry, then the Avalon), and the Lexus GX and LX (originally based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and Land Cruiser, respectively).
Despite that, a luxury van the likes of the Alphard is still unavailable from Lexus. We posed this question to Mr. Raymond Rodriguez, the president of Lexus Manila, Inc. (LMI) over a cup of coffee. He gladly gave us his insight.
“A Lexus version of the Alphard is actually on my wish list,” said Mr. Raymond Rodriguez, the president of Lexus Manila.
The chief executive of Lexus Manila said that a Lexus “Alphard” could be a big hit for their customers, if domestic sales figures -particularly the long waiting lists for Toyota's luxury van- are any indication. He also cited industry figures, particularly the Philippine sales of Mercedes-Benz vans: 105 units year to date. If Lexus can bring a van model with high levels of comfort and luxury, he said they can acquire a big chunk of that pie.
The boss of LMI said their version would be logically priced much higher and be more exclusive, and therefore wouldn't have as long a line as the Toyota version.
Of course, this is still all conjecture as Lexus has yet to actually reveal or officially indicate when -or if- that model is actually coming, but we can expect something truly impressive based on how Lexus has upscaled Toyota's models in the past.