With an aim of increasing sales and taking on European competitors in India, Soni’s task is made more difficult by the government’s high customs duties.
Naveen Soni was appointed president of Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s (TKM) Lexus brand on January 1. He succeeds PB Venugopal, who will transition to a senior product planning position.
- Soni was involved in key models like Glanza and Urban Cruiser
- Lexus looking to increase its guest experience centres across the country
Soni led sales and service as senior vice president during 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic wreaked havoc. He was instrumental in the creation of major models such as the Glanza and Urban Cruiser, which were sourced from Maruti as part of Toyota and Suzuki’s global agreement.
Soni will face stiff competition from European firms that dominate the luxury car market in his new post as CEO of Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand that joined the Indian market in 2017.
Luxury car manufacturers are increasingly realising that it is ultimately the customer experience that matters – from the time of delivery to actual use.
Lexus already operates guest experience centres (GECs) in select metro areas and plans to expand them in order to capitalise on the burgeoning class of rich entrepreneurs willing to spend on luxury goods.
Soni assumes leadership of Lexus at a time when global warming awareness is at an all-time high, and he expects that Lexus’ hybrid model lineup will appeal to environmentally conscious shoppers looking to make a statement. However, without tax cuts, hybrids remain prohibitively expensive, which, when combined with hefty import charges – the majority of Lexus India’s line is imported – is a disincentive Soni will have to overcome.