Japanese Lexus dealer pampers LS owners

Members only: How a Japanese Lexus dealer pampers LS owners

No expense was spared in the LS Owners' Lounge at Nagoya's biggest Lexus dealership.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been corrected to reflect that alcohol is not served at the LS Owners' Lounge.

TOKYO -- From the sparkling Swarovski chandelier to its veined marble paneling, the secluded LS Owners' Lounge at Nagoya's biggest Lexus dealership is one of a kind.

Kazuo Oguri, CEO of Nagoya Toyopet Corp., is the only dealer in Japan -- and he thinks the world -- to create such a special hideaway just for customers of the brand's flagship sedan.

The idea was to deliver an even more rarified premium experience for his highest-rolling customers. It's designed as a top-shelf refuge from the plebian CT -- or, ahem, HS -- customers who might drag in such unsightly baggage as shopping sacks and baby strollers.

"This is not a business-class lounge. It is a first-class lounge," Oguri says, reclining on Rubelli cushions made of Italian leather in front of friezes made of Portopo marble from Afghanistan.

No detail -- nor expense -- was overlooked. From wall panels made of Lexus seat leather and the English Porta Romana table lamps, to Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired ceiling molds and Kosta Boda glass sculptures from Sweden, the LS Lounge aims to transport customers from the crowded concrete corridors of downtown Nagoya to an exotic foreign getaway.

Demure female attendants guide visitors through the tea and coffee list and offer hors d'oeuvres.

Oguri built the lounge as part of a second-floor extension to his flagship Lexus dealership in 2012, timed for that year's launch of the redesigned LS sedan. The lounge is a remote, quiet corner of the building, partitioned by a foreboding black door. It exudes an air of exclusivity reminiscent of a posh underground club in Tokyo's glamorous Ginza district.

He sank ¥199 million ($1.96 million) in the gambit.

The expense was poured into making the wait for service visits all the more memorable. Oguri says it pays off in keeping customers loyal and building aspirations for new ones.

The lounge is open for any of Nagoya Toyopet's 1,900 LS customers to pop into anytime. And many even use it as fashionable rendezvous point for business meetings.

"It's much better than a hotel," Oguri says. "And the drinks are free."

You can reach Hans Greimel at hgreimel@crain.com. -- Follow Hans on Twitter


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