SAN DIEGO — All that fuss about the graying of Lexus? Forget about it.
With the departure of former Lexus boss Jim Farley to Ford Motor Co., the new regime at Lexus is taking a different approach to the brand's demographics.
"It's on our radar, but loyal customers mean a naturally older median age," said Mark Templin, 46, the former Scion vice president who took Farley's spot as Lexus' general manager in November.
Farley, the brand's boss from April through November, was worried about Lexus buyers getting older. But speaking at the introduction of the LX 570 SUV here, Templin said he doesn't see an increasing median age as a bad thing.
"It's more important to see how many new customers we are bringing in," said Templin, who, aside from his Scion stint, has spent most of his 17-year Toyota career at Lexus. "Youth is a strategy we are doing, but it's not like the sky is falling."
Instead of looking at customers' ages, Lexus is looking at what inspires them. So the brand is extending its marketing beyond its mainstays — golf and tennis — and further into the fashion, art, environment and culinary arenas, said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing.
"The Lexus brand covers a lot of demographics right now," he said. "We have to look at age and lifestyle. There's room to expand further."
But whatever the marketing tie-ins, they must have a logical connection to the brand.
"Do we want to be in polo? Or sailing?" Nordstrom asked. "I can't imagine trying to tie BMW technology to the Oracle sailing boat. We have to ask ourselves, 'Does this really fit the Lexus brand?'"
In that vein, Lexus is following Scion into more grass-roots marketing efforts. Said Templin: "We are expanding programs so that people can experience our car and brand in the everyday course of life, rather than them having to come to us."