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Lexus LM people mover here in Q4

Chauffeurs, resorts and well-heeled families targeted by plush Lexus LM people mover

19 May 2023

A PEOPLE mover is one of three new Lexus models poised for launch in Australia as early as the fourth quarter of this year. 


But the new Lexus is not just any people mover; it is among the world's most luxurious cars of its type, aimed at transporting VIPs to resorts and business executives between city appointments.


The model appears to be an unusual inclusion for the Japanese prestige brand but Lexus believes there is a market for a luxury multi-seat vehicle targeting both commercial – such as for transit vehicles for resorts and chauffeur operators – and private owners.


Lexus Australia CEO John Pappas said there was a strong market for the LM in Australia.


“It is a niche business for us but we see a fit with our existing models and potential with our existing and new customers,” he said.


The LM would capitalise on the renewed success of people movies – now dominated by the Kia Carnival that in the first four months of 2023 sold 3830 units, 82.8 per cent of the sub-$70,000 people mover segment.


Sales of sub-$70,000 people movers are up 39.7 per cent on the same five months of 2022, while Carnival volume is up 95.2 per cent in the same period.


However, the LM’s equipment levels and target audience place it up against the top end of the sector to rival the Mercedes-Benz V-Class that retails for $91,688 to $109,188 (plus on-road costs). 


Mercedes also has the all-electric EQV seven-seater for $155,338 + ORC.


Externally, the 5.1m-long LM mirrors the brand’s ‘spindle grille’ design and creased body flanks, LED headlights and tail lights, and large alloy wheels of up to 19 inches in diameter.


It also has electrically-adjustable ‘comfort’ suspension to improve the ride for passengers.


The LM, which has been very popular in markets led by China, will be available in two hybrid variants, the LM 350h (due late this year) and LM 500h that is slated for launch in Australia in the first quarter of 2024.


Drivetrains are shared with the RX SUV, with the three-row-only LM 350h having the 2.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine with two electric motors rated at 184kW. The LM 500h has a turbocharged version of the 350h drivetrain developing 273kW.


In its most luxurious Chinese market version, the LM gets two captain’s seats in the rear, usually accompanied by a large 48-inch screen for businesspeople to conduct video meetings or for passenger entertainment.


This flagship version has seats with electric adjustment including fold-flat recline, heating, folding legrests, and personal audio systems.


Lexus said that globally, the LM will be available with a two-row, four-seat layout or a more popular three-row model providing a choice of six or seven seats for both chauffeur operators and families. The seating configurations for Australia are yet to be announced.


The LM is a derivative of the Toyota Alphard and Vellfire that have been low-volume imports into Australia. Toyota has not confirmed whether it will import the model with its own badge.


Lexus launched the second-generation LM in China earlier this year and the model is now planned to be marketed around the world. The first-gen version has been available in China and some South East Asian markets since 2020.


Pricing and final specification of the LM for Australia will be announced closer to launch.

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