Thursday, March 4, 2010

Lexus Hybrids: Product Line Stretching and Shifts in Secondary Cultural Values

Lexus has recently developed a new line of "hybrid" vehicles. This is a response to the shift in secondary cultural values towards clean living with the environment. Fairly recently, people have realized and taken to heart that the nature of the environment we live in is very fragile and finite and the things that we choose to do impact that environment either positively or negatively. With more coverage on "Global Warming" more people have pledged to take their part in keeping our world clean and reducing their carbon emissions. One major way of accomplishing this is by biking rather than driving or buying a car that is safer for the environment such as a hybrid. Lexus has noticed this shift in its customer's cultural values and decided to react to not only keep their customers but also create delight and goodwill in developing a product that is safer for the world, hence the new line of hybrid cars. Overall, this is just an example of a company responding to cultural trends. According to the text, "43 percent [of people] say they will be 'extremely green' within the next 5 years" so Lexus decided to appeal to consumers who fall into both categories of desiring luxury vehicles while still sustaining the environment.

Rather than just developing one hybrid car to reach the segment I just mentioned, Lexus built a line of hybrids at varying price points to capture various levels of consumers. This is an example of Lexus demonstrating product line stretching within one line; this is also the case in each of their sedan, performance, luxury utility, and convertible lines. With the lowest price point, the HS Hybrid 10, starting at $34,650 to the highest price point, the LS Hybrid 10, starting at $108,800 to capture varying levels of luxury car seeking consumers who also value the environment.

Even with their reaction to changing cultural values and product-line stretching, Lexus has still maintained their positioning as a high end, luxury vehicle offering both exceptional performance and quality. The Lexus brand and reputation tells the consumer that they are still receiving a luxury vehicle yet with the added bonus of environmental sustainability.

This link goes to the hybrid line on the Lexus website:

Cynthia Meadows-Read
Section E

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