Lexus Malaysia, a division of UMW Toyota Motor, today had its first facility officially opened for business by the Minister of Finance II, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. The facility, which offers sales, service and spare parts (3S) is located at Mutiara Damansara (opposite Tesco) , on the outskirts of Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

The new 5-storey facility was built at a cost of over RM35 million and has a built-up area of 11,375 square metres. Its showroom can display up to 10 vehicles and has been designed with an ambience befitting of the brand image. Its design follows the global corporate identity for Lexus, Toyota?s luxury brand which was created in 1989.

Facilities for customers include a guest lounge with a caf? bar (and snacks too!) from which the owners can watch their vehicles being serviced. For customers who prefer to wait while their vehicle is serviced, there is a Business Suite with all the facilities a busy businessman would require.

The service centre at the lower level has 11 bays and can handle up to 35 vehicles a day. The service centre has some of the world?s first state-of-the-art equipment with custom-made Lexus diagnostic tools such as an 8-sensor precision alignment machine.

Customers can enjoy a luxurious ambience in the showroom, watch their car being serviced or do work in the fully-equipped Business Suite

Customers of Lexus Malaysia are promised a superlative experience from the time they make contact and will enjoy an ownership experience which highlights individual attention. Privileges offered include Lexus Capital Services (financial services), Lexus Assist (24-hour roadside service) and Lexus Insurance.

Since announcing the introduction of Lexus in Malaysia a month ago, the company has collected 10 orders and deliveries will begin towards the end of this month. According to David Chen, Managing Director of UMW Toyota Motor, those who take delivery of the LS460L will enjoy the revised price that has resulted from the lowering of the excise duty for imported vehicles over 3000 cc.

Price of LS460L will be reduced as a result of lower excise duty being levied on vehicles with engines over 3000 cc

?We have not finalised the actual price with the reduced excise duty but the savings will definitely be passed on to our first customers who take delivery of their cars shortly,? he said. When it was announced last month, the LS460L, which has an 8-speed automatic transmission, had a pricetag of RM864,458 (with insurance), making it the most expensive Japanese car offered in Malaysia. As for the GS300, which has an actual engine displacement of less than 3000 cc, the reduced excise duty will not be applicable so it will still be priced at RM413,688 with insurance.

Mr Chen said that the company hopes to add at least one more model to the Lexus range for Malaysia during 2007. It will almost certainly be the RX300 SUV but he said that discussions are also going on to bring in models such as the IS250.

Though Lexus has been around since 1989, its presence in Asian markets only begun in recent years. Clearly the reputation it has established in the US market ? where it has been the best-selling luxury make ? has helped it make an impact in the luxury segments in many Asian markets.

?Last year, Toyota sold around 16.594 Lexus vehicles in five Asian markets – excluding Japan – and in countries like Korea and Taiwan, it has already become No. 1 in the luxury segment,? said Shigeru Takayanagi, Senior Vice-President of Toyota Motor Asia-Pacific which has its office in Singapore. In the Singapore market, Lexus sold some 2,027 vehicles last year while in Thailand, against rivals which are priced lower because they are assembled locally, 20 to 30 units were sold each month.

?For Malaysia, we?re looking at?150?to 200 units in 2007 and I am optimistic that there will be good demand for Lexus vehicles given the positive economic indicators and activities this year,? said Mr Chen.

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