The power of Lexus’ Omotenashi

Lexus’ guiding principle of omotenashi has resonated well with Filipino premium car buyers. Though the word itself has no direct equivalent in the English language, it is often described as a genuine feeling of hospitality.

Deeply rooted in Japanese culture, omotenashi can be traced back to the traditional tea ceremony where a host will not just make guests feel welcome, but will work hard to anticipate and fulfill their needs in order for them to enjoy an amazing experience. This high-quality attention to detail and care has helped Lexus achieve a record-breaking year in 2023.

Photos by Ulysses Ang

For the first time in its 15-year history in the Philippines, Lexus has cornered 42 percent of the premium segment. Its 1,843 year-end sales figure is 114 percent higher year-on-year outpacing the growth of the premium segment as a whole, which grew 37 percent last year—all of which underscores Lexus as the most preferred luxury car brand in the country.  

This year, Lexus will continue to build on this position of strength with the market introduction of the Lexus Breakthrough Crossover or LBX in the first quarter of the year.

Serving as a gateway or entry point to Lexus’s range, the LBX is a reimagining of what luxury means, while also catering to the evolving lifestyle requirements of its customers.

At the LBX’s core is the GA-B platform—something it shares the GR Yaris. With a low hip point, it gives drivers a more sedan-like than SUV feel with their legs extended rather than upright. The wheelbase has also been lengthened and the tracks widened to instill it with the Lexus Driving Signature.

These modifications aside, its packaging remains tidy with an overall length of just 4,190 mm and a width of 1,825 mm. Its tight, 5.2 m turning radius and 220 mm ground clearance makes short work of maneuvering in tight confines without worrying about potentially high curbs.

From there, the LBX receives Lexus’s smallest self-charging full hybrid system. The 1.5-liter 3-cylinder alone delivers world-class thermal efficiency, but here, it is backed up by a compact, yet punchy hybrid system. The electric motor delivers 17 percent better output than conventional units of the same size resulting in a peak 136 horsepower. This helps it achieve a 0 to 100 km/h sprint of just 9.2 seconds and a fuel efficiency rating reaching up to 22.72 km/L. Energy is stored in a clever bi-polar nickel metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery. The entire battery pack is all accommodated beneath the rear seats avoiding any loss of cabin or cargo space. Speaking of cargo space, at 402 liters, it can fit two suitcases beneath the tonneau cover.

In terms of design, the LBX is unique among the Lexus range. The most significant aspect is how the spindle grille has been broken up and then reunified to incorporate the slim headlight units and the one-piece chrome molding. The headlights themselves still feature the distinctive L-shape, but inverted to face out rather than inwards. The frameless grille extends to the body and lends it its strong and planted stance. The rear itself is inspired by a surprising source: the Kagami-Mochi rice cakes. A traditional Japanese religious offering during the New Year, these are made of two discs—one small one set on top of a larger one.

Inside, Lexus designers sought to create a minimalist, yet refined interior that mimics the feel of their higher-end models. The principal controls and information sources are positioned immediately around the driver so operation is done with little or no distraction. A new 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, Lexus’s first, is placed in front, while a 9.8-inch touchscreen with an anti-reflective coating serves as the infotainment interface. Smartphone connectivity is done via wired or wireless connection, while the 13-speaker Mark Levinson system delivers an accurate and full-bodied aural experience. Changeable interior lighting—50 colors in 14 groups—further add to the welcoming feel.

With the impending introduction of the LBX, Lexus will no doubt offer a crossover that will challenge the conventional concept of what a luxury car is. Above all, it will continue to offer no compromises in the qualities that have made Lexus so successful in the first place: craftsmanship and omotenashi.

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