In a bid to reinvigorate its stifling image, Toyota Lexus is transforming its traditional car dealerships into retail stores that offer a “luxury-brand experience space.”
Titled INTERSECT BY LEXUS, the new stores are set to include cafes, luxury retail items and exhibition space that will allow customers to experience the Lexus brand in a fuller fashion.
Renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall Inc. has been commissioned to design the stores, which aim to attract a much younger audience and reduce the automotive brand's conservative image.
In a video for the project, Katayama described the design.
"My concept for INTERSECT BY LEXUS wasn't something just about Lexus but more a kind of 'clubhouse' where Lexus owners could gather, socialise, work or just come to hang out," he said. "I imagined a diverse space that could be used in different ways."
The first INTERSECT BY LEXUS has opened in Tokyo and is split over two levels. The first floor houses a café in a space called Garage, which serves worldly coffee in a car-cultured lifestyle space.
The second floor will feature a Lexus store with a collection of luxury lifestyle items including clothes and handbags tied to the brand, and a library lounge which will serve Tokyo-themed food food. That lounge can easily be converted to a space to host Lexus themed music, food and fashion events.
The design exudes opulence through delicate lighting, polished floors, gallery inspired spaces and walls lined with automotive products for the car care enthusiast. Even the front facade of the building - which appears to be wood - is actually bamboo, designed to echo the material used in Lexus cars.
“This is about showing people the personality of the Lexus brand, and showing a more emotional part of Lexus,” said Lexus International executive vice president Mark Templin during a preview tour. "INTERSECT BY LEXUS seeks to be a comfortable and inspiring space for interaction among people and between people and cars.”
Lexus Australia has said it will not be establishing INTERSECT stores in the country but will adopt elements from the concept for the Australian market, including the Lexus marquee in the “Birdcage” at this year’s Melbourne Cup event.
Lexus also hope the store transformations will help the brand regain market share in the US, where it has fallen behind Mercedes-Benz and BMW in sales for the past two years.