Toyota has announced a new product and distribution strategy for Japan that introduces the Lexus brand and includes the reorganisation of Toyota-brand sales channels into four channels from the current five.

Toyota said that the new product and distribution strategy is aimed at allowing Toyota to adequately respond to future changes in consumer values and in the structure of Japan’s highly competitive automobile market.

Specifically, the elements of the new strategy are:

1. the establishment in Japan of the Lexus brand-apart from the Toyota brand-as a “global premium brand for the 21st century”;

2. the merging of the NETZ and Vista sales channels to form a new Netz channel capable of addressing the needs of what Toyota calls the growing segment of “new value” consumers, while keeping in mind the needs of current customers;

3. the reinforcement of the identities of the Toyota, Toyopet and Corolla sales channels and a review of their product line-ups.

Toyota cited a number of factors affecting the Japanese market that are bringing change at a pace greater than that in any other industrially developed nation. These included low birthrate and a rapidly aging society.

Under its new product and distribution strategy, Toyota said it plans to put full effort into creating a global premium brand by introducing the Lexus brand to Japan. The company said that it is restructuring its domestic sales network, such as through establishing a new Netz channel and other measures, to give it a ‘more future-looking stance’.