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Lexus Will Not Build Vehicles In China

(Credit: Toyota)

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Lexus Will Not Build Vehicles In China

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (Credit: Toyota)

It seems that just about every automaker out there already has or shortly will have at least one factory in China, but don’t expect Lexus to follow the crowd. Despite super-high tariffs that are levied against foreign-built vehicles, the Japanese luxury brand has some serious concerns about quality control in the Middle Kingdom, something rivals like Volvo don’t share.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Lexus executives feel that it could easily be a couple of decades or so before Chinese auto workers can meet the brand’s strict manufacturing standards. Supposedly it’s all about the fledgling nature of the country’s auto industry and has absolutely nothing to do with the rivalry between China and Japan.

Also mentioned as a cause was the fact that Lexus has no real presence in the Chinese automotive market right now. Most consumers in the second-largest global car market aren’t aware of what Lexus is all about, and so they aren’t willing to pay a premium for its products.

Likely also at play is Lexus worrying that its customers in the United States won’t trust vehicles that have been assembled in China. After all, a number of people have expressed serious concerns about the S60 Inscriptions Volvo is importing from the Asian country, fearing that they won’t sell well in this market. Many of the same people have no qualms about paying several hundred dollars for a smartphone made in China, but they cost significantly less and don’t pose as big of a safety risk.

Not too long ago, consumers had serious doubts about the quality of vehicles made in Korea, and even about American-made vehicles produced by automakers with headquarters in Korea. Further back in history, people used to view Japanese-made cars as far inferior to those manufactured in the United States, an attitude that seems silly to plenty of consumers today.

As they always do, eventually attitudes will shift if Chinese manufacturers deliver enough quality products. That’s probably what Lexus is waiting to see happen, because the brand has a stellar reputation for build quality and reliability that it doesn’t want to put at risk just to save a few bucks.

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