Lexus will open its first "luxury brand experience space" at the end of the month, expanding the Japanese marque into the world of retail.
Dubbed 'Intersect by Lexus', the first store, which will be located in Tokyo's trendy Aoyama district in Japan, is to designed to help people experience the essence of the Lexus brand. This is despite the retail spaces not actually selling the car maker’s vehicles.
Described by the brand as “neither a dealership nor a traditional retail space”, Intersect by Lexus is designed to be a place where “guests will be able to engage with Lexus through design, art, fashion, culture, film, music and technology”.
The concept store’s first floor will host a cafe and garage catering to motoring enthusiasts, with a second level being the site of a ‘Crafted for Lexus’ store, “featuring a collection of lifestyle items produced by artisan craftsmen and designers”.
Although this may all sound like a rather cynical marketing exercise, it is not Lexus’ first brand extension, and it is not the first to push into non-automotive territories.
Mercedes-Benz has designed items ranging from helicopters to furniture over the years. Most recently, it unveiled the Silver Arrow of the Seas concept yacht, with the intention of transferring “Mercedes-Benz’s unmistakable, progressive design idiom and high standards of luxury to other spheres of life”.
Porsche has its Porsche Design subsidiary, which also focuses on designing lifestyle products. It has even gone so far as to market its products to children, with a Stuttgart-engineered Go-Kart.
Yet it is perhaps the Italians who have extended their brands with the most success. Ferrari is famous for peddling prancing-horse adorned merchandise, from caps to cologne, and Lamborghini has an entire series of clothing- and accessory-focused merchandise stores, most commonly found in airports around the world.
Indeed, Ferrari has been so successful at marketing that earlier this year it was deemed the world’s most powerful brand, even ahead of fanatic-attracting brands like Apple.