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Okay, that headline’s only a tad disingenuous — Lexus is aware of precisely the way to choose up new prospects, and that’s by providing crossovers, crossovers, crossovers. Longer crossovers. Smaller crossovers. Extra seats and fewer seats.

Nonetheless, as a lot as an ever-expanding roster of utility automobiles can sway patrons to a model, visibility counts for one thing. And a starring position in a possible blockbuster movie isn’t one thing any automaker would go up. Such is the case with Black Panther, a superhero film for superhero-loving nerds, which Lexus feels is the proper automobile for pumping up a bit model recognition.

Lexus, you see, needs to be again on high.

Entrance and heart within the upcoming flick is a Lexus LC 500, a dramatically styled 2+2 sports activities coupe that retails for over 90 grand. Lexus hopes the added publicity helps return it to the highest of the U.S. luxurious gross sales charts.

As somebody who by no means ventures anyplace close to superhero motion pictures (I favor Group America to Captain America), the internets inform me the Marvel Comics-derived Black Panther encompasses a mega-wealthy African king as its essential character — making it the primary “main” superhero film with a black actor within the lead position. Sorry, Wesley Snipes. The casting is essential for Lexus, as it might’t regain its gross sales chief standing with out new blood.

“We’re going after a youthful buyer, and simply from a demographic standpoint, the youthful you go, the extra culturally numerous the inhabitants will get,” Cooper Ericksen, Lexus’s vp of selling, advised Bloomberg finally week on the Detroit auto present. “The duty to hit our gross sales plan actually comes from bringing a variety of new prospects into the model.”

2018 Lexus LC500 rear - Image: Lexus

As predominately white Child Boomers age and retire, the shopping for energy shifts in direction of a youthful demographic containing extra blacks, Asians, and Hispanics. New automobile spending is up among the many latter group, down amongst whites. For automakers, it’s a case of know your market or threat being forgotten.

With a buyer base that’s already one-third non-white, Lexus isn’t precisely an unknown model to any demographic. Nonetheless, as Ericksen identified, its essential concern just isn’t race, however age. Via Walton Isaacson, Lexus’ black and Hispanic-targeting advertising and marketing company, the model sought out a film tie-in assured to lure in patrons of their 20s and 30s.

There’s all the time the possibility a film can bomb on the field workplace, however Marvel Studios productions thus far look like a license to print cash.

Black Panther, performed by actor Chadwick Boseman, may also make an look in a Lexus advert set to air in the course of the Tremendous Bowl — this one that includes the redesigned-for-2018 LS sedan. By buying the priciest time slot on TV, Lexus hopes to divert minds away from the ES 350s parked exterior legion branches throughout America. It’s some huge cash, however Nissan’s Star Wars funding (for instance) wasn’t precisely a bust. Keep in mind what Tornado did for the Dodge Ram?

The final time Lexus held the primary spot amongst premium manufacturers within the U.S. was 2010. Since then, a surging BMW and Mercedes-Benz have despatched it tumbling to 3rd place, and the model’s gross sales peak got here and went in 2015. Quantity for 2017 fell 12.three % beneath that top water mark.

[Image: Lexus]

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