Lexus Boss Plans EV Overhaul, Benchmarks Tesla for 2026 Strategy

Lexus, the premium brand of Toyota, is gearing up for a significant transformation as it plans to fully embrace electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035.

Takashi Watanabe, the newly appointed president of Lexus International, announced that the brand will unveil its first concept for next-generation EVs at the upcoming Japan Mobility Show.

Watanabe, who assumed his role in April, stated, “In 2026, we will introduce the next-generation battery EV that re-innovates the vehicle modular structure, significantly alters our production methods and completely re-imagines the software platform.” He made these remarks during a vehicle and technology showcase at Fuji Speedway, reports Automotive News.

The brand aims to offer an electrified option for every vehicle in its lineup by 2030 and transition to an all-electric portfolio by 2035. Lexus is also exploring the development of an all-electric stick shift technology to maintain the driving excitement for future electric vehicles.

Lexus has set an ambitious target to sell 1 million EVs annually by 2030. This represents a significant increase from the brand’s current sales figures; Lexus and Toyota combined sold just under 25,000 EVs worldwide in 2022. As of August this year, Lexus has sold only 2,068 RZ electric crossover vehicles in the U.S.

Watanabe acknowledged the need to learn from competitors like Tesla and China’s BYD to drive down production costs. “We need to make it easier to build and simplify as much as possible,” he said. Lexus plans to adopt new production techniques being developed by Toyota, including self-driving assembly lines and giga-casting methods to reduce component numbers, which is taking a page pioneered by Tesla.

He stated that it is “important to humbly look at and learn from” Tesla’s successes as Lexus rethinks its production methods for electric vehicles.

The brand is also focusing on diversifying its product lineup to meet regional demands. In Europe, Lexus offers the LBX compact crossover, while targeting customers in China and Japan with the LM van. In North America, the focus is on premium performance vehicles like the redesigned GX SUV and the new TX three-row family crossover.

Watanabe concluded, “For the first time on a global scale, we’re bringing unique products to different regions. That’s what’s unique about this time in our brand history.”