A business, especially a luxury-car business, should stand for something more than just best practices and profit taking. A great car company needs its own animating idea, expressed through the entire product line—a spirit that holds the enterprise together. Even the BMW X6 has a little 2002 in it.
Such robust longevity requires a clear heading. But Lexus’s compass is being driven berserk by the magnetism of other people’s concepts. The very principle that made Lexus a household name now looks, to me, like its undoing.
If Lexus wants to keep that No. 1 spot, beating back BMW and Infiniti and Audi and Hyundai and whatever else gets in line, it needs more RXs and fewer LFAs. It better stop trying to be all things to all people. It better figure out what it wants to be.
You might find temporary success by following, copying, chasing other products. But for long term success, you need to define your own products and company vision. Product research can only go so far.
We deal with this everyday at Posterous. We’ve never been ones to do what other companies are doing. Or, sometimes, even to do what our users think they want. We know what our vision for Posterous is, and we follow that 100%.
BMW and Apple do this very well. Sometimes you might disgree with particular choices, but they are following their corporate vision consistently.
Who knew you could get product advice from Car and Driver? 🙂