The Lexus LS range is not the last word in luxury for the Toyota Motor Corporation - that honour befalls the recently-launched flagship Crown Majesta, with which the company hopes to boost sales in a gradually-strengthening Japanese economy.

The Lexus LS range is not the last word in luxury for the Toyota Motor Corporation - that honour befalls the recently-launched flagship Crown Majesta, with which the company hopes to boost sales in a gradually-strengthening Japanese economy.


Japan’s biggest vehicle manufacturer this week said it expects the Crown Majesta to do well as consumer confidence recovers from a decade of stagnation. TMC will also introduce the increasingly sporty Lexus brand in its home market in the near future.


"In the near term, the Japanese economy is expected to continue its gradual recovery and restructuring and innovation in the past decade should prove to be worthwhile in the coming decade," said Toyota chief executive Fujio Cho.


Toyota said the Majesta was targeted at corporate clients and motorists in their 50s and 60s at a time when declining sales of saloons appeared to be coming to an end in Japan.


The vehicle, fitted with a 4,3-litre V8 engine, has a newly- developed air suspension, radar-actuated cruise control and lane-keeping assist systems.


The company said the Majesta would only be released for sale in Japan at this stage, but added it was also seeking a revenue boost from sales of other vehicles in the key US market this year (Toyota sold 1,87 million cars in the United States in 2003).


Toyota has set 1,76 million units as its 2004 target for domestic sales, excluding those of mini-vehicles, against 4,1 million units, an estimated total sale by all carmakers in Japan.


Meanwhile, Toyota is also planning an all-new super-luxury car in the ilk of the Maybach 57 and 62 and the Rolls Royce Phantom. The super limo will use much of the technology that underpins Toyota's Century, a little-known limousine used by Japan's royal family as well as several of the country's politicians.


Inside, the new limo is set to build on the considerable level of luxury developed for the likes of the LS430. While Maybach and Rolls-Royce have chosen to go retro, Toyota will aim to push its vision of futuristic opulence. That means the car will be among the quietest on the road and, theoretically, offer a host of state-of-the-art electronic gadgets.


But if Toyota’s engineers wanted to study some of the features of the Maybach, they would have to rent (or borrow) one. Sources say Toyota engineers wanted to examine a Maybach - but Toyota bosses refused to cough up the R4 million it would have cost to import one to Japan.

Original article from Car