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Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 16, 2006
Will a branded mobile phone help Lexus ring up more sales in Japan? According to reports in the Japanese media, Toyota is working with telephone company KDDI to produce a Lexus-branded phone for sale in its home market. Today’s Nihon Keizai newspaper reports that Toyota and AU, KDDI’s mobile unit, will start selling a handset exclusively at Lexus dealerships by the end of the year. Details are sketchy but the paper says the phones will use Bluetooth tech to help connect to Toyota’s “G-Link” car information system. If the reports are correct, the move is another small attempt to bolster the image of Lexus in Japan. After the marque’s launch last year sales disappointed. One reason was that the initial line-up didn’t include the top-of-the-range LS, which launched last month. Another, though, remains the strength of Mercedes and BMW in Japan, both of which have upped sales this years by launching new models but, so far at least, no branded cell phones.
BusinessWeek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Eye on Asia’s bloggers include Asia regional editor Bruce Einhorn, Tokyo reporter Ian Rowley, Korea bureau chief Moon Ihlwan, Asia News Editor and China Bureau Chief. Dexter Roberts, and Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent Frederik Balfour.