What The F?

BY Joel Tam

We sit down with Kirk Edmondson, General Manager - Brand Management for Lexus Asia Pacific Division, and chat about what Lexus is doing with their F-SPORT range.

Photos: Lexus Singapore

With 25 years of involvement with the Lexus brand, Kirk Edmondson is the man to talk to if you have any questions about the marque. With a background of portfolios that covered continents like the USA and Europe, Kirk brings with him a vast experience as he begins his work here in asia.This morning though, we're at the Four Seasons Hotel for a cozy breakfast chat with the man, to talk about where Lexus is heading with the 'sporty' segment of their brand.

He began by sharing with us how Lexus Chief Engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi, who developed the IS-F, is such a passionate enthusiast that he can't stop improving the IS-F. Right from the time he started developing the IS-F by gathering the best from every department and combining it into one car, he's been tweaking it to make it better. He also hinted that is this passion that is setting some plans in motion for a possible GS-F.

This passion and drive was also the reason for change. "Everyone back in Japan knew that Lexus was becoming an 'old man's' car, and they wanted to change that." revealed Kirk.


The "F" badge is a result of that shift in branding. "When the IS-F was launched, I had a button that read "What the F?" Kirk laughed. "That said it all, because for once, people were seeing a side of Lexus they never knew existed," said Kirk. Admittedly, the F-SPORT image is full of aggression, from the huge intake vents, to the sporty new spindle grille, the face of Lexus is definitely changing. But where does it stand in a sea of competition?

When asked about the maturity of the F-SPORT brand, Kirk admits that F-SPORT is still young. Other more established brands like BMW's M have a longer history of products, and a rich heritage in racing and motorsports. "It will take us sometime to get there. We need to see more products in our line-up, and more cars on the road, before the public starts to take better notice of us." he added.

"One of the things that all of us at Lexus want to do is get more involve with motorsports", Kirk tells us. Motorsports has long been a rather effective way to test of a company's technology and product development. It also offers a far more appealing way to promote a brand. "That's something that we're looking into in the near future, Kirk concluded.