It seems that Lexus is viewed very differently around the world. North America loves it, everywhere else not an enamoured. On the other hand, other luxury marques are viewed in a more consistent light ie. popular everywhere. In the US, it is ‘the’ luxury car in its segment. From 2001-06 it sales went as follows (000): 225, 235, 260, 290, 300, 320. Impressive. Whereas in the EU (000): 17, 21, 20, 19, 20, 21, 37.
That is a massive difference. While 2006 got a lot better for Lexus in the EU, it will struggle to do much better in 2007. Even in Japan, it only sold 30,000 in 2006, compared with BMW and Benz doing nearly 50,000 each.
So the US loves Lexus while most others prefer Euro luxury. Lexus is bland, conservative, and reliable. Euro cars are a better drive. Also, while most are affected by the longer history associated with things European, Americans are quick to embrace something new. Plus they don’t feel the need to have the ultimate driving machine.