SiriusXM’s ‘Auto Trends’ Talks to the Black History Maker Steering the Lexus Brand: Dejuan Ross

Written by on May 7, 2024

Dejuan Ross, Lexus GX
Dejuan Ross, who is posing with the all-new GX, is group vice president and general manager of the Lexus brand. (Photo Credit: Toyota)

*When the Lexus brand was birthed by Toyota in 1989, our guest Dejuan Ross, was still in high school. Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and BMW were the luxury elites at the time.

Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti were also launching their luxury nameplates. This was an opportunity for Toyota, Honda, and Nissan to move their brands upmarket with the hopes of rivaling the American and European legacy.

Decades later, Lexus has done just that. It has pulled ahead of both Acura and Infiniti, who both currently lag behind a flagship coupe and sedan in their portfolio.

As both Acura and Infiniti have somewhat struggled to find their identities throughout the years, Lexus has firmly distanced itself from its Japanese and Detroit competitors, creating a full luxury line to rival the Germans – Mercedes-Benz and BMW – as well as, at times, lead the entire luxury pack in terms of overall new vehicle sales.

Lexus has also laid its stake in dependability, scoring above average on both JD Power’s and Consumer Reports’ quality studies. Lexus is one of the top three luxury brands too with the Black community, when based on new vehicle registrations.

Lexus RZ, all electric vehicle
The Lexus RZ is currently the brand’s only all-electric vehicle. The Lexus logo on the grille illuminates at night when the vehicle is charging. (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Black History And Luxury Automakers

This week on Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, we talk one-on-one with Ross, who became the first Black person to receive the keys to ‘drive’ the luxury brand during the summer of 2022.

Infiniti currently has its second Black man leading the brand, while Genesis launched globally and in the U.S. with two Black men leading their brands. Outside of these four, no other major luxury automotive brand has had Blacks at the helm. And as of now, Black women have yet to be handed the steering wheel to a luxury brand, or for that matter a non-luxury brand, in the U.S, although they slightly outpace Black men in new vehicle registrations, when based on traditional households, according to S & P Global Mobility registration data.

As Lexus general manager and group vice president, Ross oversees the luxury automaker’s largest sales region globally. He’s responsible, along with his four regional field offices, for providing dealer support and cars to 244 Lexus dealerships in the U.S.

So far, under Ross’ leadership, the brand just reported its best-ever first quarter, with 78,841 vehicles sold. To put this in perspective, BMW and Mercedes-Benz finished the first quarter racking up 84,466 and 66,570 sales, respectively. Will Ross lead the brand to the number one spot in the luxury sales race by year’s end? We’ll have to wait and see.

During our conversation, the automotive veteran shares why he opted to kick start his corporate automotive career in California, as opposed to the car company he interned with while a student at Howard University.

We also focus in on and address rumors about future product plans to move the brand into the ultra-luxury lane. Added to that, we’ll tackle why Lexus is running far behind its luxury competitors in offering fully electric vehicles, as even new makes, such as Genesis have three vehicles available for consumers to purchase. Currently, Lexus only has one all-electric vehicle in its lineup, the RZ, which shares a platform with Toyota and Subaru.

Ironically, the Lexus UX is the brand’s entry-level vehicle. At a starting price just shy of $37,000, the subcompact UX hybrid is supposed to be the most affordable vehicle in the brand’s lineup. Conversely, as a matter of pure economics, that’s just not the case. From our radio conversation, listeners will be surprised to learn which pricier vehicle in the Lexus lineup could be more affordable, when incentives are applied.

Airs On SiriusXM And Free On Other Radio Outlets

SiirusXM Banner- Lexus' Dejuan Ross

To Tune In 

To hear the conversation, tune in to Auto Trends with JeffCars.com on Saturday, May 4 thru Thursday, May 9. The program will air on SiriusXM 141 and on several FM radio outlets. To access the schedule, click here.

About JeffCars.com And Auto Trends with JeffCars.com

Jeff Fortson is the host and executive producer of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only multicultural syndicated automotive program airing throughout the U.S. and Canada. The 30-minute weekly show, which is in its eighth season, airs on SiriusXM 141 and several FM radio dials. The program consists of in-depth one-on-one conversations with many of today’s industry pioneers and influencers.

For upcoming shows, car reviews, car-buying tips, recall updates, and a car payment calculator, visit his car-buying educational guide JeffCars.com. Follow him on X/Twitter @ JeffCars.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB.COM: The Future of the Auto Industry Will Have An Outsized Impact on Black America | PicsVIDEOs

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