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Lexus will finally open dealerships in Mexico in 2021, report says

Despite being a major presence in the US auto market for the last 30 years, Lexus has never officially sold cars in Mexico, but that's going to change.

2019 Lexus ES 300h
Lexus ES300h will be one of the first models offered for sale in the new-to-Lexus Mexican market.
Manuel Carrillo III/Roadshow

Lexus has been a brand now for just shy of 30 years, with most of its efforts focused on the US. That makes it easy to forget that despite being geographically so close, Mexico has never gotten cars from Toyota's luxury brand -- but according to a report published Monday by Automotive News, that's changing.

Specifically, Lexus plans to open five new dealerships in three markets in Mexico starting in the third quarter of 2021. Those stores will be located in the Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara metropolitan areas.

Why did Lexus wait so long to send its sweet Japanese luxury south of the border? Well, the fact is that Mexico -- compared with the US or Europe or Japan -- has a relatively small market for luxury cars. Lexus evidently felt that the effort of getting its vehicles certified for sale there wasn't worth the expense.

Now, though, as Mexico starts to experience rising gas prices, Lexus' fairly extensive range of fuel-sipping hybrid vehicles is looking pretty appealing to buyers there. Couple that with a gross domestic product per capita that's on the rise and all of a sudden it seems Lexus isn't willing to keep losing those customers transitioning from Toyotas to luxury brands.

Lexus reportedly will bring the LS 500 and the ES Hybrid as well LX, RX, NX and UX SUV and crossover models. Most of the models, at least initially, will be hybrids.

Lexus didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.