Stodgy luxury standby Lexus is trying to trade up to the hot "prestige luxury" market with a new line of $70,000 and up automobiles. Along with the new models comes a massive rebranding effort that aims, says a marketing manager, to get "Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and Lexus all mentioned in the same breath."
To pull off the image shift, the company interviewed 100 upper-crust car owners, who gave Lexus low marks on exclusivity and style. So the company, once known for its low-key wine and cheese launches, is throwing blow-out bashes to celebrate its new lines, and developing a high-performance hybrid and a 500-horsepower sports car to complement its staple sedans. (Read more ultra rich stories.)