Lexus is trying to create some new buzz in the entry-level luxury car segment. By 2010, 11% of all American households will have total annual incomes exceeding $100,000, says Denny Clements, Lexus group vice president and general manager.

So the Japan-based carmaker has made certain it has twice the market share opportunities as competitors. Lexus offers the IS 300 sport sedan and the ES 300, both restyled to attract buyers. The '02 ES features repositioned “three-pod” headlamps with chrome extensions. The new ES 300 goes on sale Oct. 1 with 14,000 units scheduled for production this year en route to a full-year run of 50,000 in 2002. It will be built in Japan at Lexus plants in Kyushu and Tsutsumi. Sources say expect pricing in the low $30,000 range.