PARIS – Lexus will forego voice control and touchscreen technology in the new basic version of its in-car infotainment system, a senior European official said Friday.
In an interview withÂ automotiveIT at the auto show here, Leonardo Carluccio, senior brand manager for Lexus Europe, said Lexus will offer voice recognition as an option on higher-spec versions of its infotainment system. But “we’re dropping voice recognition as standard,” he said.
The Lexus move goes counter to most other carmakers, which are betting heavily that voice control will be one of the preferred options to control a growing amount of in-car functions.
Carluccio said Lexus will start offering upgraded infotainment in Europe in June, 2013. The system, which will rely on smartphones that connect through the Mirrorlink standard, Â will feature a bigger screen, improved connectivity and various connected services, including Google searching and various other Apps.
All Lexus models will have monitors that are at least 7 inches in diameter, Carluccio said.
A major upgrade will come in 2015, when new Lexus models will feature a totally new infotainment system with a range of new connected features and improved flexibility to add various features if and when desired.
Carluccio said Lexus, the premium brand of the Toyota group, doesn’t consider multimedia applications a decisive factor in the buying decision. “But clearly they are relevant,” he said, adding that the absence of state-of-the-art infotainment could be a reason not to buy.
The Lexus Europe executive said the brand will continue its strategy of offering more than its competitors in the basic versions of its models. Carluccio said Bluetooth USB connectivity to user devices will continue to be offered in the standard version of a Lexus.