Actor James Sloyan
is out as the only ad voice-over for Toyota's Lexus brand. The lux marque, which used the deep-voiced wonder since its arrival in 1989, has switched to actor James Remar
, maybe most known for his role as Kim Cattrall's bad-boy, rich boyfriend on HBO's "Sex and the City." A Lexus spokeswoman said the marketer wanted a voiceover that "could appeal to a broad audience that can encapsulate our brand as it moves forward." Lexus "did a lot of research" and found that Remar's pipes filled the bill, she said. Several auto pundits are aghast, criticizing the automaker and its shop, Team One
, for discarding the strong brand equity Sloyan brought to its ads. Two of those experts said the rationale was Sloyan portrayed "old luxury," which has been under attack from aggressive competitor Audi. On a Lexus owners' site, clublexus.com
, all but a few of the 15 respondents said they liked Sloyan in the ads.