2011 was a rough year for Lexus – production shortfalls and an even more competitive marketplace knocked Toyota's luxury brand into third place in the U.S. luxury sales race. But the L-badged brand is looking to make a big return this year with nine new models and hopes for a high-end coupe and a new crossover.
According to Automotive News, Lexus is looking to increase its sales by 21 percent for 2012, to around 240,000 units in the U.S. Helping the brand to make those numbers are – count 'em – nine new products rolling out for 2012: first up are two new rear-wheel drive GS models, the GS 350 and hybrid GS 450h, followed closely by a facelifted LX 570 SUV. Next up is an all-new ES 350 due this spring with a new hybrid variant, as well as new versions of the IS 250 and IS 350 sport sedans. Rounding out the year will be the next-generation LS 460 and LS 600h flagship sedans to do battle with the recently revised flagships from Audi and BMW.
While speaking at the reveal of the 2013 GS 350 during the Pebble Beach Concours last year, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda referenced the fact that Lexus has far to come in order to truly compete in the global market.
Last week at the Detroit auto show, Lexus pulled the wraps off of the LF-LC Concept – a stunning two-seater coupe that could potentially preview a new halo coupe for the brand in the low-$100,000 range; that would also leave room to slot in a coupe around $70,000. Lexus is also looking to move away from its GX and LX truck-based SUVs and to add the long-rumored seven-seat crossover, which dealers and customers alike have been clamoring for. The three-row luxury crossover market has rapidly expanded in the past few years with the addition of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Audi Q7, BMW X5,Acura MDX, Buick Enclave, and Infiniti JX. If Lexus can work the same kind of sales magic it has with the segment-creating RX midsize crossover, it could potentially have another hit on its hands. The RX currently makes up about 45 percent of the brand's sales, says AN.
However, AN reports that Lexus has no plans to expand into markets lower than its CT 200h hatchback. While there is the potential for further CT variants, there will not be a less expensive model.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)