Lexus to Trim the Fat, Bulk Up for Sales Fight

By Jason Davis | January 17, 2012
Despite rough times for millions of Americans, the Great Economic Letdown had the fortunate effect of killing the auto industry just enough for it to acknowledge and address its shortcomings. Dealing with certain inadequacies while planning for pending CAFE legislation, the industry's glorious recovery is borderline legendary status. Consumers now have access to smarter, safer, and more efficient cars built by happy and well-paid union workers. No, this is not the apocalypse. Toyota is still down, and Lexus, too, but maybe not for long. In fact, 2011 was very good for Lexus, the year in which BMW and Mercedes-Benz spanked it to a third-place finish in luxury sales. Moreover, Lexus finally accepted that its vanilla-flavored lineup is insomnia-curing dull. And that's an important first step toward building cars that drivers are passionate about, which Lexus hopes will boost sales 21 percent for 2012 to recapture the luxury lead. To do this, Lexus is launching nine new and revised models for 2012, and outlined a few areas it can adapt to meet its quota of 240,000 vehicles:
  • Sportier, more passionate redesigns arrive with the 2013 GS 350 and GS 450h, as well as ES 350, IS 250 and IS 350, and LS 460 and LS 600h
  • Truck platforms in the large SUV's (LX, GX) will eventually be phased out in order to meet CAFE requirements and changing consumer trends
  • The slow-selling, Corolla-replicant HS might soon be dumped
  • Lexus will not sacrifice brand image to go below its bottom feeding "sport hybrid," the CT
  • This sport coupe could happen sooner than you think, but around $100,000-130,000
  • There is room for another sport coupe to replace the previous SC 430, likely in the sub-$70,000 range's take: We're excited for any company whose public comments translate to "no more boring cars!" As for Lexus, you already know they will be successful, and the brands subpar 2011 performance can mostly be attributed to shortages stemming from the earthquake and tsunami. With a more exciting image and revamped production, look for the less-conservative-but-still-conservative luxo to pace the field in 2012.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)