Next Generation Lexus GX to Become Crossover CUV?


Lexus GX 460

Lexus is considering moving the next-generation GX to unibody car platform and away from its truck body-on-frame underpinnings, Lexus general manager Mark Templin told Wards Auto:

“There is a potential that at some point, when we replace the GX, we can have a car-based SUV,” Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager for Lexus in the U.S., says here during a recent ’13 ES 350 media event.

Lexus has been debating for years a 3-row, unibody, cross/utility vehicle, Templin notes. But the success of the 3-row, body-on-frame GX SUV tempered that talk, he says.

“We were so successful with the GX, nobody wanted to lose the GX.”

It’s not that the GX has no place in the Lexus lineup, but rather that it occupies a position better suited to a different vehicle — there are exceptions to the rule, of course, but the majority of GX buyers have no intention of taking their $50k+ SUV offroading, and would likely be happy to trade that functionality for improved fuel economy and ride comfort.

Something that has always stood in the way of a seven-seat unibody crossover is the RX — a fact that Mark Templin confirms:

“The RX kind of covers a big swath of the marketplace,” Templin says. “We compete with a lot of those smaller CUVs on price point, so we look like a really good value.”

Templin contends the RX also has appealed to those who may shop bigger, 3-row competitors but “don’t necessarily have to have a third-row seat.”

This is a strategy that has made sense for years, but it’s now impossible to ignore the success of 3-row CUVs from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and now Infiniti with their new JX — adding a model to compete against these vehicles may draw customers away from the RX, but at least they would be staying in the Lexus family.

(This is not a move without precedent — the Ford Explorer went through a similar transformation with its current model.)

[Source: Wards Auto]

Comments


  • http://www.facebook.com/RDS.Alphard Yong Thian Ding

    Left the Lexus GX back to Toyota (which is the Land Cruiser Prado) , Lexus should have a nice GX with monocoque body , look on Mitsubishi Pajero , with monocoque body but still maintain a nice looking shape (unlike some other competitor looks like a sedan being extended on height … in short , it’s ugly) .

  • BlackDynamiteNY

    Lexus should have gone down this road with this generation
    By 2015, Lexus WILL HAVE a smaller-than-RX crossover, and larger-than-RX crossover.

    The Mercedes GL’s success is what will move them onto the righteous path.
    The GL sells twice what the GX sells, and is more expensive…..
    BD

  • Jay

    It’s unfortunate that Lexus didn’t do more to differentiate the GX from the Prado Landcruiser. Having said that, the GX fills a nice niche in the Lexus lineup. It’s for people who love the LX but wanted something a little more affordable. Lexus should see the GX in to its 3rd generation, but style it with genuine L-Finesse styling cues.

    As for the 3 row crossover, the segment is already very crowded so Lexus needs to offer something truly unique or a class first. I think the new Infiniti JX is a solid choice, but nothing spectacular. A loaded Highlander, Explorer, CX-9, Pilot, etc can offer similar performance and features for substantially less money.

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    Although it’s not a luxury vehicle, I really think the Ford Explorer is a great example of converting to a crossover — it doesn’t have that soft car look that seems to be the standard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RDS.Alphard Yong Thian Ding

    I’ve to agree about the Ford Explorer did looks very good , still looks like a body-on-frame vehicle , unlike some other competitor made their SUV looks like a Sedan have a high body .

  • http://www.facebook.com/RDS.Alphard Yong Thian Ding

    Lexus still can build GX on Prado , because remember Prado on many other market is competitor of something like Pajero & such … and those car were slowly turn into monocoque body car .

  • Ninjapow5

    dont lose it bad choice if you do

  • Ananomuss

    TOYOTA revealed the next Gen Highlander and the minute I saw it, I knew Lexus was going to put the Gx on a unibody structure.

  • Lolrax

    Just put a V8 and some more premium finishings in the 4Runner and they can kill the GX

  • Carmaker1

    Excellent idea, as I thought of that too. The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 should be discontinued in the U.S. and replaced by a more affordable LC180 Prado for MY2017. The GX should be entirely re-engineered as a large crossover in 2016. Like the Patrol-QX, the redesigned LX (J300) can remain in the U.S. market and LC300 sold outside of NA..

  • Yong Thian Ding

    LC200 are available in US via Toyota badge ? I thought US only get the rebadge version aka LX570 ?

  • Carmaker1

    Nope, we’ve gotten the Toyota LC80, LC100, and LC200 4.5L I6, 4.7L & 5.7LV8 alongside the LX450, LX470, and LX570. Here it’s just called the Land Cruiser, since there’s no Prado present. It sells less than the Lexus version, so they might as well keep the Lexus version in the U.S. and then replace the LC200 with the LC180 redesign in 2016.

  • Yong Thian Ding

    Oh wow , I just checked Toyota’s site & confirm that ! I never know they’re LC available in the US , I always thought LC is only available in Asia , Australia & Middle East .

    Asia market get 4.6-liter V8 like the LS460 on the LC200 .

  • Carmaker1

    Thanks, I had forgotten about that, as I was there testing the pricing differences between the domestic market Land Cruiser 200 and Prado, versus the Lexus GX460 and Toyota Land Cruiser (U.S.). The Land Cruiser 200 is very cheap in Japan.