What’s Next for Lexus?


Lexus IS Family Group Shot

According to a Drive interview with IS chief engineer Junichi Furuyama, Lexus continues to weigh their options regarding their next vehicle:

“There are many jobs for us, many shopping lists for the new development of vehicles,” says Furuyama-san. “So, how to manage the priorities of the new vehicles: coupe, we need a coupe; wagon, is a strong request in Europe; and a bigger SUV is a strong request from the US. There are many requests from the global [market].”

“Of course, US say ‘oh, the bigger SUV is number one’, and Europe says ‘no, no, no – we don’t need a bigger SUV, we need a wagon or small SUV’; so we have to manage many requests from global, and make a decision which model is the first priority and which model is the most efficient,” he says.

It seems likely that Furuyama-san is recounting a very old argument, as plans to reveal a compact crossover concept at the Tokyo Motor Show were announced earlier this year. However, it’s interesting to see more emphasis on a larger SUV and an IS wagon — the larger SUV was hinted at by Lexus USA’s VP of marketing Brian Smith in a Ward’s Auto interview this past April, and an IS wagon was dismissed by former Lexus International VP Kazuo Ohara in January.

There are a couple other interesting passages in the Furuyama-san interview, including this quote on expanding the IS family even further:

Furuyama-san says in an “ideal” situation, the brand would be able to offer a number of IS variants.

“That is the ideal. I want to have all variants – like BMW, or Audi, or Mercedes-Benz – they all have sedan, wagon, coupe, convertible and also the Gran Turismo,” he says referring the the 3-Series lineup’s latest addition. “I can’t believe why they can produce such kind of many variants. We don’t have such resources.”

Furuyama-san also discusses the possibility of a next-generation IS F:

“I understand that IS-F model for the Lexus is very important. I will carefully investigate how to create the next F model,” he says, but he wouldn’t be drawn to comment on timing for the new performance hero model.

“I cannot say exactly when right now. At least I can say right now that the current IS-F [will] continue to sell for a while. But in future, I don’t know.”

The reluctance to discuss a next-generation IS F does give some credence to the idea that the high-performance sedan will be cancelled.

However, with a mid-size coupe based on the LF-CC all-but-guaranteed, and with Lexus registering both RC 350 & RC F trademarks, a super-coupe could be in line to replace the IS F in the Lexus lineup. Interesting times, to be sure.

Read the full interview with Junichi Furuyama

Comments


  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    The ISF may become the RCF, which is fine.
    If the RCF takes off, the ISF may come back.
    BD

  • DillonD

    I’m confused on the larger SUV part. The LX is already pretty large. I wonder if they want a new model that’s even bigger that will compete more with the Escalade ESV or make the LX grow or even do like the Escalade and have the regular Escalade and the ESV.

  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    They need something to replace the GX, and really compete with the Mercedes GL

    They dropped the ball, not making the HPX Concept 10 years ago, and now they see that, and are working on what to do about it. The GX has been a failure.
    BD

  • AstonMartin

    The HPX still looks nearly as fresh now as it did 10 years ago.and for the matter the LF-XH SUV concept was also handsome. The LX is a bloated (yet luxurious whale) and the GX was a complete fail. Based on the Land Cruiser, the brand and its capabilities are/was as regarded as Land Rover in the outbacks and Toyota should be making SUV’s that go toe-to-toe with Land Rover on every level. As large as Toyota corporate is, I fail to imagine why they don’t have the resource to compete with the niche luxury players. Lexus must take responsibility for poor product planning over the past decade. They must begin to aim for where the market is going and not where it is. Tge ability tot produce IS variants that compete against the 3 series on every level should have been planned years ago. In an ideal world, a new ISF/RCF Sedan and Coupe should be being teased now in the media if Lexus is serious about bringing sporty cars to the market. Where is the COMPLETELY new LS and SC? – far too many stop gaps. Love the brand, tired of the excuses for poor planning and foresight. Toyota/Lexus has too many talented people to continue to drop the ball. That interview was full of “they can, we can’t” and “I don’t know’s” – essentially some BS.

  • Twan

    I agree Lexus needs to step up to the plate. They claim they don’t have the resources to make variants well they need to create them. The Germans have so many options/variants for every model. Lexus has a delay with everything. Now its talks about dropping the ISF….thats not a good move they need F-series not just F Sport. leave that to Toyota. Lexus great car but im not sure whats lacking behind the scenes.

  • Carmaker1

    BTW The LF-Xh was the concept that previewed AL10 RX (Nov. 2008-Q4 2014/Q1 2015). The AL10 RX was designed around the end of 2006 and signed off for production in early 2007. Both AL10 and LF-Xh exterior designs were patented on the same day, October 9, 2007. During late 2006 and September 2007, Lexus further developed the LF-Xh Concept to publicly preview the 2010 RX at Tokyo 2007.

    NOTE: These patent photos below are all from 2007, so that
    you have an idea how early Lexus finishes their future models. The next RX design for MY2016 is already frozen and will be photographed for patents like these by late 2013.

  • Carmaker1

    BTW The LF-Xh was the concept that previewed AL10 RX (Nov. 2008-Q4 2014/Q1 2015). The AL10 RX was designed around the end of 2006 and signed off for production in early 2007. Both AL10 and LF-Xh exterior designs were patented on the same day, October 9, 2007. During late 2006 and September 2007, Lexus further developed the LF-Xh Concept to publicly preview the 2010 RX at Tokyo 2007.

    NOTE: These patent photos below are all from 2007, so that
    you have an idea how early Lexus finishes their future models. The next RX design for MY2016 is already frozen and will be photographed for patents like these by late 2013.

  • Dunraven77

    I understand the upcoming plans are CT facelift March 14, NX June 14, RC late 14 and “ultimate sports car” which I assume to be production LFLC in 2015.

    RX should also be due in 15 on a 6 year cycle.

    There has also been a lot of talk of a larger SUV which will replace GX no idea on timing for this.

    The next two years should be very good for everybody involved at Lexus.

  • Carmaker1

    Please delete this krew, as for some stupid reason Disqus logged me out and posted this as Guest.

  • Carmaker1

    Thank you! Lexus has been product planning has been poorly mismanaged by executives about a decade. Too much contentment, resting on the laurels, and poor foresight has resulted in the product portfolio falling behind.

    After initial product launch, Lexus continually fails to significantly update models for the MMC to justify consumers trading in their current vehicles.

    The SC replacement should’ve been in early development from circa 2006-07 and had a design to engineer by 2009-10 for a 2011-12 introduction. Or if not, that preliminary work should have started on one by 2009-10, with a design to engineer by 2011-12, and intro in 2013-14.

    The XF50 or USF50 5LS, should’ve entered development in 2008, so it’s very certain that Lexus experienced a hiccup in 2010-2011, as that is when considerations for the MY2013 LS facelift were made. Not sure why 6-7 years of development are needed though in this day and age for a company well known for short development-to-production lead-times.

    The IS (XE30) likely went into development circa 2008 and ended in late 2012, barring pilot production. Midway through that (2010) other variants should been entering development or at least considered, requiring 18-30 more months of work after the IS sedan design freeze in 2011. Audi & BMW already proposed planned variants circa 2010-11, so Lexus has no reason for the significantly unaware of that.

    The Lexus GX should be replaced by a larger RX or VX crossover(AL21?), which it will likely be as the final RX designs have frozen by now. However, the Toyota Land Cruiser (LC200) should be replaced by and downsized to the LC180 Prado in the U.S. market in 2015-2016. The larger Lexus LX (J300) will be still retained on the UZJ300 Land Cruiser platform.

  • Carmaker1

    I’m not sure why they needed 18 months to ready the LF-LC for production guise, unless SOP is in December 2014. The LF-LC was completed in November 2011, so they should’ve had something concrete regarding a production design by 3-6 months ago. That leaves about 18-24 months of production development by engineering.

    The RC final design (previewed by LF-CC) was settled on last year and frozen during the second half of 2012 (IS C mules), as test mules usually run a few months before or after a production design freeze, due to body proportions being identified. Engineering started production development on the chosen design in January 2013, so at 18 months is needed to ready it for SOP.

    You are right about the RX, as the 2016 model design has been frozen already for likely late 2014/early 2015 SOP and will be registered by December in Japan’s patent offices. I’d think a VX or newly categorized GX will be introduced hopefully in the next few years in late 2015-early 2016 as a MY2016 or early-mid 2016 as a MY2017.

    I also expect the best from Lexus for the 2014-2015 calendar years, because of the silver jubilee.

  • Dunraven77

    As somebody involved at retail level for 10 years I have never been able to understand why Lexus are so slow to market.

    If they want to be a real world force in luxury cars they need to dramatically increase their offering and decrease the length of product cycles (2IS 8 years!!)

  • Carmaker1

    They certainly do need to, especially in being in the mass-market luxury sector. Working for JLR in the coming months, things do take much longer here and will certainly be changing very soon. It seems that the quickest nowadays are BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with VAG’s Audi following close-by.

    I hope Lexus improves their new product turn-out speed ASAP or risk losing consumers to BMW, as that’s already happened. Many of those who leave Lexus go to BMW, followed by Audi.

  • Erich Kerner

    And not to forget Lexus needs more production volume in North America for the future. In my eyes the new IS should already be produced in the US at TMMM.

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Ибрагимов

    Lexus need the next generations of GX, RX and the New Rav4 based to be as follow
    -the GX to be the 3 rows Q7, X5 and GL competitor not QX type of bloated machine, but to be active european one.
    -the RX to be the same length as the original RX but with New wheel base hope rear one, pajalesta(please) Lexus no compromising anymore, to go straight with the FX and Cayenne.
    -the newly Rav4 based is simply the Q5, X3, GLK

    In coupe side I said it before and I will say it again Lexus need at least 5 coupes
    -the first based on FT and to be between the IS and the (CT hatchback/ rumored sedan)
    -the second is the RC and it is the A5, 4 series and it is between the IS & GS
    -the third is A7, 6 series, CLS and it is between the GS & LS
    -the fourth is the LF-LC whatever it will be named either the SC or LC to go for the SL, 911
    -the fifth is the second generation LFA with the same recipe and more power with no fixed quantity

    In wagon they can dismiss it if they have this recipe,
    Also they need at least 3 cabriolet from the 5 coupes mentioned

    Dropping down the ES as I said before, or even make it a RWD 4 drs coupe to be the sedan of the RC, this will make Lexus more premium and will gave a space for Toyota to be even more and more premium with it’s next generation Avalon and Camry offer