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Lexus RAV4 on the way?

According to the Automotive News, Lexus’ on-again/off-again infatuation with a RAV4-based X3 competitor has swung to the positive side, this time with some actual verification from Jim Lentz:

Jim Lentz, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. president, says a small Lexus SUV could be a response to the “urbanization” of Gen Y buyers and empty-nest boomers.

Toyota’s advanced product strategy group is studying a demographic trend–people who are “sick of the suburbs, but who don’t want to give up the utility of their SUV,” he said.

“A small luxury SUV might be the right product for that environment,” Lentz said.

There’s also mention that in order to keep the price around $30,000, this mini-ute might have to forgo some luxury appointments, but that’s not really Lexus’ style. Another reason to doubt this cost-cutting is that the lower the price, the more potential that RAV4 sales would be expected. Besides, I don’t think Lexus needs to undercut the BMW X3 by $8,000, a price around $35,000 would be more than competitive.

Something else, the talk before about this Lexus RAV4 spoke of it being Europe/Japan only, but that looks to have changed.

(Mockup from

[Source: Automotive News via Autoweek]