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What’s Next for Lexus Design

Lexus Design Chief Simon Humphries

There’s a big interview with Lexus’ head of global design, Simon Humphries, at Lexus Magazine that brings some major insight into the direction of the brand — I definitely recommend reading the full thing, but I want to focus on three quotes:

LEXUS: First of all, now that we know that the 2011 IS will have body changes, are there any big design updates coming for other 2011 models?

HUMPHRIES: At this point I can say only that there will also be a change in the front-end design of the GS, most likely arriving in 2012. Both the IS and future GS updates are dramatic changes—they’re much more distinctive, much more unique. In our minds, these aren’t complete black to white sort of changes, but they are an evolution.

This is about as close to a confirmation on the next-gen GS coming next year that we’ve had, though it’s curious that emphasis was placed specifically on the front-end redesign — must be quite dramatic.

The fact that the IS is also mentioned is confusing — the 2011 IS is an improvement, but not what I would classify as a dramatic change. Perhaps he’s referring to the next-generation IS as well.

Okay, how about the larger picture. We’ve heard more and more that Lexus vehicles will be changing, but what are the specifics there, at least from your perspective?

I think our biggest change we’ve been working on comes down to one issue, and that’s that Lexus is now heavily focused on being a driver’s vehicle. In other words, in the luxury market, I think that all manufacturers have got to decide whether they’re going to produce formal ride-in-the-back-type prestige cars or vehicles that are meant to be thrilling to drive.

Lexus is definitely now heavily emphasizing, and will continue to do so, a driving-oriented ideology—cars that are completely driver focused. The LFA is, of course, a symbol of that change in many ways.

This significant shift in focus has been building for some time, and serves to bring Lexus cars more in line with performance/luxury balance exhibited by the German car brands. The LFA is meant to build performance credibility, and with the introduction of the LS 460 Sport, even the flagship sedan is getting into the game.

This also paves the way for Lexus to branch the models in two directions: performance luxury and hybrid (quiet) luxury, which in theory satisfies two very different customer bases. It’s a unique strategy, and one that presents a clear competitive advantage over simply offering hybrid engine options.

(To complete the picture, the ES would to be offered as hybrid, but that seems like a foregone conclusion anyway.)

How does this translate to your world, vehicle design? We’ve noticed that the shapes and angles of Lexus vehicles are getting somewhat sharper and edgier.

Yes, that’s been a very conscious decision. With the focus on a fun driving experience, we’ll eventually be taking the entire line in a much bolder design direction, which isn’t just about the car as a whole. Like I said, you’ll soon see that in the identity of the front-ends, like the IS and GS for 2011.

But if you want to see what I’m talking about right now, take a look at the face of the CT 200h; the grille design is bold, very distinctive. That is something we intend to take through the whole line, so you can look forward to that, perhaps, in each model’s next generation.

Both the RX and CT have sharper, more refined front-ends when compared to the rest of the lineup, and it’s relatively easy to see how that same sharpness could be applied to any other Lexus model. Thought of in another way, the RX, CT and LFA all share this certain look that I can only describe as astronautical, which is as bold and distinctive a design direction as it gets.

The rest of the interview is just as insightful, and well worth reading — certainly has my imagination fired up.

[Source: Lexus Magazine]

Comments
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    WorldofLuxury
  • August 11, 2010
I had a lot to say, but... I instead, I'm going to sketch a few pictures and hope the next generation of Lexus vehicles will be even more dramatic. "In our minds, these aren’t complete black to white sort of changes, but they are an evolution." :-D Anyways, I wonder if Lexus will focus purely on performance and efficiency but nothing in between. I'm just not a big fan of a slow luxury car. Hopefully certain hybrids will still be more performance-oriented. Ooo... this sounds like a big experiment. The Lexus brand splits into two segments and will rejoin in the future to be the epitome of the brand's relentless, passionate pursuit of perfection!
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    BOSS
  • August 11, 2010
What you talking about, the IS350 and GS350 are pretty quick buggers, I doubt the new generation Lexus line up will be slow, we have the new 5 and E so it's time to match or achieve higher. I can't wait to see the redesign GS, please don't disappoint me Lexus!!8-)8-)
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I have high hopes for the GS and IS. Seeing as how every new GS/IS has been better than the previous one, I expect nothing less than mind blowing for both models. Can't wait till 2011 when the lease on ours will be up. ;-)
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    FreeSpirit
  • August 11, 2010
@WorldofLuxury: donno i really donna like that i was hopping that lexus be the performance oriented luxury marker and let the non performance lux for toyota as to improve the brand look toyota already had a non performance lux as Majesta , Crown & Mark-x but make lexus big and split between performance & non performance not that good short make lexus A.martin,porsche,AMG,M like make toyota Buick,VW,Opel,Hyundai(even now hyundai had a lux) like
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    FreeSpirit
  • August 11, 2010
@FreeSpirit: but i do like the shape of the CT hope the NG IS,GS to take the sporty 4 door coupe lines as XF
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    WorldofLuxury
  • August 11, 2010
@FreeSpirit: Yeah. That sounds like a good idea. Toyota and Lexus keep on stepping on each other's toes. Still, I hope Lexus vehicles maintain their efficiency with all the performance.
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    FreeSpirit
  • August 14, 2010
@WorldofLuxury: wow you are the first guy to agree with me in that idea
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    FreeSpirit
  • August 15, 2010
i got an idea what if the LF-CH was not a concept only for the CT but it was a showcase of the lines and designs for the NG's IS,GS,LS&SC
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    Ernesto
  • August 16, 2010
Espero que en los próximos modelos no pase lo del cambio del RX 400h al RX450h donde hay importantes fallos de diseño. Lo han mejorado desde el frontal hasta la puerta delantera. Parece que había prisa por terminarlo y a partir de la puerta trasera no han mejorado lo conseguido en el RX 400h, como por ejemplo, la ventanilla no baja toda, el acceso y el espacio para las piernas es mas pequeño. De hecho no cabe el anagrama lexus iluninado. Falta el velcro en los cinturones de seguridad traseros para cuando se abaten los asientos. Cuando se levantan los asientos traseros depues de abatirlos, quedan marcas que tardan tiempo en desaparecer. La cortina del espacio de carga no se recoge automáticamente, ni siquiera sube con la puerta, como lo tiene el Grand Cherokee y no hay sitio para guardarla cuando se desmonta. La rueda de repuesto es de emergencia y le he tenido que dar la vuelta para tener mas espacio de almacenamiento y tuve que desmontar la caja que hay en el lado derecho para tener acceso a esa área. Solo encienden las luces de freno de los laterales, no las puertas, como ya tienen los Audi y hasta el nuevo Sorento. Mientras que los faros delanteros son de LED, la luz de posición es normal y parece amarilla, no como las de la matrícula. Igual que en el interior, la luz de mapa es de LED y la normal luce como una vela. También los espejos de cortesía han perdido el encanto americano que tenían. No parace que hayan aplicado el "The pursuit of perfection" Espero que cuando lancen la versión eléctrica lo corrigan.

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