Is Lexus Planning to Expand the RX Family?

Kicking Tires sat down with Lexus USA vice president of marketing Brian Smith at the Chicago Auto Show, and came away with some new insight into Lexus’ future plans — first, in regards to more entry-level models:

Lexus has just one car below the $30,000 mark, the pint-sized CT 200h hybrid, and it sells well enough. But the automaker wants none of the near-luxury pie, said Brian Smith, marketing vice president.

“I don’t think [entry-luxury] is a focus of ours right now,” Smith said. “Other manufacturers have a reason for going there. Some might be customer demand; some might be government regulation” — a reference to the federal government’s corporate average fuel economy program.

Of course, Lexus has Toyota & Scion to help balance out the company’s overall fuel economy, which is a luxury that BMW & Mercedes don’t have. That said, I do think that once other luxury brands start pushing out these lower-priced smaller vehicles and the segment heats up, Lexus will eventually have to join in — but that’s a long way away.

Smith also shares Lexus’ strategy at introducing the new fourth-gen GS to U.S. dealers:

“We’ve learned over the years one of the worst things for a great launch is trickling out the product,” Smith said. “And in this case, the remaining inventory of the previous-generation [GS] is virtually gone. There’s no reason to worry about a sell-down. We just opened up the factory to produce as much as possible. We’re probably going to get well over 1,000 [cars] retailed this month.”

Selling over 1,000 GS in its rollout month is a nice start for the new model, and I expect sales will continue to grow once the supply chain normalizes — however, the real test for the GS will be when the pent-up demand is satisfied.

Also mentioned for anyone waiting for the GS 450h — looks like the hybrid model will be arriving in dealerships by mid-April the end of May.

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting, is mention of possible RX variants:

Will the brand introduce a baby- or plus-sized RX? Smith won’t rule it out.

“There is room for that type of thing, [but] nothing that we can announce right now,” he said. “I would love to see the RX family grow. We don’t have specifics, but it’s a very capable vehicle, and it’s a broad section of the market.”

Nice to hear that Lexus is considering expanding the RX family — why Lexus has held off building smaller/larger RX variants has been a real mystery. I suspect it has to do with the crossover’s position as the second-best-selling luxury vehicle in the USA. Consider this — if Lexus released a similar model, would it steal sales from competitors or from the RX itself?

[Source: Kicking Tires]

Update: Edited for clarity.

AutoshowsFutureLexus RX: Third GenerationRumorsUSA
This is going to be fun... there's so many possibilities!
I fully expect a Rav4-based Lexus CUV in 2013 And Lexus wants to sell 2k GS a month, they should be able to if not by March, April at the latest. I'm sure Lexus dealers don't have all the GS inventory they need right now...... BD
    • Anonymous
    • February 24, 2012
    Unless its based on the European Rav4 because the American Rav4 is almost the same size as the current RX. My bet is a CT based crossover on the bottom and an RX-L seven seater as the top line crossover.
    According to my local Lexus dealer the baby RX is coming. I'm so glad it is,as I hate to see the BMW X1 racking up sales the way it is. A smaller cross over would also hold great appeal to me personally.
  • O
  • February 23, 2012
I think the RX is as small as they will go.  If anything, they will come out with a 7 seat RX crossover that will complete with the new infiniti crossover and the 3rd row X5 Unless I was told wrong, Lexus can't sell 2K a month because they will make less then 15K this year. and next year they will make even less,  they want to keep it around 13-14k next year
A seven passenger RX would be a nice alternative to sell when someone isn't sold on the benefits of a bof GX. Fuel consumption of 18-23 on an AWD model would be spot on. Make it happen already
  • T
  • February 24, 2012
Something like the Q5 would be sweet.
  • P
  • February 24, 2012
Considering Lexus' new global focus i'm thinking rather something the size of an Audi Q5 than some 7-seater. Lexus must have recognized the sales success of the X3 and Q5.
  • E
    Erich Kerner
  • February 24, 2012
As we already said a few weeks ago - a second model of RX is underway. Toyota moved the production of the Highlander Hybrid from Kyushu to Indiana. So there is "room" for a new model that can be produced at the TMK plant....
  • M
  • February 24, 2012
I wouldn't count on Toyota/Lexus bringing out a second kind of RX. Lately they have a feeling for bringing out models that don't sell or not bringing out any new models at all or just ruining new model launches.
    • A
    • May 28, 2012
     The HS was rubbish, but the Ct wasn't.