Lexus general manager Mark Templin recently spoke with Paul Eisenstein of The Detroit Bureau about the future plans of the brand:
The most likely addition to the Lexus line-up, Templin hinted, would be a compact crossover smaller than the current RX line, one that could directly target competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3 and Audi Q5. But Lexus is in no rush, the executive cautioned, since the RX remains the best-selling luxury CUV by appealing to a broad range of crossover buyers.
Not to read too much into this, but it’s unlikely that Mr. Templin would bring up the possibility of a compact crossover accidentally — in fact, it brings to mind last month’s Australian announcement that a Lexus mystery model would debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.
The discussion then turned to the LF-LC:
“The [LF-LC concept] we showed in Detroit this year was a smash hit,” Templin asserted, “and everyone is asking us to build that car without change.”
But he cautioned that if Lexus does bring the [LF-LC] to market it could take as much as four years to complete its engineering. Templin acknowledged that might seem to run counter to Toyota’s past approach to product development – which emphasized speed to market – but added that Toyota “has started to build cars more slowly again.”
Such a large gap between concept & production model is something we’ve seen before — it was five years between the first LFA concept and the 2009 debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. This suggests that the LF-LC may be much more than a SC replacement — we may be looking at the next-generation Lexus supercar.
Last thing — here’s a final quote from Mark Templin about the real hurdle in introducing a new model:
The biggest challenge, he laughed, is that, “We’re running out of the alphabet,” as makers not only add more models but shift to alphanumeric naming policies.