Lexus General Manager Mark Templin Discusses Future Models

Lexus LF-LC Concept

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.

Read the full Detroit Bureau article