When Lexus ES production shifts in part to North America in 2014, the Kyushu plant in Japan will begin production of a brand new Lexus model — Hans Greimel of Automotive News has more details:
Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda, sidestepping specifics on what’s ahead and what’s needed, said Lexus needs something “more exciting, more exhilarating.” But Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin got a little more specific about what might be built in Kyushu, offered these thoughts on two areas in which he feels Lexus is lacking.
Sports coupe: “The coupe market is about the same size in the United States and Europe,” Templin said. “It’s not an enormous market, but it’s an important segment in terms of what it does for image. I think a coupe could change perceptions of our brand and make us a more emotional brand and potentially reach younger buyers.”
Crossover: “The RX actually does triple duty today. It covers its own segment, it covers a smaller [crossover] segment, and it covers a larger segment,” he said. If a new crossover nameplate “were smaller than RX or bigger than RX, it would still increase sales. You’d get some cannibalization, but the net would be a sales increase.”
Automotive News reported in April that a compact crossover concept would be shown at the Tokyo Auto Show this year, followed by the introduction of a production model at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014 — considering that the Kyushu plant already manufactures the RX, it’s possible this new model might fit into the production timeline.
(However, it’s also possible that the compact crossover might be built at the Tahara plant, where the RAV4 is produced — really, it’s all guesswork at this point.)
[Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)]