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Lexus Unconcerned with LS Sedan Sales Decline

Lexus LS 2015

WardsAuto has an interesting interview with Brian Smith, the Lexus USA vice-president of sales, regarding the current LS sedan and its sales struggle against new competitors:

“We don’t feel it’s a problem with the car,” Brian Smith, vice president-marketing for Lexus in the U.S., tells WardsAuto here during a Lexus NX media event. “Many of the buyers in that segment want what’s new and they’re trying it.”

What’s new is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is getting rave reviews and racking up the growth to show for them. S-Class sales rose 81.8% through May, to 6,381 units.

“[Tesla Model S sales are] right behind Mercedes in volume,” he says. WardsAuto estimates Model S sales tallied 4,600 units through May, down 6.2% from the same period year-ago.

Smith believes most S-Class sales are to brand loyalists who wait for a new generation of the sedan, but some LS buyers may be trying a Tesla.

“They’ll probably come back,” he says. “I think the question remains to be seen how many people will buy a second Tesla.”

Releasing a major refresh in 2012 instead of an all new LS was a curious decision, though it’s important to remember that Lexus was working very hard to bring the spindle grille to every model — a very costly and resource-intensive project.

Despite the strategic value of such a move, it put the LS in a tough position — the new model was not yet ready for release, and there’s no way the Lexus flagship sedan could miss out on the new corporate face. In the end, Lexus had no choice but to stretch out the current model.

Obviously, it would have been ideal for the LS sedan to maintain its sales level, but that’s just not possible with a seven-year-old model. However, the extended development time does suggest that the next-generation LS will be something special.

(And when will the next-generation LS arrive? With no camouflaged prototypes or rumors of any kind, it’s all just a guess. Could be next year, and could just as easily be 2016.)

[Source: WardsAuto]

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    red
  • July 16, 2014
It's gonna be 2017. No chance they have all the necessary resources to pair it with launching NG RX & GS F in 2015/16
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      RAL
    • July 17, 2014
    RC too . . .
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    Haley
  • July 16, 2014
It is the ridiculous spindle grill that destroyed this car, and increasing the price of the car by $10K. After seeing what Lexus did to the 2013 LS, my husband and I grabbed a great deal on the 2012 model before they were all spoken for. The LS has always been a refined and elegant vehicle, and Lexus is going to keep dwindling in the luxury market with their new styling that will only attract young men who want to slam the cars to the ground. The new NX is also a catastrophe and has so many twisted angles. As many have also posted, it is as hideous as the Pontiac Aztek disaster of the past. Lexus had better get it together because the Germans are going to continue to eat their lunch. The new Mercedes S Class is simply gorgeous. We have owned 10 plus Lexus models and if they do not revert back to a classic styling, we will never buy this brand again. What a shame.
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      emptystreets130
    • July 16, 2014
    It's just bad timing. MB, BMW, Tesla were already in the process of updating their flagship. Lexus tends to be a little behind. There's no proof that the Spindle grill destroy this car when there was an increase in sales for the LS after the facelift since Nov '12 up through most of 2013.
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      RAL
    • July 17, 2014
    Lexus has said they are not concerned about the polarizing effect of the spindle grill. Sales numbers seem to indicate the loss of "anti-spindle" buyers is a sacrifice they can live with. We held our nose when we bought the RX with the spindle. I've really tried to like it, but when I look at the new Cadillac CTS I wonder why Lexus couldn't achieve the aggressive look without sacrificing the look of refinement. I am just holding my breath wondering what they are going to do to the new RX, though I doubt it will be as radical as the NX. I think Lexus is the best value out there. Trying hard to stay loyal despite the spindle! I wonder how many of us there are out there?
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      Ian Schmidt
    • July 17, 2014
    Disagree. I adore my 2013 LS, including the in-your-faceness of the spindle grille. Yes, it could be implemented better (and I expect it will be in the next generation), but Aztek comparisons are way, way off base. And for the record, I'm firmly middle aged and have no interest in slamming my LS; it's gorgeous with the factory 19s.
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    Darren Songfreid
  • July 16, 2014
While not decidedly hideous, the spindle grille should be de - emphasized on the LS's front. The guilded plastic should give way to some light weight metallic forms. As for the NX, the design is actually growing on me. I wish its cabin was more upscale and contemporary in appearance.
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    Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов
  • July 16, 2014
see i have a solid info that it will be as follow 2015: GS-F & next RX(which it's relation to the Highlander the same relation NX to RAV4) 2016: LS at detroit & the trio of LEXUS from Supra & Z? 2017: LX & SC it will be heavy based on LF-LC and it's relation to LS as the RC to GS which is in between with LS wide and Chassis but approximately near GS length just shorter little bit 2018: CT & LFA
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      ydooby
    • July 16, 2014
    Thanks for the info, especially on the 2018 LFA MKII. Can't wait!
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      Carson
    • July 17, 2014
    Thanks for the info. If the current CT is stretched to 2018 sales will dwindle to very low levels. The new prius is due out in 2016 so the CT should be able to follow within 12 months I would hope.
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      Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов
    • July 17, 2014
    this maybe the sales dates to introduction dates and as you know the prius shifted another 6 months
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    Pedro Roldão
  • July 16, 2014
This LS generation is on the market for about 8 years... They have made one major face-lift when they introduced the spindle grill but nevertheless it's an 8 year old car. It's normal see a drop in sales. About the new design, I think Lexus is on the right path,specially with IS, new CT and NX. but in LS it lacks a bit of exclusiveness.
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    leopard08
  • July 16, 2014
I know of one insider about the upcoming LS. She said lexus is going to shock the world with the new LS. shes american, linked with Telsa. toyota combined with tesla and took them to Japan to study the LFA. Yes LFA is that much special that there are students around the world given the task to go study it in Japan
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      Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов
    • July 16, 2014
    so you know that the next LS will be direct competitor to Panamera / Quattroporte not to S / 7 / A8
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      Pedro Roldão
    • July 16, 2014
    Hummm that would be a very interesting move... Like it!
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      leopard08
    • July 16, 2014
    yes there will be something like LF-LS something like that. This lady claims Japan is some light years ahead of others technology wise
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      RAL
    • July 17, 2014
    I think your are right. Akio gave 50 million to Elon Musk a while back and Elon gave Akio a new Tesla. A new LS with the revolutionary qualities (except all electric) of a Tesla . . . Yeah!
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      leopard08
    • July 17, 2014
    yes i think the Tesla is a clue of the direction the new LS will take. They not worried because they know they will whip out a killer at hand.
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    Ray
  • July 16, 2014
The all new S class sets alot of new features ie magic carpet ride, seatbelt airbag, largest display etc I believe Lexus will launch its LS with features that S class currently doesn't offer. LS is the flagship of Lexus. Losing to S class is not an option. Ganbatte Lexus
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      Alex
    • July 16, 2014
    I agree Lexus does not want to lose to anyone and while it has taken them some time to get into the real performance part I think with the first ISF and of course the LFA and the new RCF the Germans need to be scared of what Lexus is bringing to the table. Lexus could have an F model in all of their cars in the next 3-5 years!
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    two lexus family
  • July 17, 2014
Lexus' problem with the LS is that it was already a damn-near perfect automobile by 1995. In fact, there is a fine argument that the 96 was "peak LS." And there is nothing obviously missing in the current version—anything added will be mostly useless doodads. In fact, if Lexus really wants to revive the LS, they should start building the 400 again complete with the high gas mileage, the sub 2-ton weight, and the sub $60k price tag. I know several 400-430 owners with over 300k on their odometers. Most of their cars are in pristine condition. They are that way because those old LS are the ones they want. So make them new ones.
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      Carmaker1
    • July 23, 2014
    Nope, the '96 LS is nowhere near the peak. Quite laughable. A mediocre redesign aesthetically, that did not help LS sales and required cost reductions. The facelift in 1997 did a much more excellent job of correcting all the mistakes made on the 1994 redesign. Not to even mention, the LS430 that increased sales significantly. The 1992-94 LS400 was better than the 1994-97 LS400.

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