Three-Row Crossover a Top Priority for Lexus

Lexus RX three-row crossover

In an Automotive News interview, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz admits that Lexus missed a sales opportunity by working on the RC coupe rather than a three-row seven-seat crossover:

“In hindsight, if I was making this decision 10 years ago, seeing what I see today, the three-row [crossover] probably would have been the better play to come out first,” said Lentz, who has stationed himself at an office in Texas as Toyota prepares to move its headquarters to a new corporate campus here from Southern California.

He added: “Strategically that’s a more important vehicle to have than necessarily a lower volume, higher priced image product.”

There’s a further quote from Lexus USA general manager Jeff Bracken:

Lexus wouldn’t confirm last week whether such a vehicle is under study, but dealers have been clamoring for it. “Third-row seating is the No. 1 issue we hear from dealers,” Lexus division chief Jeff Bracken told Automotive News last year. “We feel like we’re missing a 35,000-units-a-year opportunity. We’re working hard to rectify that.”

This all makes for an interesting thought experiment, but swap a three-row crossover for the RC coupe and Lexus would have a SUV-heavy lineup and only the IS & GS in terms of performance. With this in mind, I have to think that Lentz is speaking purely from a sales perspective, and not what’s best for the brand.

Think about these quotes in a different way, and Lentz basically confirms a three-row seven-seat crossover will be released by Lexus in the very near future.

Finally, you have to love this quote from Lentz:

As for what other new models dealers are asking for in addition to a large three-row crossover, Lentz doesn’t miss a beat: “They want everything.”

Read the full Jim Lentz interview at Automotive News