Hans Greimel of Automotive News has interviewed new Lexus International president Koji Sato:
Koji Sato was given very clear marching orders when he took over as president of Lexus International on Jan. 1. His boss Akio Toyoda instructed him: Make change.
“It was just one simple thing: Make some change,” Sato recalled of his briefing with the boss.
“Lexus is a symbol of the challenging spirit of corporate Toyota,” Sato said. “Toyota is a big organization. But Lexus is a very small company and more flexible. Akio’s expectation for Lexus is to change something or take on some challenge.”
Sato stressed that the “new Lexus” will focus on three major initiatives: emotion, electrification, and automated driving. Electrification will begin with the UX 300e crossover, and a Lexus that can drive itself on highways is also on the way this year. Adding to the excitement are new upcoming additions to the F brand lineup:
One fix will be leveraging the F and F Sport performance lines,[Sato] said. He would like to extend F treatment to other nameplates. An F Sport grade is currently offered on everything but the LX SUV, but the top-shelf F designation is offered only on the RC coupe and GS sedan.
“We will enhance F model activities in the future,” Sato said. “F will take the lead. Every other model gets some shower effect.”
This is likely referring to the introduction of the LC F coupe, though it does hint at other models — could Lexus be planning its first F brand crossover?