The Next Generation of Lexus Through 2020

Carmaker1

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While not entirely complete, here is some information I have on a few new Lexus products through 2020.

In October 2018, Job #1 for the 2019 ES occurs and is being developed under code 240B, utilizing GA-K. Design freeze for this vehicle was in Q2 2016.

In July 2020, Job #1 for the 2021 Lexus NX being developed under programme code 600X will utilize GA-C. A refresh for MY 2018 will be unveiled in the coming months.

The Lexus IS will be fully redesigned for the 2021 model year and began development under 400A programme code in 2015. Job #1 is set for July 2020, so likely a design freeze will happen early in 2018, to allow 27-30 months of lead time.

A final styling proposal for what is nicknamed as the "4IS", will be chosen this year before that point of development is reached in 2018. A minor secondary update might occur to the current IS for model year 2019 in late 2018, tiding the current model along until 2020.​

The Lexus RX will not be redesigned until late 2021, for the 2022 model year. That might utilize the GA-K platform or shift to the GA-L (not so likely).

I have not heard about anything regarding the RC, but a redesign may not happen or be held off until MY 2022.

The 2018 model Lexus GX year will receive a refresh (thanks UZJGXR100), with Job #1 set for September 2017. If a next generation GX is approved in a similar configuration, it will not debut until 2020 or 2021, utilizing TNGA-F. The Toyota Hilux Surf is being reintroduced to Japan in August 2017, which will parallel a facelift to the 150-Series Prado for 2018 model year.

TNGA-F for BOF products, will not debut until the 300-Series Land Cruiser is launched in 2018 or 2019, making its way down to other BOF products. I believe this will be last BOF application developed by Toyota, hence why they are stretching out life-cycles (delaying redesigns) and probably giving their best efforts on the platform. A new line of engines are likely being developed, which are expected to debut with TNGA-F.

I have lost track of a late 2016 Japanese language conversations between (a) Toyota HQ insider(s) and that of some other Japanese individuals, regarding the Land Cruiser (and previously 2018 LS). In addition to the news UZJGXR100 gave me, they had highlighted changes to the Prado in mid-2017. My translation of what they were discussing was very rough, so some of the context was confusing (FMC vs MMC or refresh).

All the above regarding body-on-frame products affects the LX and GX. The GX400 will go on sale this year in Japan. The LX as I said in 2015, will not be redesigned until late 2019 at earliest.​
 
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Carmaker1

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Also, as you can see above, there's no news on a next generation GS! Quite concerning and as Gecko told me earlier, it is alarming to see that. The next IS is confirmed, but nothing for RC and GS! GX and LX are not of the same variety, thus not included.

I omitted the 561A code listed for the Lexus UX (scheduled for June 2018?), as I find it to be inexact, due to recently finding it identical to the CH-R programme code. Reason is I really do not want to be blamed for providing any inaccurate information, if my sources are not 100% correct.;)
 
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mordecai

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It's so sad to me that Lexus is giving up on the luxury RWD midsize sedan market. I realize it's a dying market, but I don't think we will ever see BMW or Mercedes not have their midsize sedan in their lineup. Like someone else said in another thread, it's going against Lexus' recent push for more dynamic handling and feel. It also feels like they are giving Audi, Infiniti, Genesis, and even Acura a free pass at taking that empty slot below the 5 and E-class.

As for the rest of Lexus' development, I'm very happy that they will be producing the UX. That will be another successful line for Lexus. I'm happy that the LC exists, best decision by Lexus in a long time. Yet at the same time, I'm starting to seriously resent their long development cycles, the discontinuity of their Lines such as the GS rumors, RC discontinuation rumors, no LFA followup and lack of CT rumors (I willl count LS in this group), and their lack of innovation.

On the bright side, we have the LC and LS coming soon. I'm hoping that the upcoming cars will receive the same integrated merger of design and engineering as Lexus did with the LC. If we see that effort by Lexus, perhaps the brand can be reinvigorated again.
 
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Gecko

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Some of this is very exciting to me, some of it is rather troubling.

On one hand, I think Toyota and Lexus both have been in the midst of chaos for the last ~3 years shuffling around refreshes and delaying redesigns to prepare for TNGA(-L) as well as the new Dynamic Force engines. On the other, we've seen a dramatic shift from passenger cars to light trucks, there are pressing fuel economy rules around the globe, higher development costs, people leaving personal vehicle ownership and moving more towards mass or shared transportation, etc. I think this has been one if - if not THE - most turbulent and transformative times in the automotive industry. What Toyota and Lexus do over the next few years will be very telling because in a sense, "It all comes down to this."

I have a hard time believing that a brand new premium RWD architecture was developed only to be used on LS, LC and IS. If there was ever a case for the GS, it seems to me that the time is now. The chassis is there, the hard work has probably already been done in developing the LC and LS... it just needs to be scaled for a midsize sedan. I made this point in the GS thread, but as the LS has been so greatly elevated for its fifth generation, I feel like there has never been a more important time for the GS to shine. A little larger, more options, more customization, more choices, more luxury. Lexus will have to fill the void formerly filled by the SWB LS... will an ES do the job? I really don't think so. IS buyers are younger and many are new to the Lexus brand. Do we see them going to an ES after they're ready to "move up"? I doubt it. GS is the logical next step.

I also know that my sentiments don't mean much with regard to the bottom line, but if Lexus is looking to narrow their focus to one midsize sedan, then I feel like the GS is the obvious choice. It's a more global product, offering everything from a hybrid four cylinder to a top market V8 F model, RWD, AWD, etc. ES has always been US/China-centric with limited global appeal, but the GS has been the better global car. How is Lexus going to sort this out? It seems to me that dropping the ES and trying to come up with less expensive trims of the GS would make a lot more sense: 2.0T, 2.0L hybrid, V6, 3.5L hybrid, TT V6, TT V8 for F, AWD, RWD, luxury, ultra luxury, F Sport. Build out the GS portfolio to occupy the space formerly held by the ES. For returning shoppers, make ES buyers feel like they have an opportunity to move up - not GS buyers "move down" and surely turn up their noses at an ES.

Similarly, I hope there is a plan for a next gen RC. The current car was always a gap-filler, IMO, and that's evident in execution. A mid size coupe based on GA-L would be really great for Lexus. Even if they sell very little, these types of image cars are very important. Mercedes has SLC, C Coupe, E Coupe, S Coupe, SL, GT AMG. BMW has 2 series, 4 series, 6 series, upcoming 8 Series and Z5. $100k LC is not enough for Lexus.

I am excited about the news of the UX, NX refresh and eventual redesign. Similar to the issues that constrain the ES underneath cars like the 5 Series and E Class, Lexus is going to start hitting a wall with the RX pretty soon, IMO. 295hp and 267lb-ft of torque (at 4700rpm) isn't really sufficient in a midsize SUV that weighs north of two tons. Lexus' N/A V6 is torque deficient and it's not as bad in a light car like the ES, but for a 4,500lb RX, screaming to nearly 5k RPMS to get power is not ideal. It's also what makes Lexus vehicles often feel slower off the line than their German counterparts. Whether Lexus plans to keep the RX FWD and then come out with a larger engine option that has standard AWD, or there is a strategy shift to put the RX on GA-L, something will need to change.

GX refresh is exciting to me. The Prado chassis is a good one, and I am a fan of body-on-frame anyway. I'll be most interested to see if powertrain updates are made - V6? Turbo V6? new V8? 8AT?

I am expecting to be wowed by the next gen LX, just as I have been with LC and LS.

Looking at all of this, we can't really fault Lexus for going in a direction that's going to make them money (quite frankly - rebadges of Toyota SUVs that are cheaper to engineer and come with hefty profit margins). However, if the decision is indeed made to cancel the GS in favor of the ES, I strongly believe this is the wrong strategy for the business and knocks Lexus down a level compared to BMW and Mercedes. Down-scaling GS at the lower end to fill an entry level space would be a better strategy than trying to "up size" the ES to fill the space formerly occupied by the GS. Many of us are OK with the idea of cheap FWD products at the bottom end of the portfolio (ES, UX, NX) as long as they are balanced at the middle and top with emotional, aspirational vehicles like GS, LC, LS and LX. If Lexus' future is FWD/AWD ESs and RXs/RX Ls, just topped off with an LC and LS... that's not the Lexus I know, and my best days as a Lexus enthusiast will surely be behind me.
 
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Carmaker1

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When I posted, I did so without having the ideal information I wanted on the GS programme and accompanying Mag-X rumours. What I have now is, this information on a vehicle being developed under 300B development code on GA-L as the "GS", due for SOP in April 2019.

The preceding "920L" programme, is a minor gaffe, as that was the programme/model code for the MMC GS (MY 2016-2019) on the "New N" platform introduced in late 2011-early 2012 by the same generation L10 GS.

"920L" actually entered production in August 2015 and not that of August 2014. It is reported to end production in March 2019, which would 44 months as opposed to the typo of 56 months. How accurate is this information, is my question though.
 

Brandon B

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While not entirely complete, here is some information I have on a few new Lexus products through 2020.

In October 2018, Job #1 for the 2019 ES occurs and is being developed under code 240B, utilizing GA-K. Design freeze for this vehicle was in Q2 2016.

In July 2020, Job #1 for the 2021 Lexus NX being developed under programme code 600X will utilize GA-C. A refresh for MY 2018 will be unveiled in the coming months.

The Lexus IS will be fully redesigned for the 2021 model year and began development under 400A programme code in 2015. Job #1 is set for July 2020, so likely a design freeze will happen early in 2018, to allow 27-30 months of lead time.

A final styling proposal for what is nicknamed as the "4IS", will be chosen this year before that point of development is reached in 2018. A minor secondary update might occur to the current IS for model year 2019 in late 2018, tiding the current model along until 2020.​

The Lexus RX will not be redesigned until late 2021, for the 2022 model year. That might utilize the GA-K platform or shift to the GA-L (not so likely).

I have not heard about anything regarding the RC, but a redesign may not happen or be held off until MY 2022.

The 2018 model Lexus GX year will receive a refresh (thanks UZJGXR100), with Job #1 set for September 2017. If a next generation GX is approved in a similar configuration, it will not debut until 2020 or 2021, utilizing TNGA-F. The Toyota Hilux Surf is being reintroduced to Japan in August 2017, which will parallel a facelift to the 150-Series Prado for 2018 model year.

TNGA-F for BOF products, will not debut until the 300-Series Land Cruiser is launched in 2018 or 2019, making its way down to other BOF products. I believe this will be last BOF application developed by Toyota, hence why they are stretching out life-cycles (delaying redesigns) and probably giving their best efforts on the platform. A new line of engines are likely being developed, which are expected to debut with TNGA-F.

I have lost track of a late 2016 Japanese language conversations between (a) Toyota HQ insider(s) and that of some other Japanese individuals, regarding the Land Cruiser (and previously 2018 LS). In addition to the news UZJGXR100 gave me, they had highlighted changes to the Prado in mid-2017. My translation of what they were discussing was very rough, so some of the context was confusing (FMC vs MMC or refresh).

All the above regarding body-on-frame products affects the LX and GX. The GX400 will go on sale this year in Japan. The LX as I said in 2015, will not be redesigned until late 2019 at earliest.​
Good to hear the GX is getting some love later his year! I'm assuming the 4Runner will get a refresh as well? They always seem to conincide time wise. I'm debating getting a used GX this fall otherwise a new 4R only if it gets a different motor/transmission and hopefully not the dog that's in the new Tacoma. Thanks for all of the info you provide on the boards!
 

meth.ix

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I'm let down that the new IS generation will not come until 2020, but then I get some hope that there will be a mid-cycle refresh. But then I realize that it already got one, which made it even more unattractive.
 

PeterF

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It's nice to hear some upbeat news about the future of the GS. In addition, the RC is a great car, and, they are racing the RC F GT3 (nice looking car!); I can't imagine they are getting ready to stop that line, but what do I know. thanks for these posts. Very informative!
 
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mmcartalk

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Some of this is very exciting to me, some of it is rather troubling.

On one hand, I think Toyota and Lexus both have been in the midst of chaos for the last ~3 years shuffling around refreshes and delaying redesigns to prepare for TNGA(-L) as well as the new Dynamic Force engines. On the other, we've seen a dramatic shift from passenger cars to light trucks, there are pressing fuel economy rules around the globe, higher development costs, people leaving personal vehicle ownership and moving more towards mass or shared transportation, etc. I think this has been one if - if not THE - most turbulent and transformative times in the automotive industry. What Toyota and Lexus do over the next few years will be very telling because in a sense, "It all comes down to this."

I have a hard time believing that a brand new premium RWD architecture was developed only to be used on LS, LC and IS. If there was ever a case for the GS, it seems to me that the time is now. The chassis is there, the hard work has probably already been done in developing the LC and LS... it just needs to be scaled for a midsize sedan. I made this point in the GS thread, but as the LS has been so greatly elevated for its fifth generation, I feel like there has never been a more important time for the GS to shine. A little larger, more options, more customization, more choices, more luxury. Lexus will have to fill the void formerly filled by the SWB LS... will an ES do the job? I really don't think so. IS buyers are younger and many are new to the Lexus brand. Do we see them going to an ES after they're ready to "move up"? I doubt it. GS is the logical next step.

I also know that my sentiments don't mean much with regard to the bottom line, but if Lexus is looking to narrow their focus to one midsize sedan, then I feel like the GS is the obvious choice. It's a more global product, offering everything from a hybrid four cylinder to a top market V8 F model, RWD, AWD, etc. ES has always been US/China-centric with limited global appeal, but the GS has been the better global car. How is Lexus going to sort this out? It seems to me that dropping the ES and trying to come up with less expensive trims of the GS would make a lot more sense: 2.0T, 2.0L hybrid, V6, 3.5L hybrid, TT V6, TT V8 for F, AWD, RWD, luxury, ultra luxury, F Sport. Build out the GS portfolio to occupy the space formerly held by the ES. For returning shoppers, make ES buyers feel like they have an opportunity to move up - not GS buyers "move down" and surely turn up their noses at an ES.

Similarly, I hope there is a plan for a next gen RC. The current car was always a gap-filler, IMO, and that's evident in execution. A mid size coupe based on GA-L would be really great for Lexus. Even if they sell very little, these types of image cars are very important. Mercedes has SLC, C Coupe, E Coupe, S Coupe, SL, GT AMG. BMW has 2 series, 4 series, 6 series, upcoming 8 Series and Z5. $100k LC is not enough for Lexus.

I am excited about the news of the UX, NX refresh and eventual redesign. Similar to the issues that constrain the ES underneath cars like the 5 Series and E Class, Lexus is going to start hitting a wall with the RX pretty soon, IMO. 295hp and 267lb-ft of torque (at 4700rpm) isn't really sufficient in a midsize SUV that weighs north of two tons. Lexus' N/A V6 is torque deficient and it's not as bad in a light car like the ES, but for a 4,500lb RX, screaming to nearly 5k RPMS to get power is not ideal. It's also what makes Lexus vehicles often feel slower off the line than their German counterparts. Whether Lexus plans to keep the RX FWD and then come out with a larger engine option that has standard AWD, or there is a strategy shift to put the RX on GA-L, something will need to change.

GX refresh is exciting to me. The Prado chassis is a good one, and I am a fan of body-on-frame anyway. I'll be most interested to see if powertrain updates are made - V6? Turbo V6? new V8? 8AT?

I am expecting to be wowed by the next gen LX, just as I have been with LC and LS.

Looking at all of this, we can't really fault Lexus for going in a direction that's going to make them money (quite frankly - rebadges of Toyota SUVs that are cheaper to engineer and come with hefty profit margins). However, if the decision is indeed made to cancel the GS in favor of the ES, I strongly believe this is the wrong strategy for the business and knocks Lexus down a level compared to BMW and Mercedes. Down-scaling GS at the lower end to fill an entry level space would be a better strategy than trying to "up size" the ES to fill the space formerly occupied by the GS. Many of us are OK with the idea of cheap FWD products at the bottom end of the portfolio (ES, UX, NX) as long as they are balanced at the middle and top with emotional, aspirational vehicles like GS, LC, LS and LX. If Lexus' future is FWD/AWD ESs and RXs/RX Ls, just topped off with an LC and LS... that's not the Lexus I know, and my best days as a Lexus enthusiast will surely be behind me.

Again, while I respect your views, I don't think you are giving the ES enough credit. It's clearly the Lexus bread-and-butter sedan, and the sales numbers on it speak for themselves. In fact, I myself may (?) end up with one as my next car....it is about a three-way tie, right now, between the ES, LaCrosse, and MKZ.
 

PeterF

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In my much less educated opinion, the ES has evolved into a very attractive sedan. It is very comfortable and luxurious. I have friends who love it. I enjoyed driving it when I have had one as a lowner car. I personally prefer the GS . I would go with the ES over the LaCrosse and MKZ and day for many reasons, one big one is reliability, the other is Luxury and overall comfort and service. The car is pretty quick too. I also like the way the ES looks compared with both of these other vehicles but in my mind reliability is huge. The ES is a great car, but there is a big need for a GS and removing the GS would really create a big gap in the Lexus lineup, especially with the LS becoming much pricier. I certainly would vote for more trims on the ES, but I really like the idea of many trims on the GS as well.
 

meth.ix

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Yeah, the GS doesn't have a trim level that can compete with the top-line A6 and E-Class interiors, which prioritize rear seat comfort just like their older brothers: A8 and S-Class. Borrow some elements from the LS for that. I sat in an S6 at the auto show recently, and it was fully loaded in the rear, and it felt so much more luxurious than the GS F.
 

mmcartalk

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In my much less educated opinion, the ES has evolved into a very attractive sedan. It is very comfortable and luxurious. I have friends who love it. I enjoyed driving it when I have had one as a lowner car. I personally prefer the GS . I would go with the ES over the LaCrosse and MKZ and day for many reasons, one big one is reliability, the other is Luxury and overall comfort and service. The car is pretty quick too. I also like the way the ES looks compared with both of these other vehicles but in my mind reliability is huge. The ES is a great car, but there is a big need for a GS and removing the GS would really create a big gap in the Lexus lineup, especially with the LS becoming much pricier. I certainly would vote for more trims on the ES, but I really like the idea of many trims on the GS as well.

One BIG difference between the ES and GS (besides the chassis-layout) is that I don't think we will ever see a full ES-F model LOL. :yum And the current 6Gen version, though still nice, is not quite as smooth or cushy as past versions have been.

True, the ES still has a reliability edge over the LaCrosse, but not by much....Buick has been very impressive in the reliability and dealer-satisfaction areas lately, though more so for the Opel-based models than the American-based ones. Lincoln, I agree, is lagging in the build-quality department....but the MKS is pleasant to drive.
 
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Gecko

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Again, while I respect your views, I don't think you are giving the ES enough credit. It's clearly the Lexus bread-and-butter sedan, and the sales numbers on it speak for themselves.

By this measure, the F-150 would be the best overall vehicle available for sale in North America?

The ES is a fine car. It's basic-level luxury and ticks most of the boxes for someone looking for a "luxury car" at a reasonable price... but that doesn't mean it's a great car by any stretch. I've spent a lot of miles in GSs and ESs and there's just no comparison between the two. The GS is head and shoulders a better car for a little more money. Unfortunately, as has been well documented here, Lexus' sales strategy with these two sedans is broken.
 

mmcartalk

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By this measure, the F-150 would be the best overall vehicle available for sale in North America?

Well, it's got a BIG cult-following of people who love it. For what a pick-up is expected to do, it satisfies a lot of people. No, it is not going to ride like a Lexus LS or Mercedes S-Class (actually, the silky Dodge Ram comes closer to that LOL), but it has become Mr. Dependable in the world of full-size trucks.

The ES is a fine car. It's basic-level luxury and ticks most of the boxes for someone looking for a "luxury car" at a reasonable price... but that doesn't mean it's a great car by any stretch. I've spent a lot of miles in GSs and ESs and there's just no comparison between the two. The GS is head and shoulders a better car for a little more money. Unfortunately, as has been well documented here, Lexus' sales strategy with these two sedans is broken.

They are two different cars. The ES is intentionally designed to be a more sedate-driving vehicle than the GS (look at the difference in their two primary-buyer groups). The ES, except for the beautifully-done wood steering wheel, also has more noticeable cost-cutting in the interior than the GS.
 

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Well, it's got a BIG cult-following of people who love it. For what a pick-up is expected to do, it satisfies a lot of people. No, it is not going to ride like a Lexus LS or Mercedes S-Class (actually, the silky Dodge Ram comes closer to that LOL), but it has become Mr. Dependable in the world of full-size trucks.

This is beside the point, which was that sales volume does not make a great vehicle.


They are two different cars. The ES is intentionally designed to be a more sedate-driving vehicle than the GS (look at the difference in their two primary-buyer groups). The ES, except for the beautifully-done wood steering wheel, also has more noticeable cost-cutting in the interior than the GS.

Yes, exactly. GS is a much better built car for just a little more money.
 
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Ian Schmidt

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Yes, exactly. GS is a much better built car for just a little more money.

Which makes me wonder if the GS's sporty image isn't the problem. It's the car between the IS and LS, while ignoring the US market reality that it also needs to go between the ES and LS. Make the base model sort of a shrunken LS but with an upgraded ES FWD drive train (add a twin turbo and an AWD option) and you'd sell a ton to people who want something nicer than an ES that won't scare Grandma. Then the GS F-Sport is RWD/AWD and GS F is full-on performance.

In markets where the ES isn't sold / doesn't do significant sales, they can make the US-spec F-Sport the base model and not have an F-Sport.
 

mmcartalk

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Which makes me wonder if the GS's sporty image isn't the problem. It's the car between the IS and LS, while ignoring the US market reality that it also needs to go between the ES and LS. Make the base model sort of a shrunken LS but with an upgraded ES FWD drive train (add a twin turbo and an AWD option) and you'd sell a ton to people who want something nicer than an ES that won't scare Grandma. Then the GS F-Sport is RWD/AWD and GS F is full-on performance.

In markets where the ES isn't sold / doesn't do significant sales, they can make the US-spec F-Sport the base model and not have an F-Sport.


Good post. :) I agree on the GS's image.