AwardsUSA

Lexus Ranks Highest for Luxury Brand Loyalty in the USA

Lexus LX Brand Loyalty

Lexus was the highest ranked luxury manufacturer in the inaugural J.D. Power USA Automotive Brand Loyalty Study, with 47.6% of buyers returning to purchase or lease another vehicle. Let’s see how Lexus ranked alongside its competitors:

Lexus Brand Loyalty

The study used proprietary data to calculate whether an owner purchased the same brand after trading in an existing vehicle. Calculations are based on transaction data from June 2018 through May 2019 and include all model years traded in.

Tech

More Details on Upcoming Lexus Automated Driving Technology

Lexus LS Highway Teammate

Lexus has released more details on their Automated Highway Teammate technology that will debut in 2020 — from CNET:

When asked about the SAE level of autonomy for the system, [Executive Vice President Koji] Sato responded: “Officially, Level 2 is the reality… starting out, the project will release at level 2 in 2020.”

That means hands-off highway cruise control under certain conditions, but also the requirement for the driver to remain at attention with their eyes on the road while the system is active with some sort of driver attention monitoring in place. Similar to Cadillac’s Super Cruise system, Highway Teammate will steer itself to stay between the lane markers and adjust its throttle and braking to follow a leading car.

The system that debuts in 2020 will also have the ability for dynamic updates, meaning the technology will see new functionality as Lexus improves the system.

Lexus has a very specific idea of what autonomous driving looks like, and it’s not a robot nanny:

Sato went on to explain that Lexus sees autonomy as only part of the experience that it will offer to future drivers and that engaging, human-piloted driving will continue to be a large part of the Lexus experience.

“The technology in a future Lexus will be ‘my co-pilot that helps me live my most amazing life,'” Sato continues. “We will continue to offer a human-focused Lexus driving experience. We will never forget the value of driving for luxury customers.”

AutoshowsConceptsRumors

Lexus to Show Electric Vehicle Concept at Tokyo Motor Show

Lexus Concept LF-SA Tokyo

Lexus will show a concept for their first all-electric vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year — from Motor1:

There’s not much to report about the study itself at this point, but we know it’s going to take the shape of a small hatchback-like vehicle with a somewhat radical design language. Lexus hasn’t released a teaser image yet (and we expect to get one in the weeks before the show).

That said, the concept appears to take the brand’s spindle grille to the next level. The now-ubiquitous shape totally dominates the front end, as it bleeds from the front fascia and merges with the windshield of the EV concept.

The fact that this vehicle doesn’t fit into a clearly defined segment means it will a concept in the truest sense of the word. Even so, it’s likely the concept will be powered by the in-wheel electric motors Lexus is currently developing, making it a technology showcase.

(The Lexus LF-SA concept is the only vehicle that remotely comes close to the description provided, the image above is a sketch from one of that car’s designers.)

Tech

Lexus to Take Different Approach to Pure Electric Vehicles by Using In-Wheel Motors

Lexus LF-FC Concept

Digital Trends spoke with Lexus executive vice-president Koji Sato about the brand’s plans for full electric vehicles, and received more detail than expected:

While full technical specifications remain under wraps, Sato revealed Lexus will soon invest a substantial amount of money into a platform developed specifically to underpin electric cars. His research and development department is also working on in-wheel electric motors, a setup in which the four wheels operate independently, though he conceded the technology isn’t ready for production yet.

“The in-wheel motor is just a concept, it will take years to make that technology possible, but we will continue to pursue this exciting technology,” Sato promised.

This technology likely goes hand-in-hand with the new solid state batteries and e-TNGA platform Toyota is developing for their upcoming wave of electric vehicles.

Electric cars currently on sale have simply replaced the conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with batteries and electric motors, but the idea of in-wheel motors has been picking up momentum — the Nissan BladeGlider prototype utilizes a similar technology, and Japanese component company Nidec expects to start supplying OEMs with in-wheel motors by 2023.

(Announcing technology before an official debut is a new tactic from Lexus, and I hope to see more of this advance promotion in the future.)

Lexus LC: First GenerationUnited KingdomVideos

Video: Lexus LC Convertible at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Lexus LC

Lexus has released video of the LC Convertible taking part in the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb:

There’s still no official confirmation in regards to the convertible’s roof, though EVO Magazine feels confident in naming it a soft-top:

The design of the open-top model will remain similar to the production coupe, with eye-catching futuristic design cues alongside an exotic, muscular stance. The roof will be a fabric unit, completely electrified of course, and slip underneath a new tonneau that contributes to the new rear-end design.

Motortrend was less sure, but came to the same conclusion:

Although Lexus didn’t outright confirm that the LC convertible would be a softtop, the team did point out that the technology with such tops has improved over the years—likely making it more viable for Lexus’ flagship two-door.

If Lexus does go with a lighter-weight and less complex soft top, it’ll be in good company. The new BMW 8 Series uses a soft top, and we’ve heard rumors that the next-gen Mercedes-Benz SL will stop using a hard top at the end of this generation.

Lexus IS: Third GenerationPhotochops

Next-Generation Lexus IS & IS F Sedans Coming in 2021?

Lexus IS Next-Generation

The next-generation Lexus IS sedan will have a three-engine lineup and will also be offered as a high-performance IS F, according to Japanese website Response.

Let’s tackle the rumoured powertrains first — the 2.0L turbo from the current model will be carried over as a base model, as will the 2.5L hybrid currently offered on the IS 300h outside of North America. A new 2.4L turbo engine has been tasked to replace the outdated 3.5L V6 that’s been a staple of the model for over a decade.

The next-generation model will debut in 2021 and share a platform with the Japanese marketToyota Crown. It’s expected that the IS will increase slightly in overall length.

The bigger news is the reappearance of the high-performance IS F, which was discontinued in 2015 after the current model was introduced. Response is reporting that the 3.5L twin-turbo V6 from the LS 500 will be the powertrain, delivering 416 horsepower and paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Lexus LC: First GenerationSales ReportsUSA

Lexus Expects Convertible to Make up Half of LC Sales in USA

Lexus LC Convertible Sales

Website Motor1 spoke to Lexus LC Convertible chief engineer Koji Sato about sales expectations for the new drop-top:

“In the U.S. market, the convertible will share almost half [of sales] with the coupe,” Sato notes. “That means we are expecting the same level of excitement in that market.” Cities like Los Angeles and Miami, which “don’t get a lot of rain,” he says, make more sense for the LC Convertible than many other global markets.

Lexus USA sold 1,979 LC coupes last year, and are on track to sell less than 1,000 units this year. Projected out, this would put the LC Convertible put the LC Convertible at a peak of approximately 1,000 units per year in the USA — a modest ambition for a new vehicle, but understandable given the small market for a flagship drop-top.

EuropeEventsLexus LC: First Generation

Lexus LC Convertible Arrives at Dealerships Next Year

Lexus LC Convertible Front Goodwood

Autocar reports that the Lexus LC Convertible will go on sale next year, along with some other obvious details:

Autocar understands that a production LC Convertible has been prioritized over a range-topping F variant of the LC in Lexus’s product plan due to its higher potential for global sales.

The production version of the LC Convertible is likely to be offered in both the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 in the LC500, and the 3.5-litre V6 in the LC500h hybrid variant, which, coupled to a pair of electric motors, produces 354bhp.

It’s set to weigh more than the 1935kg coupé on which it is based, meaning a slight drop in top speed and acceleration times.

Autocar does contain a sliver of insight here — a hybrid powertrain is necessary in markets outside North America, and the required batteries likely necessitated a soft-top roof over a hard-top.

(There is still no confirmation about the type of roof, but LC Convertible Chief Engineer Koji Sato tipped a soft-top at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.)

Lexus LC Convertible