Lexus' much anticipated IS Convertible went on sale in Tokyo today, a car that the Toyota luxury division has been working on for the past year or so in order to compete with similar offerings from BMW and Audi. With the new convertible, Lexus has revealed that it will be hoping to steal away sales from other premium brands, namely the 3-series and previous A4 convertibles.

Speaking with Automotive News, Lexus project manager Keiichi Nishiyama revealed that pricing for the car will start at under $40,000. Unsurprisingly, Lexus is targeting the U.S. market even though the financial crisis seems to be deepening rather than improving.

The carmaker is hoping to sell around 1,600 units of the IS250C per month around the world, but 70% of these sales are expected to come from the U.S. alone. That means that Lexus is expecting U.S. customers to account for around 1,120 units per month, or 13,400 sales per year.

Creating a new entry-level Lexus convertible means that customers will not have to rely on the expensive (and frankly outdated) SC convertible to get their top-down Lexus kicks. When the car arrives in the U.S. early next month, Lexus is hoping that it can pick up the slack of falling SC convertible sales. A convertible version of the IS 350 is expected to be launched later in the year.