Lexus is expected to lose its luxury segment crown here in the U.S. this year, due mostly to the production delays caused by the Japan’s recent earthquake, but even without the natural disaster the upmarket Toyota division had been losing ground to rivals.
Another key reason for the closing gap in sales is that Lexus’ sales are heavily skewed towards its luxury SUV models such as the RX and LX lines at a time when the market is moving away from such vehicles.
However, to reclaim its position as the country’s top luxury auto brand and invigorate its lineup, Lexus is planning several significant updates in the coming years including the addition of some all-new models. The first will be the production version of the recently revealed LF-Gh concept, the redesigned GX sedan, which should bow in at the end of the year.
But after this, Lexus’ Australian chief Tony Cramb revealed to The Age, there will be a new seven-seat crossover, a compact SUV and possibly even a high-performance version of the CT 200h. There will also be a range of new customization options, including an expansion of the current F-Sport range of performance accessories.
''New arrivals are going to play a big part [of our push towards record Lexus sales],'' Cramb said. ''Obviously, we need a smaller SUV … that's something that's high on the agenda for us.”
2011 Lexus CT 200h F Sport
As for the other models, the seven-seater crossover will provide stiffer competition to the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML, unlike the current RX, which is limited to just five seats. The CT 200h, meanwhile, will likely be joined by a new CT 300h packing a bigger engine and more powerful electric motor.
Further down the line there may also be a CT F model designed to compete against the likes of the BMW 1-Series M Coupe and Audi RS3. Pictured above is the CT 200h F-Sport concept from last year’s Sydney Motor Show, which previews some of the sportier elements that could appear in a high-performance version of the hybrid hatch.