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Lexus plans 'a car in every category'

Out there: The design of the Lexus LF-NX concept is all sharp angles and jagged lines.

Japan's luxury leader Lexus gets set to push the excitement button with new models


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9 Oct 2013

LEXUS is preparing to fill gaps in its range to counter the avalanche of new models from its mainly European rivals – and Lexus Australia is firmly in the queue.

Although the roll-out is yet to be detailed, a compact SUV and sleek sports coupe are expected to be among the first cabs off the rank in the revitalisation of Toyota's prestige brand over the next few years.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley said Lexus International was committed to an on-going program of exciting new models to take the range to a new level, comparable with its main competitors.

“Eventually, we will have a car in every category,” he said. “This is not a 30-day fix, but a sustainable strategy to inject excitement into the brand.” Mr Hanley, who will host Lexus global executive vice president Mark Templin at the media launch of the new ES mid-range sedan in Australia in early November, said Lexus had the highest consumer satisfaction rating of any luxury car-maker, topped almost every quality rating and had the highest retained value in Australia.

But he said the company realised it was perceived as a “safe” brand, and need to move to shift on to a more adventurous footing without alienating current customers if it was to grow its sales base.

Mr Hanley stopped short of saying Lexus would produce a production version of the edgy LF-NX compact SUV, but said: “If that eventuates, I can tell you now our hands will be touching the clouds.” The LF-NX, which was revealed at the recent Frankfurt motor show, is tipped to appear in production form some time next year, probably with a toned down body and perhaps a mix of hybrid and four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

The vehicle is designed to attract more younger buyers to Lexus and to counter hot-selling European offerings such as the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Volvo XC60.

Considering the booming SUV market, it might well become Lexus's best-selling vehicle in Australia, helping to drive much needed sales growth over the next three years.

As GoAuto has reported elsewhere, a two-door sports car is likely to appear in the Lexus stand at this year's biennial Toyko motor show in November, perhaps signalling a Lexus assault on the mid-range sports coupe market populated by highly regarded cars such as the Audi A5 and upcoming BMW 4 Series.

The car could well be a production version of the slinky LF-LC concept that wowed show-goers at the 2012 Detroit motor show and then, in a modified form, at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney in October.

All of these new Lexus models will get a variation of the signature “spindle grille” and other “L Finesse” styling cues such as arrow-head-shaped LED daytime driving lights and L-shaped LED rear tail light treatments.

Mr Hanley, a veteran of more than two decades with Toyota Australia, said he was excited at the strategy being plotted by Lexus for its revitalisation.

“We believe we will have the product offerings over the next few years to complement our goals,” he said.

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