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Lexus won’t drop Lexus RC price

Sporting chance: The Lexus RC was launched in late 2014 and, true to form of other sportscars, sales have slowed in the past year.

Price-slicing tactics used by rivals off the table for the Lexus RC

9 Jun 2017

DESPITE slowing sales, Lexus Australia will not drop the price of its RC coupe, with the company’s local chief executive Peter McGregor disagreeing with the sticker-slicing volume-boosting tactics employed by rival brands such as BMW.

Sales of the RC have dropped from 248 in the first five months of 2016 to 142 units year-to-date, according to VFACTS May 2017 results, down a hefty 42.7 per cent and in the Lexus range eclipsed only by the 50 per cent drop for the soon-to-be replaced LS.

There were, however, no plans to chop the pricetags of the RC range that retails between $65,090 plus on-road costs for the base RC200t and $135,490 for the powerful RC F, despite a trend with some rivals – such as Jaguar’s F-Type and more recently BMW’s M4 Pure Edition – to lower prices as fashion-focused coupes age.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the Lexus LC in Tyabb, Victoria, Mr McGregor confirmed “it’s not on my planning horizon” to price-cut the RC, while taking a shot at such tactics employed by some premium brands.

“I mean, if we took the RC now, and we decided that we would reposition it in price, first of all you’ve got to make an assumption that the profitability figures allow for that to happen,” he said.

“But what does that say to the people who have already bought the car, who have in good faith purchased a Lexus product … and their amazing experience is we drop the price on the product?“For whatever reason, and I understand, I don’t wish to comment what other people do, that’s their decision, (but) I don’t think that’s the right thing to do and I have no plan to change (and) do that with RC.”

BMW’s update of its 4 Series coupe and convertible range this month saw the introduction of a sub-flagship M4 Pure Edition that lowered entry to the 331kW/550Nm flagship by $10,000 to $139,900 – now coming within $5K of the 351kW/530Nm RC F.

Although bolstered by convertible body styles, medium-sized two-door rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1374 sales, up 167.8 per cent year-to-date) and BMW 4 Series (514, down 29.3 per cent) continue to outsell the RC range.

Lexus Australia has also been cautious in projecting volumes for the RC’s larger coupe sibling, the $190,000 LC launched this week, with 100 units projected to be sold in its first full year in 2018.

In the first five months of this year, its closest and much older rivals have already outstripped that figure should they continue on-trend throughout the year, with the BMW 6 Series (64 sales, down 12.3 per cent) and Jaguar F-Type (52 units, falling 42.9 per cent) having dropped significantly from below former figures.

Asked whether it remained a challenge for buyers to perceive Lexus as a sportscar brand given the RC’s sharp decline and the LC’s projected figures being merely on par with older rivals, Mr McGregor replied: “No, I don’t think so.

“I think the volume changes, especially in the coupe or even in the convertible market,” he continued.

“If you went back and looked at the various coupes and convertibles that have been introduced over a period of time as well, and not just for us, I talk about just the market as well, they tend to almost follow a fashion cycle.

“They tend to be very much in demand when they’re first introduced and then after a period of time, and that period of time can vary I acknowledge by product or by manufacturer, but after a period of time they go off. And they will lift again when you have a significant product change.

“And then they’ll go through the cycle again, and that cycle is probably more pronounced I think for a coupe or convertible vehicle than it is for an SUV or a sedan. And I think if you look at the numbers, not just for Lexus but for any of our competitors, you’d probably see much the same sort of thing.”

Lexus Australia has not communicated when a refresh could greet the RC coupe, however, with the local outfit focused on launching the new LC, as well as a facelifted CT200h small hatchback and NX medium SUV range, and all-new LS limousine, later this year.

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