Lexus has finalized the decision to build a new model in Japan starting late next year, but hasn’t confirmed what the nameplate will be.
A production shift will be made to make the new model possible, which will see 50,000 Lexus ES 350s being built in the automaker’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant in 2015. The factory in Kyushu, Japan that currently handles ES production will continue to build the ES 350, ES 250, and ES 300h hybrid in order to satisfy U.S. and global demand. But to make up for the 50,000 volume being shifted over to the Kentucky plant, the new nameplate will be built at the Kyushu plant.
As for what the vehicle will be, no confirmation was given by the Japanese automaker, but Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin did hint at what we will be seeing in the near future. Templin had comments on both a sports coupe and a crossover, saying that both vehicles are in a market that Lexus is lacking right now. Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda echoed that, saying Lexus needs something “more exciting,” and “more exhilarating.”
Given the recent success of the Scion FR-S, and all the recent reports that the LF-LC concept was heading to production, it’s likely that the new nameplate will be a sports coupe. Even Templin agrees that the current RX “covers its own segment, it covers a smaller segment, and it covers a larger segment.”
That means Lexus risks cannibalizing sales if it builds a new crossover. A sports coupe on the other hand, would reach out to a younger market for the brand, and right now the most exciting coupe offering Lexus has is the IS coupe.
[Source: Automotive News]
Discuss this story at LF-LCForum.com