The luxury brand is falling behind its German rivals.
Lexus has a lineup in need of a refresh. The brand, which once led its German rivals, is falling behind, according to a new report from Automotive News. While the company has freshened many of its sedans, its crossovers and SUVs have languished. Consumers are gobbling up crossovers and new debt, and BMW and Mercedes-Benz have hustled to roll out new, competitive crossovers they want. Lexus is next.
The publication spoke with Paul LaRochelle, chair of the brand’s dealer council and general manager of a Lexus franchise in Annapolis, Maryland, who said Lexus would make “significant gains” over the next several years with new and refreshed products. Lexus plans to launch at least one new mid-size crossover, according to LaRochelle, adding that it’d be a seven- or eight-passenger crossover. However, he didn’t say when it would arrive.
Lexus will also update its existing crossovers as some are long overdue for a refresh. The current Lexus LX that’s on sale today debuted for the 2008 model year. The GX also feels dated, debuting in 2010. Both feel behind the times compared to their competitors. Lexus’ smaller crossovers – the NX and RX – are newer than their larger siblings, but they need a mid-cycle refresh. The UX is one of Lexus’ latest crossovers, and it debuted in 2018.
Lexus’ flat sales and stagnating product lineup don’t mean Lexus is resting on its laurels after dominating the luxury car segment. Last November, Lexus introduced the UX 300e, the brand’s first electric crossover. It’s destined for China, Japan, and Europe, offering 250 miles (400 kilometers) of range on the NEDC cycle and 201 horsepower (150 kilowatts).
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The next few years will be interesting for both Lexus and automakers in general. Consumers are still eager for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, even as overall new car sales level off. Automakers are researching and developing electric powertrains while working on autonomous cars and semi-self-driving technologies. It’s a lot happening all at once, and it’ll be fascinating to see what happens.