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Templin Outlines Lexus' Future: Sub-RX CUV, LF-LC and more hybrids

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Old 08-14-12, 12:33 PM   #1
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Default Templin Outlines Lexus' Future: Sub-RX CUV, LF-LC and more hybrids

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Hybrids, Supercars and Compact Crossovers: Lexus Looking at Future Product Options
But don’t expect the Japanese luxury maker to keep up with its German rivals.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2012...oduct-options/

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.10, 2012

Shifting market trends have changed the face of the automotive luxury market – leading some manufacturers to flood showrooms with new models. By comparison to its German rivals, Lexus has taken a relatively cautious approach to product proliferation but that may have to change, suggested the Toyota luxury brands top U.S. executive.

While Mark Templin, general manager of the Toyota luxury brand, insists he is “not a big fan of” the rampant product proliferation “that calls for having 100 different models in your line-up,” he told TheDetroitBureau.com that Lexus is closely evaluating market trends and may very well need to add new models in the not-too-distant future.

The biggest challenge, he laughed, is that, “We’re running out of the alphabet,” as makers not only add more models but shift to alphanumeric naming policies.

The Lexus LF-LC Concept could reach showrooms shortly after mid-decade -- if it gets formal approval.

The most likely addition to the Lexus line-up, Templin hinted, would be a compact crossover smaller than the current RX line, one that could directly target competitors like the Mercedes-Benz GLK, BMW X3 and Audi Q5. But Lexus is in no rush, the executive cautioned, since the RX remains the best-selling luxury CUV by appealing to a broad range of crossover buyers.

The other segment under close study that Templin would discuss would return Lexus to the supercar market. The maker has all but sold out its LFA supercar and no additional production is planned. But the maker is weighing the potential for its potential successor.

“The LF-LC (concept) we showed in Detroit this year was a smash hit,” Templin asserted, “and everyone is asking us to build that car without change.”

But he cautioned that if Lexus does bring the LF-LC to market it could take as much as four years to complete its engineering. Templin acknowledged that might seem to run counter to Toyota’s past approach to product development – which emphasized speed to market – but added that Toyota “has started to build cars more slowly again.”

That appears to be a response to the quality and safety problems the maker faced several years ago, which some have blamed on an over-reliance on computer simulations and a lack of slower real-world testing.

The other area where Lexus is likely to expand its portfolio is in the hybrid market, Templin indicated during a lengthy interview.

“Absolutely,” the executive stressed, “we’re dedicated to hybrids and will have a lot.” By 2014 or 2015, Lexus expects to have at least eight hybrids, in fact, in its global product portfolio – though not all will necessarily make it to U.S. shores.

The maker already has more than any other luxury marque and is just getting ready to roll out a new version of its flagship Lexus LS 600h model. Meanwhile, the recently added ES 300h is out-performing the maker’s initially ambitious targets – dealers in San Francisco and some other parts of the country having to put customers on waiting lists for the hybrid sedan.

Not all gas-electric offerings have been big hits, though. The compact HS 250h failed to generate much enthusiasm and has been dropped from the line-up, though the similarly sized CT 200h has done significantly better.

The hybrid CT is the smallest model in the line-up and competes in the emerging U.S. market for small luxury cars. Yet even with new offerings coming from the likes of BMW, with its updated 1-Series, and the addition of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Templin said Lexus isn’t looking to downsize its line-up. He questioned whether there’s real demand for such small luxury cars and argued that makers like BMW and Mercedes are simply being forced into those segments to meet increasingly stringent U.S. fuel economy standards.

“We don’t have to,” Templin said, noting that with the mainstream Toyota brand selling “millions” of small cars like the Corolla and Yaris, Lexus doesn’t have to stretch its own brand down-market.

Nonetheless, Templin acknowledged the traditional definition of luxury is rapidly changing. For one thing, demand for high-line products like the LS – and such competitors as the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-Series – isn’t likely to keep pace with the overall growth in luxury car sales.

At its peak, in 1990, the Lexus LS generated 42,806 sales, and even when the outgoing version was introduced, six years ago, it pulled in 2,000 to 3,000 buyers a month. Last year, however, sales totaled just 9,568. And even with the major improvements Lexus has made in the new 2013 LS, Templin forecast sales won’t reach much more than 1,000 a month.

Complicating matters, the premium-luxury segment has seen a raft of new product entries, such as the Hyundai Equus, so the Lexus share isn’t likely to reach past levels. As recently as 2007, it had a 37.8% share, according to Ward’s Automotive. For the first seven months of 2012 that was down to 11.0%, though that should rebound somewhat with the upcoming launch of the new LS sedan – which will add several new versions including the F Sport.

Templin insisted it still makes sense to market a big car like the LS, though he acknowledged, “In the future, I think we’ll see multiple flagships in our line-up and (from) other manufacturers.”

That, he hinted, could include a supercar like the LF-LC — reportedly a personal favorite of Toyota Motor Co. President Akio Toyoda. The grandson of Toyota’s founder, Toyoda has been actively involved in the Lexus brand, Templin confirmed.

The Japanese executive personally came to the States to introduce a sportier version of the GS sedan in 2011 and “he’s had a huge influence” on the brand, pressing it to develop more passionate products, said Templin.

“He’s looking for us to change the way the company thinks,” added the Lexus general manager.
Not incredibly insightful, but I will take any continued good news about the LF-LC!
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Old 08-14-12, 12:39 PM   #2
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Thanks Mike. Would like to see 4 door coupes....I think we spoke about the LFB coming or the next supercar...not to be confused with LF LC.

Dear writer, its LF-LC. This is the LF-C. There is no LFC.

Click the image to open in full size.

LF-LC

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-14-12, 01:15 PM   #3
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good article. go lexus! for a smaller cuv i could see basically a tall CT with a bigger engine.
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Old 08-08-13, 06:04 AM   #4
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Arrow Update on Hybrids


Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand says it now is planning to offer 9 hybrid nameplates worldwide in 2014, rather than the 8 models it said were planned during last year’s New York auto show.

Paul Williamsen, national manager-strategic education support for Lexus International, makes the news with his announcement during the Designing for Technology session at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

Lexus already offers the hybrid ES, as well as hybrid versions of its IS, GS and LS sedans and RX cross/utility vehicle. The brand also sells the CT 200h dedicated hybrid.

Lexus offers a total of 9 nameplates across its range, but it’s unlikely the GX and LX SUVs in their current form would receive hybrid variants, as such versions of competing models have not sold well.

General Motors is blaming poor sales for the phaseout of its Cadillac Escalade SUV hybrid after the ’13 model year. WardsAuto engine-installation data shows just 3% of all Escalades built for the ’12 model year were hybrids.

Lexus has discussed the possibility of moving the body-on-frame GX or LX to a unibody platform. A few auto makers are offering hybrid versions of larger CUVs, notably Infiniti with its JX hybrid. Audi is set to bring the Q7 plug-in hybrid next year.

Lexus’ still-to-be-named hybrids could be all-new models, such as a production version of the LF-LC concept from the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A Lexus official confirmed to WardsAuto in March the vehicle was bound for showrooms to satisfy consumer demand.

Other media reports have said the Lexus LF-CC concept is marked to become a production model, with a variation of the GS 300h hybrid’s powertrain.

Williamsen concedes that in today’s ultra-competitive global luxury market, “just having the technology and product content may not be enough” to woo well-heeled consumers to Lexus.

With that in mind, the brand is upping its push by trying to reach consumers on the “gallery floor” rather than the dealer showroom. Lexus soon will open an “Intersect by Lexus” gallery in a trendy area of Tokyo, with other galleries planned for London, New York and Dubai.

“It’s not a car dealer; it may or may not actually display cars,”
Williamsen says of the cultural space.

Intersect by Lexus will offer handcrafted luxury goods by skilled Japanese tradesmen at the Tokyo gallery. But Williamsen says there is an underground parking area, dubbed “Akio’s garage” for Toyota President Akio Toyoda that likely will hold a Lexus vehicle or 2.

Lexus also has a new magazine, “Beyond by Lexus” that is not devoted to automotive, but discusses culture and social issues, Williamsen says.

He also hints Lexus will be expanding its role within motorsports, citing the 2012 and 2013 entries of the IS-F in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb challenge as a good sign that racing will become a bigger part of Lexus’ future.

“In the premium luxury segment, there is a strong motivation among buyers to pay attention to performance,” Williamsen says, noting greater motorsports participation could be an important selling tool for distributors and dealers.
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Old 08-08-13, 08:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
good article. go lexus! for a smaller cuv i could see basically a tall CT with a bigger engine.
cough.......RAV4......cough
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Old 08-08-13, 08:56 AM   #6
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cough.......RAV4......cough
For sure.

Lexus can pull of not only a hybrid Rav4-based CUV, but also an electric one, just like the Tesla-made electric Rav4.

It can easily be Lexus' first all-electric vehicle...
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Old 08-08-13, 08:58 AM   #7
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Mr. Williamsen is awesome, very active on social media, follows me on twitter Always has amazing insight and content on his world travels. Glad to see him in the article.
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Old 08-08-13, 09:24 AM   #8
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For sure.

Lexus can pull of not only a hybrid Rav4-based CUV, but also an electric one, just like the Tesla-made electric Rav4.

It can easily be Lexus' first all-electric vehicle...
All hardwares already exist, just leather wrapped it and add some wood panels, oh and make some new badges..........CX250 sounds good
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Old 08-08-13, 09:53 AM   #9
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All hardwares already exist, just leather wrapped it and add some wood panels, oh and make some new badges..........CX250 sounds good
CX exists already for mazda.

Let's do CTX
but we already know it's going to be called NX

And yes, bring the LF-LC already
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Old 08-08-13, 09:56 AM   #10
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All hardwares already exist, just leather wrapped it and add some wood panels, oh and make some new badges..........CX250 sounds good
Yup.

And to think that the electric Rav4 has 154 hp but a rubber-burning 273 ft-lbs of torque, it can surely have F-Sport aspirations...
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Old 08-08-13, 10:35 AM   #11
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right on Lexus !!! Bring it !!
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Old 08-08-13, 11:28 AM   #12
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But he cautioned that if Lexus does bring the LF-LC to market it could take as much as four years to complete its engineering. Templin acknowledged that might seem to run counter to Toyota’s past approach to product development – which emphasized speed to market – but added that Toyota “has started to build cars more slowly again.”
I hate the slowness, but that's part of the reason these cars are so much more reliable. Every T is crossed and every i dotted. They know the 2006-2011 L-Finesse cars really lost a lot of quality, CT and 4GS really turned around the build quiality back on track.
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Old 08-09-13, 10:07 PM   #13
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^^^^ true ....

Want the RC F so bad!
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Old 08-09-13, 10:19 PM   #14
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They're showing the LF-LC in their Hybrid Golden Opportunity commercials alongside the rest of the lineup. I can't wait until it comes to production.
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Old 08-10-13, 09:32 PM   #15
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I think 2016 we will see the LF LC coupe. The RC-F came out of nowhere and now were looking at next year for its release. So Im betting 2015 we'll start seeing rumors and testing of it. Also according to Japanese motorsport sources, either the LF LC or LF CC (RC-F) will be running in SuperGT next year in place of the SC430.
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Old 08-10-13, 09:32 PM
 
 
 
 
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2013, 2014, 300h, club, coupe, cuv, cx, door, future, hybrid, lexus, lfb, rx, smaller, supercar

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