Japanese company's plans to downsize current model range could lead to a new sports-utility vehicle below the mid-sized NX

Lexus could launch an SUV smaller than the new NX as it looks to downsize its model range, the firm’s European vice president Alain Uyttenhoven has revealed.

Uyttenhoven said the launch of a small SUV was “not impossible” for Lexus and such a model “made sense” for the brand, but he stopped short of confirming it for production.

Lexus is looking to downsize and diversify its model range to reduce its reliance on the North American market, which accounts for around half of its 500,000-plus unit annual sales.

Uyttenhoven said tastes in European, Chinese and Japanese markets were likely to converge and lead to the development of smaller models, allowing Lexus the opportunity to broaden its product offering.

He noted that premium cars were getting ever smaller, and around 60 per cent of premium models sold in Europe were sold for less than 40,000 euros. “The premium market starts with a car as small as the Audi A1,” he said.

At the other end of the market, Uyttenhoven said he did not see a future for a four-cylinder engine in Lexus’s LS range-topper, with fuel-cell technology more likely to represent economy gains in this segment, possibly by 2020.

“As soon as fuel cells can be made for performance driving, you’ll see fuel cells in high-end cars,” he said. 

Read Autocar's first drive in the new Lexus NX

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

Lexus NX

Lexus marches into Evoque territory with an eye-catching SUV

Join the debate

Comments
2

18 July 2014

please get someone in from Mazda or Infiniti to style it for you.

18 July 2014

I'm guessing it will be based on the Auris Cross thingy that Toyota are looking to build to rival the CR-V

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be