Mark Templin, the general manager of Lexus’s US operation, hinted that the sub-RX SUV would be the most likely new addition to the Lexus line-up as the growth of that segment was proving impossible to ignore.
Templin revealed no details of the proposed new Lexus, but he admitted that Lexus was in no rush to expand its line-up. So the new sub-RX SUV, speculatively seen here in our artist’s impression, is unlikely to be seen before the middle of the decade.
Templin acknowledged that might seem to run counter to parent firm Toyota’s past approach to product development, which emphasised speed to market, but he added that Toyota “has started to build cars more slowly again”. That’s apparently a response to the maker’s quality and safety issues that created so much trouble in recent years.
The LF-LC is understood to be about four years from production, with Lexus keen to cash in on the success of the concept. “The LF-LC was a smash hit,” said Templin, “and everyone is asking us to build that car without change.”
Templin said that Lexus has no plan to try to keep pace with the product plans of rivals such as Audi, Mercedes or BMW.But more hybrid versions of existing models are likely, including a smaller hybrid system for the upcoming IS and the recently launched GS. “Lexus is absolutely dedicated to hybrids,” said Templin.
By 2014 or 2015, Lexus expects to have at least eight hybrids in its global portfolio.
One product not in Lexus’s plans is a model smaller than the CT200h. Templin believes that this niche is better served by the Toyota brand.