"Nice concept," I say to Lexus's European boss Alain Uyttenhoven. "The LF-SA is definitely going to be my main line of questioning during this interview slot."

"In which case," he interjects, "you are about to be sorely disappointed. Let me say it now, and clear: we are not committed to making this car." It turns out that I was not Uyttenhoven's first interview of the day at the Geneva motor show - and some colleagues from the continent had tried hard to write the controversial Lexus city car concept into the product plan, at around 2017.

Not a chance, says the man in charge - although intriguingly, he stops short of saying that Lexus isn't at least curious about the idea of building a small car. "We show the car today," Uyttenhoven tells me, "and we will get reactions. We hope they are positive reactions. And then we will start to study."

They should get this process in motion now - not because the LF-SA met with universal approval (its styling certainly split opinion), but because the baby premium sector is an area of the market that Lexus can no longer afford to ignore. In fact, I'd go further and suggest that a small Lexus hybrid city car - perhaps not so overtly styled as the LF-SA, but certainly featuring a tall body shape and a crossover-esque raised seating position - could be just the car to take Lexus to the next level in Europe.

It's been considered before, apparently; Lexus officials took a long, hard look at the Toyota iQ before concluding that it wouldn't work with their badging on it. 'Small' and 'premium' were slightly uncomfortable bedfellows even five years ago.

But now consumers are lapping it up - and Uyttenhoven knows it. "We know there is a downsizing trend in the market," he says, "and that people are not making an automatic connection any more between big cars and luxury, and big cars and premium. People are ready to accept that small things can be expensive things."

That alone seems like a persuasive argument for a small sub-CT Lexus to be given serious consideration. And that's why I don't buy Alain's instructions to write off the LF-SA - or at least a car with a similar mission statement. Perhaps 2017 is a bit early. But I'll be astonished if there isn't a baby Lexus by 2020.