Timing is hard.
Toyota’s Lexus luxurious marque launched the fourth-generation Lexus LS for the 2007 mannequin 12 months, simply previous to an financial collapse that was adopted up by an anti-car/pro-SUV shift. Lexus, which averaged greater than 25,000 annual U.S. gross sales of its LS flagship sedan throughout its third technology after which topped 35,000 gross sales in 2007, all of a sudden discovered itself struggling to high the 10Ok marker.
Because the fourth-gen LS’s tenure got here to an finish, Lexus watched as demand for the LS shortly collapsed. From fewer than 11,000 gross sales in 2013 and fewer than 9,000 in 2014 to barely greater than 7,000 in 2015 and solely 5,514 in 2016, the as soon as vastly profitable Lexus LS — a former chief of America’s massive luxurious sedan class and the automotive that was accountable for the genesis of Lexus — turned an afterthought.
The fifth-generation Lexus LS is ready to go on sale this winter, and Lexus expects to see an enormous enhance in demand for the brand new automotive in 2018. Lexus doesn’t, nevertheless, count on the LS to generate something just like the form of curiosity the large sedan did previous to the proverbial world monetary disaster.
In line with Automotive Information, which says the 2018 Lexus LS500 might be priced round $76,000 (up by roughly $2,500 in contrast with the MY2017 LS), Lexus anticipates U.S. gross sales of roughly 1,000 per 30 days with the brand new mannequin.
Over the past 12 months, Lexus has averaged round 500 LS gross sales per 30 days.
Doubling quantity can be a formidable accomplishment, although that might solely take the Lexus LS again to roughly 12,000 annual gross sales, hardly the 27,400-unit annual common Lexus produced within the half-decade earlier than the recession. Occasions, in fact, have modified. BMW bought 17,500 copies of the 7 Collection per 12 months between 2003-2007 however now averages 10,800 per 12 months. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class averaged 23,300 annual U.S. gross sales between 2003-2007 however now averages 18,200 per 12 months. Jaguar used to promote 7,700 XJs per 12 months however now sells four,400 yearly.
It’s a segment-wide curse, in different phrases, one which’s been adopted by an industry-wide blessing. These manufacturers all promote boatloads of SUVs/crossovers now, autos which have successfully changed massive luxurious sedans in lots of driveways.So how will Lexus ship on its forecast? “We do count on to draw folks from totally different manufacturers who might have drifted away,” says Lexus’ advertising and marketing basic supervisor, seemingly acknowledging that the outgoing Lexus LS didn’t do sufficient to maintain patrons within the fold. The brand new LS adopts an extended, decrease, wider look that emphasizes its non-SUV bodystyle, and Lexus says the model has taken on a extra performance-oriented tone, not wanting the LS to be seen merely because the sedate and cautious alternative.
This isn’t the primary time Lexus has been forthright with its gross sales expectations for a brand new automotive. The Lexus LC, with which the LS shares its turbocharged V6 and ten-speed automated, was meant to draw 400 U.S. patrons per 30 days. However after doing so in its first two months available on the market, LC gross sales slid to 313 in July and 291 in August, its fourth month of availability. Then again, Lexus was able to promote 2,200 copies of the entry-level NX crossover per 30 days and ended up greater than doubling that determine.
[Image: Toyota Motor Corp.]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Reality About Vehicles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.internet. Comply with on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.