Its decade-long sales crown in the United States being stolen (and resoundingly so), Lexus has recognized it needs a change in its product lineup. For years Lexus has held an allure being the reliable luxury manufacturer – you know, the relentless pursuit of perfection. But recalls and bad press have tattered that image somewhat, along with a generally lackluster product line. For Lexus the shining star of the lineup has been the rear-wheel drive IS.
The first efforts of a new era for the company (so they say) were said to be the new GS sedan. It debuted a bit more bold design, with a spindle grille, and more importantly what Lexus is billing as an engaging driving experience. We’ll have to drive it to see for ourselves, but the indications are that it is a big improvement over its predecessor in that regard. The GS, we thought, was the future of Lexus styling.
A new concept coming at the Detroit show could preview an even bolder direction though, one we could see on models like the IS. In fact, the IS is where we are most likely to see styling risks taken. Do you think they are going to take any on the Camry-based ES? Probably not…
A teaser has been released that only shows a bit of the front-end area. It looks cool, but its just one part of the car…and it is a concept after all. No indication on how much this will influence production cars. What Lexus needs is a bold, engaging design strategy that will make people want to be seen in their cars.
A reputation for reliability just isn’t cutting it right now, especially with the free maintenance and attractive lease deals being offered by the competition. Can Lexus find its way? Right now they are at a low point in their product cycle. Once the GS, new IS and ES are all out we could see sales rise significantly. Whether they can fix underlying problems with their brand though remains to be seen.