Lexus is open to developing models below the CT200h hatch and the just-launched NX SUV.
Speaking to Autocar magazine, Alain Uyttenhoven, head of Lexus Europe, hinted that a smaller-than-NX SUV both “made sense” and was “not impossible”, although he declined to confirm or deny whether such a model was on the drawing board.
According to Uyttenhoven, European, Japanese and Chinese automotive tastes are trending towards smaller cars, and that this might act to spur Lexus into developing smaller models and diversifying its portfolio. Doing so would lessen Lexus’ reliance on the US market, which currently accounts for around half of the brand’s 500,000 annual sales.
Uyttenhoven also noted that around 60 per cent of sales by premium marques in Europe occur below 40,000 euros ($57,500). At present only the CT at 27,600 euros ($39,700) and IS at 34,200 euros ($49,200) sit under that price bar.
The smallest cars in the Lexus’ global range are the hybrid-only CT200h hatch and the recently unveiled NX SUV. Above these two sit the IS, GS and LS rear-wheel drive sedans, as well as the RC coupe, LFA supercar and front-wheel drive Toyota Avalon-based ES.
As far as larger cars go, Uyttenhoven thinks that it’s unlikely that the large LS will ever be powered by a four-cylinder engine. Instead, he predicts that by 2020 a performance version of the LS may be equipped with a fuel-cell drivetrain.