A senior Toyota executive says sedans in the Lexus range will need to evolve to become sportier in order to fight back against the ever-growing consumer preference for crossovers.
Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota’s global branding chief and head of advanced design, told Automotive News, “Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve”.
According to Fukuichi, Lexus will address this by offering sedans that are more coupe-like in their driving feel and style. This process has already begun with the fifth-generation LS, which will go on sale next year.
The new LS features more emotive styling, a fastback-style shape, a lower centre of gravity, and has been geared towards owner drivers, as well as rear-seat passengers.
Looking into his crystal ball, Fukuichi noted, “At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away”.
Fukuichi is also keen for Lexus to once again produce a wagon, although there are no current plans to do so. In his ideal world, there would be space in Lexus’ range for a wagon that sits between the traditional archetype and today’s high-riding crossovers.
During 2016, Lexus sold 9027 vehicles in Australia. Just over 39 per cent of those were traditional hatches (CT), sedans (IS, ES, GS and LS) and coupes (RC), with the IS (1594), CT (901) and RC (518) making up the bulk of that number.