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Lexus Thinks Sedans May Ultimately Die

Lexus Thinks Sedans May Ultimately Die

Coming off the heals of rumors that the next-generation Lexus GS may be dead, Toyota executives are publicly expressing worry that the sedan in general may ultimately die. In a report from Automotive News Toyota’s global branding chief Tokuo Fukuichi outlines Lexus’ thought process on the future of the sedan.

The thesis of their thought process is that the current generation of crossovers and SUVs drive more like cars than ever before. As such, the stakes are raised for sedans to drive even better and offer a set of dynamics that cannot be matched by crossovers of SUVs. Fukuichi also outlines a trend of premium customers becoming more casual, forcing luxury brands to become more casual as well.

In an effort to combat these trends, Lexus is evolving its sedan strategy as what sounds like a last-ditch effort to save the segment. As noted with the 2018 LS sedan, the brand is evolving its sedan design to feature more of a fastback design and possibly even bring back wagons. The design changes are pairing with enhanced driving dynamics to court buyers back from crossovers.

Given the ever increasing popularity of crossovers and SUVs, it seems a bit far-fetched to think that Lexus can buck this trend. Nonetheless, the brand is going to apparently make an effort to do just that.

Fukuichi ended the conversation by asserting that the traditional square, three-box sedan will be dead in the coming years. The question will be what–if anything–takes its place outside of crossovers and SUVs.





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. 2b2
    germeezy1
    Odd that the members of the global luxury triumvirate have quite divergent ideas in reference to the saloon.


    did you mean the Chinese global-triumverate?

    2b2
    quote=AutomotiveNews

    ...taking on the Germans. Known collectively in China as ABB, short for Audi, Benz and BMW, the Germans scooped up early market share by beating Cadillac to China with local factories...

    ...CHASING "ABB"...
    germeezy1
    Odd that the members of the global luxury triumvirate have quite divergent ideas in reference to the saloon.
    arutherford
    member12
    Those days are gone. They sold 58,299 units in 2016 in the US. Canadian sales are as inconsequential as the country. The Lexus ES is down from about 73,000 of the 2013 Lexus ES with less-ugly front end.

    The 2017 model is actually down 40% every month this year so far too.

    Every spindle-grilled sedan in the Lexus lineup has had a negative response from the market except the sporty Lexus IS. That's a real shame because the Lexus ES, GS, and LS are very good cars with excellent interiors.


    I was talking globally. The ES sold almost 46,000 units in China last year. Combine the two and Middle Eastern sales, well over 100K.
    Tone
    Once upon a time, sedans were very practical and rugged vehicles. You could carry six people and have tons of room for all their stuff. You were as at-home on the interstate as you were on dirt roads and the rocky path to the cottage. You could tow a camper or a utility trailer. If you wanted all that and a bit of rakish style, you could get a two-door based on the same platform.

    But, the dominant design metaphor after WWII was the sports car. Nearly all cars aspired to some degree of sportiness. Sedans and coupes got lower, longer and wider which made them harder to get in and out of and less adept at carrying people and stuff. As time went on, the focus shifted to sports-car like handling (the advent of the sports sedan), so ruggedness went away and light, stiff structures and handling oriented suspensions (and wheel/tire packages) took their place. Sedans became less at home on unpaved roads -- even poorly maintained paved roads might eat a few expensive alloy rims. Sedans became more stylish -- so much so that people started to buy fewer coupes ... why give up four doors when the sedan looked as good as the coupe?

    But, the need for a practical, rugged, go-anywhere vehicles -- and the people who buy them -- didn't go away. First, they found them in SUVs. Then, the CUV offered a lot of what sedans once did. And, CUVs flourished. And, already, we're heading down the path of the performance CUV, with more rakish styling. Follow that approach and, eventually, we'll be back to AWD sedans!!

    In the end, we as buyers are conflicted between what we need and what we want; what makes sense and how we want people to see us. The designs that hit the sweet spot continue to change and evolve, but if sedans truly go away, some spin-off of CUVs will evolve to fill that current need.
    Andrew_L
    member12
    Those days are gone. They sold 58,299 units in 2016 in the US. Canadian sales are as inconsequential as the country. The Lexus ES is down from about 73,000 of the 2013 Lexus ES with less-ugly front end.

    The 2017 model is actually down 40% every month this year so far too.

    Every spindle-grilled sedan in the Lexus lineup has had a negative response from the market except the sporty Lexus IS. That's a real shame because the Lexus ES, GS, and LS are very good cars with excellent interiors.


    Yea ES hasn't sold over 100k in a long time

    Since 2002 it's peek was 2007 at 82,867
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