Lexus to expand its lineup with nine new cars to reclaim U.S. sales throne

Article by Anita Panait, on January 16, 2012

Lexus is planning to implement a truckload of revisions to its lineup this year to boost its U.S. sales by around 21% and come back in contention for the luxury sales crown.  On the road is an expanded line-up, which could include: a car-based, seven-seat people mover; new CT hatchback variants; and a sporty coupe based from Lexus LF-LC hybrid concept presented at the Detroit Auto Show.

Other changes include the phasing out of its low-end HS hybrid and a gradual shift from body-on-frame trucks to unibodies. The company will also launch nine new or updated models this year, Mark Templin, Lexus general manager, revealed on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

The rollout includes three F-Sport variations; four Lexus' redesigned sedans-- the GS 350 and GS 450h due in February, and ES 350, IS 250 and 350 and LS 460 and 600h revisions, says Autonews.

The company will also roll out a refreshed LX SUV. Karl Schlicht, Lexus’ head of product planning and marketing, said the strategy to reclaim the U.S. sales throne is to roll out products aggressively.

Lexus, however, has no plans to infiltrate smaller segments. Lexus’ top honchos told Automotive News that the carmaker’s goal is to invigorate the brand, make it sportier and infuse it with emotion.  With the goal of reclaiming the crown it held for 11 years until 2011, Lexus aims to sell 240,000 units in 2012, up from 198,552 in 2011.

Templin is confident that the luxury carmaker would be able to eclipse the 2012 sales target.  "We will grow more than any other luxury brand this year," Templin said during the Detroit auto show.  The sporty coupe based from Lexus LF-LC hybrid concept will have a possible price range of between $100,000 and $130,000, Schlicht said.

2013 LX 570 from Lexus can fit in eight passengers with an interior that has been upgraded. Outside there is the alloy 20-inch wheel design put in plus a new spindle grille. Overall, it delivers a daily drive that is luxurious but continues to perform well even on the most demanding of off-road courses. The new design of the LX 570 is evident for both the front section and the rear one. While the bumpers for the rear and the front have been redesigned, the bumper protector has been improved by adding in a stainless steel highlight.

The design of the headlamp is new as well and the fog lamp bezels have been made larger. Complementing this are the new daytime running lights with LED. On the rear, redesigned as well are the tail lamps with the surround of the rear license plate a getting a new look.

Meanwhile the cover for the tow hitch has been integrated even more. On the side mirrors, turn signals have been put in. And by making the moldings of the body side wider, it allows for an enhanced appearance. For the colors, Golden Almond Metallic and Twilight Gray Metallic will no longer be available for the exterior and instead there is now Satin Cashmere Metallic and Medium Nebula Gray Pearl.

In terms of performance, LX 570 does not disappoint as the 5.7-liter V8 engine fitted to it offers the needed punch and the right towing power as expected from this segment.

Output is at 383 horsepower coming in at 5,600 rpm with top torque of 403 lb.-ft. possible at 3,600 rpm. Since a number of LX customers find the need to tow using their vehicles, about 90% of the maximum torque is available even at 2,200 rpm. Paired to this engine is the automatic 6-speed transmission. Since the transmission is controlled electronically, it has the capability to determine what the current condition of the road is.

The transmission then predicts what the driver is likely to do and chooses what the necessary gear ratio is needed based on driving conditions and speed. This transmission ensures a smooth, almost imperceptible operation, even on trail driving or when running at very low speeds. For those who want to change transmission manually, the driver can simply activate the sequential shift mode. The changes and upgrade are not limited to the exterior of the LX 570 as the interior experienced this as well.

There is for example the mahogany wood trim and Cashmere as the trim color of the leather is replaced with parchment. Updated as well is the instrument panel and it even has a new color display. Giving the instrument panel a fresher look are the front side air vents and the center instrument cluster having a dark chrome finish. Adding to this feel is the glove box with the top portion getting a new chrome highlight.

While the cooling for the seats in the front has been improved, the middle row now contains a120-volt power outlet. The driver’s seat in particular has been fitted with the Easy Access system allowing for ingress and egress to be easier. This is because once the driver turns off the ignition, the seat and the steering wheel are immediately retracted.

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