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Lexus to stand by sedans and coupes like the 2023 LS and LC despite ultra-low sales volumes and wide-spread SUV adoption

Lexus said it will stand by its LS limousine and LC coupe despite single-digit sales in an SUV-dominated market.

Speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of its first ground-up EV, the RZ mid-size SUV, Lexus Australia has confirmed its plans to stick by sedans and coupes despite overwhelming demand for new SUV models.

The brand’s local chief, John Pappas explained ultra-niche models in its catalogue like the LS limousine and halo LC coupe, which have accrued just four and two sales respectively in Australia this year, would stick around as they were essential to the Japanese luxury brand’s identity.

“They are worth keeping in Australia for brand purposes,” explained Pappas. “Our buyer is diverse, and we want to continue to be represented in all of those segments.”

He even noted we’ll be getting updated models as they come through despite single-digit volumes.

“If there’s a [facelift] we’ll get it. I’m not sure the timing, but we will adopt them as they come out.”

As for the LC specifically, Pappas said it was the ultimate expression of what Lexus calls ‘Takumi craftsmanship’ - the idea that parts of a car can still be handmade.

The LC coupe has accrued just two sales in Australia this year.

“The LS we’ll keep because it’s a part of the brand, but we sell every LC we can get. It is very limited volume,” he explained.

This strategy of appealing to many different niches is not just one of keeping unusual models on sale, but is even being expanded on with the arrival of the fairly unique to the luxury segment LM people mover, which the brand will have in Australia before the end of the year.

“We’re really excited about it,” Pappas said of the LM. “It’s going to give us a look at new buyers while expanding on our loyal customer as well - it’s part of our strategy to have a diversified approach.”

The ultra-niche LS limousine had four sales in Australia this year. (Image: Tom White)

All three models, the LC coupe, LS limousine, and LM people mover are offered with hybrid drivetrains, something which the brand says is also a key part of its identity. Although the brand has still had limited success on the plug-in front, facing limited supply, with buyers instead lining up for hybrids-without-a-plug, or putting their name on a waiting list for the fully electric UX or RZ.

“Lexus buyers are really happy with hybrid technology,” Pappas explained. “Once you’re in a hybrid, it’s hard to go back.

With Lexus facing limited supply of plug-in hybrids, people have instead put their names on the fully electric RZ waitlist.

“On the battery electric side, a lot of customers are early adopters and much more savvy in that space. They’re different from our loyal buyer, and not so brand focused.”

There will be no shortage of SUVs in the next 18 months for Lexus, with the next-generation Toyota Prado-based GX and just-teased LBX small SUV slotting into the brand’s expanding line-up. Is there any hope for the humble sedan?

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a new-generation version of Lexus’ original IS based on the China-only-for-now Toyota bZ3 sedan in the near future, particularly thanks to its primarily rear-drive setup. Watch this space.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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