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Luxury starts at $40,000 for Lexus

Popular: NX crossover is boosting local sales.

Luxury for Lexus starts at $40,000. That's the Japanese brand's global view and one endorsed by its Australian chief executive Sean Hanley.

Hanley is adamant Lexus can't afford to build cars cheaper than the current CT hatch, now priced from $38,000-$55,000.

"The numbers don't add up in terms of the quality needed in a luxury vehicle or the expectation customers have when stepping up to the prestige segment," Hanley says.

He cites the LF-SA soft-roader concept revealed at the Frankfurt motor show as a possible indication of a future urban SUV.

However, he also reiterates the statement from Lexus International vice-president Mark Templin that the LF-SA — if it makes it into production — won't cost less than the CT.

"Some people might say that building something below CT or (the small soft-roader) NX or whatever that market may be is good, because you're bringing customers to the brand," he says.

"But something happens as that customer gets more successful and involved in the brand. They say, 'I want something that people can't necessarily have hundreds of thousands of. I want something unique, something different'

"You have to be careful to protect your position in the market. Is there going to be a market correction by the consumer where they say, 'Sub-$40,000 for a luxury car? I don't think so.'

"If that does happen, the perception affects the entire brand, not just that model. As a luxury car maker, we can't afford to have that happen."

"I'm not having a shot at any other car company, I just want to make it clear for Lexus. We wish to be seen as an aspirational brand without in any way alienating our existing customers."

Sales are already up 33 per cent year-to-date purely as a result of the new and wildly popular NX crossover

A rapid succession of new or facelifted models over the next five months means Lexus should have no problem satisfying buyers and bolstering local sales, which are already up 33 per cent year-to-date purely as a result of the new and wildly popular NX crossover.

Every new model is also fitted with a software safety pack that includes pre-collision safety, active cruise control, auto high beam headlights and lane departure warning.

The IS200t small sedan and a facelifted ES mid-sized sedan launched locally last week. They will be followed by the updated RX in November, then the RC200t, GS200t and LX570 before Christmas.

January will mark the arrival of the flagship LC coupe and LS limo and the performance-focused GS F sedan.

Which Lexus are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.