Although other luxury makers from Germany and Japan are fearlessly diving into lower price segments in the U.S., Lexus marketing VP Brian Smith has gone on the record with Cars.com as saying, "I don't think [entry-luxury] is a focus of ours right now." The reason: even with last year's acts of God, Toyota's upscale arm still holds an enviable position with the RX, which was the second-best-selling luxury vehicle in 2011.

As well, for the moment, it has its brand-hands full with rebuilding its inventories and recasting audience perception. Led by the 2013 Lexus GS and that grille, soon to be followed by the 2013 RX (pictured) and ES that will also feature that grille if the leaks can be believed, Lexus is more concerned with sloughing off its reputation as a maker of staid cars for people who hate driving. Lexus appears to believe it will be headed where it wishes to go as long as it gets its current vehicles just right.

Smith said the company has a plan to be "the fastest-growing luxury brand," and instead of an assault on the low end that could mean variations on the RX. One imagines it would be a much safer play since the RX hasn't been milked at all for buyers in nearby segments, and fourteen years of dominance with one vehicle in a seriously competitive chunk of the market is stupefying. Smith couldn't give any clues to what might come, but did admit that he "would love to see the RX family grow."


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  • 37 Comments
      VictorRaikkonen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Personally I like that grill on the F-Spot, heck, I'll even go as far to say that the grill on the non-F-Sport model still looks better than the one that Acura utterly refuses to replace.
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lexus already has entry-level models... they are called Toyotas. And even Toyota has entry-level models, they are called Scions. So this isn't exactly news. It makes some sense for M-B or BMW to release cheaper/smaller models, but not so much for Lexus where it would be competing with its own bread-and-butter cars.
        miketim1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        To be honest theres not cheap about high end fully loaded Toyotas. Scion maybe a bit lower priced but I call scion cars "cheap" Cheap things tend to fall apart and not last long and Toyotas do no such thing.
        Buds
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        I would have to disagree. You do not get the Lexus experience when you buy a Toyota. I don't think it's competing with your own bread and butter when you are going after different market segments. The majority of entry level luxury shoppers aren't out looking at a Camry. They want a luxury car at a reasonable price.
          Jason
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Buds
          What you're describing are people that want a luxury car BADGE at a non-luxury brand price. The least expensive Lexus model starts just under $30K. How much more reasonably priced do they way for a 'luxury' brand? Part of being a luxury brand and owning a luxury brand vehicle is a bit of exclusivity, which comes by way of price. If they can't afford a brand new one, buy used. You can save a ton of money buying a 1-3 year old vehicle if you can be happy with getting the Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Experience.
      dukeisduke
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with him. There's no sense cheapening the brand, and winding up stuck in Near-Luxury Hell, like Acura and Lincoln.
      RZ-Civic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Expand the Lexus RX family? Sounds like a seven seater version on its way to me. RX 350 L or RX 450h L, anyone?
        MANARC100
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RZ-Civic
        It has got to be that. To compete with the new Infiniti crossover and Acura MDX. A 7 seat RX would probably do quite well.
        MANARC100
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RZ-Civic
        However does one extra model make it a family? Could there be more? A Ridgeline type trucklet or a convertible like the Murano? That would be wild to see Lexus do something like that. However, I doubt there is a business case for those.
      TOGO
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's a Toyota, get over it already.
      ryanandrewmartin
      • 2 Years Ago
      It looks like the Predator.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't the ct200h an entry level car?
        miketim1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        I wouldnt say that. My friend owns a fully loaded one... nth entry level about that car very nice interoir and great design.
          NightFlight
          • 2 Years Ago
          @miketim1
          You are kidding, right? The interior of the CT (leather used aside) is hardly befitting of a Lexus.
        Mike J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        I was thinking the IS myself. It was designed as the entry level car way back when it had the "Chrono" ip gauges. I cant imagine Lexus getting any smaller. As for the ct, since its a hybrid it is still considered a premium model despite its size
      themanwithsauce
      • 2 Years Ago
      So they want to shake the image that they don't make cars for drivers by making luxury SuVs that are big, tall, and heavy...... Lexus, we need to talk, BMW X5/6, Porsche Cayenne, and even the CHerokee SRT-8 work because of the cars produced BEFORE hose cars were made and each company's respective racing past (SRT-4 and viper were dodge but still, close enough). The altezza was a decent car for drivers but aside from that.....you've got nothing of real importance. The IS-F was the butt of too many jokes and the F-sport line is stupid. The LS-A was a good start but you took too long and it was too expensive. If you don;t want to shake this image of boring cars to drive, that;s fine. Honestly. Rolls-royce will still execute engineers who mention a track version of their car. Cadillac survived for about 80 years on being a mattress with wheels on it. Bentley is just now getting into the lightweight/sport model craze. But just be honest about it. Don't tell me you're about to give me a driver's car then turn around and say that you don't want to make less expensive models and that you're making SUVs.
        Clock
        • 2 Years Ago
        @themanwithsauce
        Wow cut them some slack. What automaker doesn't say they are trying to fulfill every role possible when asked? I'm auto enthusiast and I love where Lexus is right now. They have accomplished two extraordinary things. 1. Become one of the best selling luxury brands. 2. Build arguably the most reliable cars ever - in a segment where resale value is normally embarrassing. Even though Lexus doesn't have to prove anything, expect the next SC to be awesome. I love my SC400 with 200k miles on the dash. Theres only a couple Japanese cars from the same era that can keep up with it.
      vripper
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't know what the big deal is about this grill. i think it looks good and very recognizable. Why all the hate? Because it's Lexus and it's different? I remember when everyone said the same thing about the gaping mouth Audi grill when it was introduced.
      miketim1
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with him. Entry Level on luxury is kind of bad. I've been inside a base model 3 series...... not a pretty thing... inside or out. Then you have Acuras which seem to be Hondas with different engines....
      wxs5
      • 2 Years Ago
      no offence but the tail lights,looks a little like the Mazda CX-9
      kevsflanagan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have to agree with Lexus's marketing boss on this one. Lexus has Toyota as its lower priced entry brand. Why further dilute Lexus and Toyota's line of normal and luxury with lower priced Lexus's? BMW and Merc are doing lower priced cars due to no legit entry level brand. Yes BMW has Mini but I don't think anyone can say "Yes and when a owner of the Mini earns more money they jump into the 7 series." with a straight face. Mini is its own separate brand unto itself.
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