2013 Lexus RX 450h

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."