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Toyota Set to Unleash Flood of 19 New Products

More utility vehicles in the works, but don’t expect it to abandon sedans.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.28, 2019

The new Toyota Supra made its street-version debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Toyota will be flooding U.S. showrooms with 19 new models during the next three years, a senior official said last weekend, a list that includes the next-generation Supra, Corolla and Corolla Hybrid.

Expect to see more utility vehicles in the Japanese automaker’s line-up, but don’t expect to see Toyota abandon the passenger car market. If anything, it hopes to pick up some of the slack as its Detroit-based rivals trim back their own sedan and coupe lines.

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“We’re still committed to being a full-line manufacturer, Toyota brand chief Jack Hollis told trade publication Automotive News following a “make meeting” with dealers at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention. (more…)

Lexus’ Newest Offering Ready for Road or Track

LC F Track Edition may be fastest Lexus ever.

by Michael Strong on Jan.14, 2019

The 2020 Lexus RC F Track edition is at home on the streets or the race track.

Lexus and its parent, Toyota, are running against the wind at this year’s North American International Auto Show by introducing sports cars rather than trucks or EVs. In fact, Lexus basically pushed all of its chips in for the 2019 event with the Lexus RC F and F Track Edition.

This new offering, based off the RC, has been described as a limited edition “track car” that has been developed expressly for enthusiasts.

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“Aside from the LFA, this is the fastest, most powerful vehicle we’ve ever built,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America. (more…)

Lexus to Debut LC Convertible Concept in Detroit

The coupe won rave reviews when shown a few years ago.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.11, 2019

The LC Convertible Concept is a smidge longer, but slightly lower than the LC coupe.

Toyota’s luxury brand won raves when it revealed the LC Coupe concept a few years back, and generated even more praise when it translated the show car into a production model. Now, it’s hinting it could do it again, with a convertible version of the sports coupe set to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week.

The show car manages to maintain the sleekly aggressive look of the LC coupe, with its long hood, steeply raked windshield, high deck lid – and the most aggressive version yet of the familiar Lexus “spindle grille.”

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“This concept takes the unmistakable design of the LC coupe and reimagines it as a future convertible,” Tadao Mori, Chief Designer of the LC Convertible concept, said ahead of the NAIAS debut. “It blends all the best aspects of the original coupe with the dynamic design of an open-air convertible.”

(more…)

Mercedes Enjoys Lead Late in Luxury Sales Championship

Sport-utes carrying luxury vehicle makers to strong sales.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.04, 2018

The newly updated Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is helping the automaker to another U.S. sales crown.

Mercedes-Benz is leading the race for the luxury vehicle sales crown for the third consecutive year, heading into December with an edge over its closest competitors, BMW and Lexus.

Mercedes reported it sold 31,022 vehicles in November, an increase of 0.6% from November 2017. On a year-to-date basis, Mercedes-Benz sales totaled 283,943, with an additional 34,062 units for vans and 1,154 vehicles for smart, bringing total sales volume to 319,159.

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“Demand for our SUV line-up including the GLA, GLC and new G-Class combined with increases for the E-Class and new CLS fueled results for the month,” said Dietmar Exler, president and CEO of MBUSA. “We anticipate a solid close to the final weeks of 2018.” (more…)

Lexus Launches Key Holiday Advertising Campaign

The originator of the "holiday" sales push, kicks off its latest round.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.13, 2018

Lexus, which essentially originated the holiday season ad campaigns for automakers, is kicking off its latest round of ads.

The traditional American holiday season, stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year, has long been marked by parties, celebration and football but in recent years it also has become a critical period for selling cars, SUVs and trucks.

For the 19th consecutive year, Lexus, one of the brands instrumental helping make the holiday season in into a major period for marketing vehicles, is launching its annual “December to Remember” Sales Event this week.

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The marketing campaign began with three national spots, showcasing how the gift of a Lexus during the holidays offers experiences throughout the entire year. It has since been copied by others in the industry such as Mercedes-Benz and GMC. (more…)

Lexus Lets its Emotions Flow With New RC Coupe

New model offers improved ride and handling.

by Michael Strong on Oct.03, 2018

The 2019 Lexus RC 300 couple ensure the brand has at least one compelling offering from a design perspective.

Lexus designers have been charged with the task of creating more emotion-evoking vehicles in recent years. However, the RC has always been that buzz-generating offering from Toyota’s luxury brand and the 2019 model shown in Paris continues that trend.

The exterior of the coupe gets an evolutionary upgrade rather than wholesale redesign with tweaks to the sporty look that also give it an elegant feel. However, those changes include updates to the aerodynamics to give it a“sharper and more refined” drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC, officials note.

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The changes include a new front bumper corner that flows down from the headlamps and a grille mesh pattern comprising shapes which gradually transform from top to bottom, creating an intriguing visual tension, Lexus says. The vertical arrangement of the extra-small triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED clearance lamps add to the car’s elegance. (more…)

Lexus ES Becomes World’s 1st Car to Replace Sideview Mirrors with Cameras

But you’ll have to go to Japan to buy one for now.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.13, 2018

The new Lexus ES will become the first car to offer cameras to replace side mirrors — in Japan.

If you’re driving in Japan in the coming months and catch a new 2019 Lexus ES rolling up from behind in your rearview mirror you might notice something odd: the sideview mirrors might seem oddly small.

That’s because the ES has become world’s first mass production automobile to offer optional sideview cameras, replacing standard mirrors. It’s a concept carmakers have been toying with for years and could become commonplace in the not-too-distant future, experts say, with Audi set to offer a similar feature on its first all-electric model, the e-tron.

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“The digital mirrors will make their debut on the new ES, which will go on sale in late October,” explained a news release from Toyota’s luxury brand. (more…)

Lexus Makes it Official: New UX Debuts as Millennial Focused Entry Crossover

“Creative Urban Explorer” to launch at $32,000,

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.12, 2018

Lexus is looking to court the first round of millennial buyers hard with the new UX crossover.

The Baby Boomers built Lexus into one of the powerhouse brands of the American luxury car market, but there comes a time to move on, it seems, and the high-line arm of Toyota Motor Corp. is shifting focus to millennials with the official debut of its new UX “Urban eXplorer.”

The smallest model in an expanding line-up of crossover-utility vehicles, the base, 2019 Lexus UX 200 will start at $32,000 when it rolls into U.S. showrooms in December, with the hybrid UX 250h tacking on another $2,000.

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“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX. “We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.” (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Lexus ES 350

Bigger, faster, roomier — better.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.07, 2018

The new Lexus ES is bigger, more powerful and has more tech than its predecessor.

Lexus has built its reputation on the quality, reliability and durability of its luxury cars and utility vehicles. But now, with the new vehicles such as the ES, Lexus is reaching out to match its German and Japanese competitors in styling and overall performance.

For one thing, the new 2019 ES 350 is impressive looking all the way around. The new exterior sheet metal is clean and gives the car a sportier and more up-to-date appearance that should wear well over the years. The front fascia on the new 2019 Lexus ES also more refined and just looks better than the previous generation and car just looks handsome when it is sitting at the curb or in motion.

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Each of the three variants of the ES – the standard, the new F-Sport and the hybrid – are separated by design details but overall the differences, to my eye, are relatively minor. (more…)

Lexus Isn’t About to Give up on Cars

Commitment remains despite moves of other automakers.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jun.04, 2018

Lexus, like its parent Toyota, remains committed to selling sedans as other automakers bail out of the segment.

Even though utility vehicles accounted for more than two thirds of Lexus’ sales in May, Toyota’s luxury vehicle unit, Lexus, isn’t about to give up on the passenger cars that built its reputation even as American car makers walk away from the sedan segments.

“The fact is there is and will continue to be a very important role for sedans,” said Cooper Ericksen, Lexus vice president of marketing, as he showed off the new, seventh generation Lexus ES during a press event in Nashville, Tennessee. “Half the buyers of SUVs also own a sedan,” he said.

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Sales in the “near luxury” segment, where the ES competes against the cars such as BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Acura TLX, totaled more than 400,000 units last year, which is a substantial market. In addition, like its competitors, Lexus sells the ES in dozens of markets around the world, making it easier to justify the cost of designing, engineering and developing a new model. (more…)