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Lexus kicks off new model onslaught

F word: The V8-powered GS F will give Lexus a performance boost when it lobs in February next year.

Seven new Lexus models to arrive between now and February next year


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28 Sep 2015

THE successful introduction of the Lexus NX crossover to Australia has lifted the company’s sales this year, and the Japanese car-maker is set to build on that growth in the coming months with a new-model onslaught.

Speaking with media at the new Lexus of Springwood dealership in Brisbane last week, Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley announced that seven new models or variants would launch in the next five months.

The roll-out starts with the turbocharged IS200t sedan variant and the facelifted ES mid-size range that were launched together this month, before ramping up to a busy end to the year.

The all-new fourth-generation RX large SUV arrives in Australian showrooms in November, and it will be the third model in the company’s arsenal – following the NX crossover and IS200t – to use the new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in some of the variants.

That same engine will also be found under the bonnet of the RC200t coupe that lobs in December, about the same time as the facelifted GS mid-size range that will also feature variants powered by the blown petrol unit.

The third Lexus to launch in December is the heavily revised version of the LX570 upper-large SUV which heralds a whole new look that is more in keeping with the rest of the Lexus line-up, while changes under the skin will help it compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and Range Rover’s flagship.

In February, the Japanese luxury car-maker ups the excitement factor with the launch of the V8-powered GS F sedan, a competitor for the likes of the Mercedes-AMG E63 and BMW M5.

Lexus sales are soaring this year, lifting by 33.2 per cent to the end of August to 5907 units, and Mr Hanley said the new models are attracting new buyers to the brand.

“We have been extremely encouraged by the growth of Lexus this year off the back of new product,” he said. “Some very dynamic external brand activities as well, and of course the arrival of new buyers to the brand.

“Our ambition to create a bolder, more confident business is demonstrated by external brand activities which have shown Lexus to be bold, confident and just a little daring.”

The activities include the trial of a “smart outdoor advertising billboard” that detects when a competitor vehicle passes beneath the billboard and flashes up a message identifying the make of the occupant’s car and advises them that it is “a good day to crossover to the NX SUV”.

Mr Hanley highlighted the sales success of the NX, particularly since the launch of the turbocharged version earlier this year, but suggested the interest would slow down to a more sustainable pace next year. “The story on NX is pretty simple. We are definitely selling our sales plan every month and, in fact, we have an order bank significantly now because stock is a little bit tighter. However, it’s not out of control we have got about a three month wait on turbo,” he said.

“What we are seeing with NX200t (is that) in excess of 60 per cent of buyers in the launch period are new to the Lexus brand. About 63 per cent, actually. Of course that will come back as the 12 months progresses in to the launch plan, however it is very high. What it clearly tells us is that step-up buyers coming out of mainstream really are engaged in turbo technology.” So far this year the NX has found 1910 homes in Australia, and is only just trailing the segment-leading Audi Q3 (2209 sales) and the Mercedes-Benz GLA (1949).

Mr Hanley was coy about whether the NX could be the best seller in the segment by the end of the year, and instead said he expected the larger RX to add significant volume following the launch of the new-gen version in November.

“I think it’s (NX) in a very competitive segment. Market leadership has never been what Lexus is about. So NX for me is exceeding our own sales plans,” he said. “That’s all that’s important to Lexus, it’s doing a wonderful job.

Because of the SUV market juggernaut I expect it will continue.

“We are bringing RX out in November, and I think that is going to get a fair degree of attention and focus because we are bringing the 2.0-litre turbo in that car as well for the first time. It’s a beautiful car.

“I expect NX will sell well for Lexus. I expect RX will be somewhere around second. I expect IS will be third. Not because of product, but because of market trends.”What's coming for Lexus
IS200tSeptember 2015
ES faceliftSeptember 2015
RX SUVNovember 2015
RC200t coupeDecember 2015
GS faceliftDecember 2015
LX570 faceliftDecember 2015
GS FFebruary 2016

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