Toyota’s premium division on the old continent no longer counts on three models. Once stocks are sold out, successors will not come.
The Lexus brand was established as a premium division of Toyota in 1989, when it focused primarily on the North American market. It did not officially enter Europe until the second half of the 1990s, when it has been trying to compete with the German premium trio, whether in Japanese style or hybrid drive. Even after years, however, it has much lower sales than German competitors. In addition, it now wants to reduce its European range in response to weaker sales.
Lexus will soon get rid of its three models on European markets, the compact hatchback CT, the mid-size IS sedan and the RC coupe derived from it. While at first completely ceases production, in the case IS will not see the extensively modernized version introduced this year in Europe.
The brand has several reasons for this step. On the one hand, these are the oldest models in its portfolio. CT is already an old man produced since 2011, IS has been produced in its current third generation since 2013 and RC is only a year younger.
Maybe because of their age, all three report very low sales. CT has 2,344 registered specimens on European markets in the first eight months of the year, while the IS has only 1,101 units for the same period, which can also record the missing station wagons on offer, which Europeans love in this category. RC as a coupe then registers 422 registrations.
A similar situation is on the Czech market, where CT and IS are regularly among the least requested cars for sale. According to the statistics of the Association of Car Importers, CT reports only seven registered pieces in the first eight months, IS six and RC five.
But Lexus is clear. Behind the low sales of this trio is a change in customer preferences. “It’s a decision based on the development of our portfolio. When you look at Lexus sales in Europe and the overall market, the trend is towards an SUV. ” a spokesman for the European division of Lexus told Automotive News Europe.
Sales numbers confirm these words. The best-selling Lexus model in Europe is the UX, the smallest SUV in the brand’s offer, with 10,291 European registrations for the period January-August 2020. It is followed by the NX with 7,739 registered units and the RX with 3,474 units. That’s why it’s no wonder that it’s been talked about for a long time that In 2021, CT will replace the new SUV, located under UX.
However, the carmaker does not want to drive low sales alone. The flagship, in the form of a luxury LS sedan, has only 58 (!) Registered units in Europe this year in eight months of the year, yet the carmaker intends to continue with it. “LS is our flagship. Despite low sales, it is a model that brings a lot of innovation and is strong in building a brand, “ says a spokesman for the European brand representation. In any case, it should support sales this year a facelift of the car that subtly modified its look and improved its comfort.