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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    The Uncertain Future of the Lexus GS and IS

      The rise of crossovers is to blame

    Lexus finds itself in a bit of a bind. With demand for crossovers growing, Lexus is doing a serious look at its product lineup and deciding what needs to be added and what needs to taken out.

    "We're more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves," said David Christ, the new general manager for Lexus to Automotive News.

    "Our product plan is what I would call a work in progress."

    The current focus for Lexus is the upcoming launches of the ES and the subcompact UX crossover. The ES is expected to keep current Lexus owners happy, but the new F-Sport package will hopefully bring in younger people - Lexus expects a quarter of ES sales to be the F-sport. The UX though is seen as what will bring the majority of young buyers to the brand.

    But this focus has Lexus doing "a strategic look" at two of their older models, the IS and GS. Both models are late into their lifecycles: IS was launched in 2013, while GS dates back to 2011. The two aren't big sellers either. In 2017, Lexus only moved 7,773 GS models and 26,482 IS models. Rumor has it that the GS could go away if the ES gets all-wheel drive. Christ wouldn't comment on that.

    "We can't do it all at once, but we're certainly evaluating both vehicles," said Christ.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)




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    Makes sense to offer an AWD option for the new ES, Dump the GS and refresh the IS as that is still a decent sellar.

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    Dropping cars isn’t how you get more sales.  There is no rule that says Alexus can’t keep every sedan and build 10 crossovers.  The real issue here is the GS is ugly, has a poor interior and dated powertrain sand the same can be said for the IS.  These cars just aren’t good.  I hope they drop them, more market share for Mercedes who continually invests in their sedans.

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    i think there was a blip that suggested all these lux carmakers needed BMW 3 sized cars to have a legit lineup.  Caddy even took the bait.  When it comes to brass tacks now, who even buys 3 series sized lux sedans and what brands do they really only look at?  

    I think the original CTS was a perfect entry level caddy and so to reincarnate that as a CT4 would make sense.  But if the new CT5 is a little larger, then i am ok with that being Caddy's entry level sedan.  What does that have to do with Lexus?  To me it means that IS was always a poseur even if it was a good car.  The ES was bread and butter but now crossovers may have supplanted ES buyers base.  And where does that leave the LS and the GS?

    To circle the wagons for Caddy and Lexus, they probably could survive on 2 sedans each.  CT5 / CT6 and GS / LS.  An IS and CT3 will always not sell like an A3/A4, 3/4 series, or C class.

     

    I think the other reason these smaller lux sedans proliferated so much last 15 years is the idea that young punks would buy / lease them and they were sort of the new age 'hey look how cool i am' cars.  That the younger set due to preference and urban living wanted smaller cars.  I don't think that logic carries through to Caddy and lexus like it does BMW and Audi.  And maybe never will.  And especially if neither is big in Europe.

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    That blip was around 2004 when Cadillac finally produced a car that handled very well and could compete on the track with a smaller 3-series.  The domestic haters needed a reason to dislike the CTS and thus the “It’s too big” mantra was born... and though the CTS was a perfectly capable and comfortable handler, the drum beat started for Cadillac to produce a “true” 3-series competitor... basically, do the CTS, but make it as cramped as a 3-series of the day.  The same drums are being pounded at the CT6, a car that competes with the 5-series, but is larger, more comfortable, and in more than a few ways, more advanced. But “OMG it’s 8 inches longer... there is no way it could possibly compete with a 5-series”. :rolleyes: Fun Fact: The CT6 Platinum has a turning radius and inch and a quarter smaller than the RWD 5-series. The CT6 without 4-wheel steering has radius slightly less than the AWD 5-series (20.0 v. 20.1)

    The original IS was sold as a Toyota in Japan and was renowned for its handling, but with tinny doors and no sound deadening, it didn’t fit the Lexus theme. Queue up the “we want a 3-series” drums and Lexus increased the weight, and started dumbing down the handling. 

    The first few generations of GS were fantastic vehicles. The I6 base models were melted butter smooth and with the legendary Lexus reliability.  But they weren’t “Teutonic”.... for those of you playing at home, that means “German”.  

    This has always been about moving goal posts so the whole industry has to copy what the popular kids are doing.  I’m sure the guy who bought a 10 year old Benz will be in here soon to give us his take on what new car buyers should do. (They’re shopping for a Corolla... he’ll tell them they should buy an S-Class)

     

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    Hmmmmm.

     

    They could merge the GS and IS and get a tweener sedan, and I'd like them to actually do that, because they don't need 2 sedans whether FWD or RWD that are almost the same length.

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    Some may recall that Infiniti went the other direction. They dropped the relatively popular I30 in favor of the M35 in a bid to look "credible" to the BMW-Über-Alles kids. Look where it got them.

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    3 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Some may recall that Infiniti went the other direction. They dropped the relatively popular I30 in favor of the M35 in a bid to look "credible" to the BMW-Über-Alles kids. Look where it got them.

    Had to look those up, completely forgot about them...the i30 was the Maxima variation, kind of Infiniti's ES equivalent I guess....for 2000s Infinitis the G35 and G37 are the ones I remember (US versions of the Skyline). 

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    15 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Dropping cars isn’t how you get more sales.  There is no rule that says Alexus can’t keep every sedan and build 10 crossovers.  The real issue here is the GS is ugly, has a poor interior and dated powertrain sand the same can be said for the IS.  These cars just aren’t good.  I hope they drop them, more market share for Mercedes who continually invests in their sedans.

    Yea like everyone wants a crappy C, B or A class MB. Badge snobs with crap products is all that MB makes there in addition to the E-Class Taxi cab of the world with a 52% depreciation loss in the first 3 years.

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    1 minute ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Had to look those up, completely forgot about them...the i30 was the Maxima variation, kind of Infiniti's ES equivalent I guess....for 2000s Infinitis the G35 and G37 are the ones I remember (US versions of the Skyline). 

    Yes, the I30 was the ES equivilent, and IMHO, a nicer vehicle than the ES of the time. 

    2005_infiniti_i_manu_03.jpg 2005_infiniti_i_manu_09.jpg

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2004_lexus_es_330_base-pic-6228509891184683830-640x480.jpeg 2005 Lexus ES.jpg

    But they dropped that to try and pursue German car drivers who will never defect their brands and built this instead.

    2006 Infiniti M35.jpg

    The Lexus GS was still a pretty attractive piece at the time, but had just given up its inline 6 in favor of a V6.

    2006_lexus_gs_430_base-pic-238576478807836544.jpeg

     

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    16 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    That blip was around 2004 when Cadillac finally produced a car that handled very well and could compete on the track with a smaller 3-series.  The domestic haters needed a reason to dislike the CTS and thus the “It’s too big” mantra was born... and though the CTS was a perfectly capable and comfortable handler, the drum beat started for Cadillac to produce a “true” 3-series competitor... basically, do the CTS, but make it as cramped as a 3-series of the day.  The same drums are being pounded at the CT6, a car that competes with the 5-series, but is larger, more comfortable, and in more than a few ways, more advanced. But “OMG it’s 8 inches longer... there is no way it could possibly compete with a 5-series”. :rolleyes: Fun Fact: The CT6 Platinum has a turning radius and inch and a quarter smaller than the RWD 5-series. The CT6 without 4-wheel steering has radius slightly less than the AWD 5-series (20.0 v. 20.1)

    The original IS was sold as a Toyota in Japan and was renowned for its handling, but with tinny doors and no sound deadening, it didn’t fit the Lexus theme. Queue up the “we want a 3-series” drums and Lexus increased the weight, and started dumbing down the handling. 

    The first few generations of GS were fantastic vehicle. The I6 base models were melted butter smooth and with the legendary Lexus reliability.  But they weren’t “Teutonic”.... for those of you playing at home, that mean “German”.  

    This has always been about moving goal posts so the whole industry has to copy what the popular kids are doing.  I’m sure the guy who bought a 10 year old Benz will be in here soon to give us his take on what new car buyers should do. (They’re shopping for a Corolla... he’ll tell them they should buy an S-Class)

     

    Well I bought a 5 year old Benz, 5 years ago.  But nevertheless, you are right about the copy cat industry.  But that is the followers problem for copying the leader, not creating the next trend.

    Mercedes built the first luxury SUV, then everyone else jumps in, BMW had the 3-series, Lexus and Cadillac had to copy, Lincoln even tried copying the 5–series with the LS, now every sedan is a 4-door coupe because the Mercedes CLS did that in 04.  People laughed at BMW and Mercedes for crossover coupes, and he come Audi and Porsche with them and you know Lexus and Cadillac will follow.  

    Lexus has a dated lineup because there is no imagination or creativity in it and because the Lexus LX570 and GX460 latterly haven’t had an update since 2007.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    Yea like everyone wants a crappy C, B or A class MB. Badge snobs with crap products is all that MB makes there in addition to the E-Class Taxi cab of the world with a 52% depreciation loss in the first 3 years.

    The cars that Lexus would be dropping aren't A or B class cars. 

    Mercedes only makes one bad product, CLA. Everything else is competing for or already best in class. 

    6 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    now every sedan is a 4-door coupe because the Mercedes CLS did that in 04.

    I agree with that to a degree. But, I feel like the mainstream cars that are doing that has a lot to do with aerodynamic efficiency as they're a more "slippery" design and fuel economy is key for the Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc. buyers.

    8 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    People laughed at BMW and Mercedes for crossover coupes, and he come Audi and Porsche with them and you know Lexus and Cadillac will follow.  

    Well, they are the worst segment of automobile on the planet. Hideous.  Just absolutely HIDEOUS. 

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    9 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Lexus has a dated lineup because there is no imagination or creativity in it

    Have you opened your eyes and looked at a Lexus? You might find them ugly but you can't say those front fascias aren't creative or imaginative

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    2 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Have you opened your eyes and looked at a Lexus? You might find them ugly but you can't say those front fascias aren't creative or imaginative

    True...bold and violent.  Lexus is the leader in rage face styling, though Audi and others are catching up..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    49 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Have you opened your eyes and looked at a Lexus? You might find them ugly but you can't say those front fascias aren't creative or imaginative

    They are BIG FANS of the Predator Movies I think! :P 

    See the source image

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    17 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Well I bought a 5 year old Benz, 5 years ago.  But nevertheless, you are right about the copy cat industry.  But that is the followers problem for copying the leader, not creating the next trend.

    No. It's the fanboi's problem for promulgating the idea that every car has to be exactly the same in order to compete. You are one of the most guilty of this phenomenon.  You cannot accept the fact that cars can be different sizes, favor comfort over handling, use technology in a different way than your pet brand.  You cannot admit that the CT6 is a competitor to the E-Class and 5-series because you can't get over the extra room it offers... somehow that disqualifies the car even though it is in the same price range.

     

    20 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    Mercedes built the first luxury SUV, then everyone else jumps in.

    No, they didn't. This is why you have no credibility. 

    Luxury SUVs released before or the same time the M-Class (1997):
    Acura SLX (1995)
    Oldsmobile Bravada (1990)
    Infiniti QX4 (1997)
    Land Rover Range Rover (1994)
    Jeep Grand Wagoneer (1980) - say what you will about the brand, it was definitely a luxury suv with its pricing. It cost more than a base Eldorado or Mark VII. 
    Jeep Grand Wagoneer (1993) - the Grand Cherokee based Grand Wagoneer was a separate nameplate and the luxury version. 

     

    33 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    BMW had the 3-series, Lexus and Cadillac had to copy

    No they didn't. People like you insisted they had to copy... that the only valid entry in that class had to be certain dimensions and certain suspension tuning, and certain number of gears in the gearbox.  You have repeatedly insisted that the old CTS and 3-series didn't compete because the CTS was 4 or 5 inches longer.  Well, you're flat out wrong.  I leased a CTS because I didn't want the cramped interior of the 3-series. I leased the CTS because it was a bit more compliant over these awful pittsburgh roads.  Cadillac went from near zero in that segment to selling 60k CTSes a year. They were taking sales from someone.

     

    37 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    every sedan is a 4-door coupe because the Mercedes CLS did that in 04

    There is no such thing as a 4-door coupe. What you're thinking of is a 4-door fastback and Cadillac was doing those way back when Germany was being turned into a pile of rubble.  Oldsmobile has done them multiple times, Eagle has done them, Rover has done them, Citroen has done them.  You even owned a nameplate that previously was a 4-door fastback. 

    46 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

    People laughed at BMW and Mercedes for crossover coupes, and he come Audi and Porsche with them and you know Lexus and Cadillac will follow

    I laugh at the term as there is no such thing as a 4-door crossover coupe.  First, if we're going to call them that, then again, none of the Germans were first. Even if you don't want to count the AMC Eagle SX, there is still the Acura ZDX (2010) which came out 5 years before the GLE coupe and the same year as the X6.   Furthermore, if that Audi Q8 is a crossover coupe, then someone needs to send a memo to Infiniti about changing their marketing because they've been building that body style since 2002 with the FX/QX70. And then still, there is the Suzuki X90, an ugly looking SUV that by being 2 doors and 2 seats has more of a claim to the "crossover coupe" name than any of the modern vehicles.

    In short, Germany is in no way the leader for this completely misnamed body-style

    So still.... wrong all around.

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    Jeep Super Wagoneer would be the first luxury SUV, came out in 1966.

    Mercedes absolutely copied tons of features and types from others. Sometimes it took decades to follow the trends, sometimes they literally had to buy components from other OEMs. And they blatantly copied the 3-series- now it's their highest volume sedan. They massively fudge RE "inventing" the automobile and most lazy ass journalists just numbly nod along.

    The "4-door coupe" thing is a hoot- it's literally a fastback-esque 4-dr, nothing remotely new. The worst thing about it is the gross inaccuracy of the term.

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    smk4565

    Posted (edited)

    4 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    I agree with that to a degree. But, I feel like the mainstream cars that are doing that has a lot to do with aerodynamic efficiency as they're a more "slippery" design and fuel economy is key for the Ford, Chevy, Honda, etc. buyers.

    Well, they are the worst segment of automobile on the planet. Hideous.  Just absolutely HIDEOUS. 

    Except the S-class is the most aerodynamic Mercedes and it has 3 box design so 4-door coupe must not do anything.  

    I do think SUV coupes are ugly but Mercedes and BMW have so Audi and Porsche want it.  And if the Germans do it then every other luxury brand will copy it.  

    And I have said before that I think the CT6 is more an e-class competitor than S-class competitor.  The E-class still has a better interior and more performance than the CT6, the CT6 has a larger back seat.  Customer can pick what matters most to them.   But then what is the CTS become, other than irrelevant?  From 60k sales a year to 12k sales a year, it is in the same boat as the Lexus GS.

    Edited by smk4565
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    ^ It's easier to make a longer vehicle have lower drag, all else being equal.

    "want" what? There's nothing there to 'copy'.

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    37 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    ^ It's easier to make a longer vehicle have lower drag, all else being equal.

    "want" what? There's nothing there to 'copy'.

    I was literally scrolling down to type that and saw your comment. 👍🏼👍🏼

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    1 hour ago, smk4565 said:

    Except the S-class is the most aerodynamic Mercedes and it has 3 box design so 4-door coupe must not do anything.  

    I do think SUV coupes are ugly but Mercedes and BMW have so Audi and Porsche want it.  And if the Germans do it then every other luxury brand will copy it.  

    And I have said before that I think the CT6 is more an e-class competitor than S-class competitor.  The E-class still has a better interior and more performance than the CT6, the CT6 has a larger back seat.  Customer can pick what matters most to them.   But then what is the CTS become, other than irrelevant?  From 60k sales a year to 12k sales a year, it is in the same boat as the Lexus GS.

    Your E-Class is the world's best in YOUR EYES, The only reason it is successful is the cheap purchases MB makes for the mass Taxi community to buy them. Otherwise just a Meh car, clearly no time spent in a CT6 as it is superior in many ways and equal in others to the E-Class.

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    5 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Jeep Super Wagoneer would be the first luxury SUV, came out in 1966.

    Mercedes absolutely copied tons of features and types from others. Sometimes it took decades to follow the trends, sometimes they literally had to buy components from other OEMs. And they blatantly copied the 3-series- now it's their highest volume sedan. They massively fudge RE "inventing" the automobile and most lazy ass journalists just numbly nod along.

    The "4-door coupe" thing is a hoot- it's literally a fastback-esque 4-dr, nothing remotely new. The worst thing about it is the gross inaccuracy of the term.

     

    2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Except the S-class is the most aerodynamic Mercedes and it has 3 box design so 4-door coupe must not do anything.  

    I do think SUV coupes are ugly but Mercedes and BMW have so Audi and Porsche want it.  And if the Germans do it then every other luxury brand will copy it.  

    And I have said before that I think the CT6 is more an e-class competitor than S-class competitor.  The E-class still has a better interior and more performance than the CT6, the CT6 has a larger back seat.  Customer can pick what matters most to them.   But then what is the CTS become, other than irrelevant?  From 60k sales a year to 12k sales a year, it is in the same boat as the Lexus GS.

    It's being downsized also to be a tweener car. 

    There is nothing at all wrong with the CT6 interior aside from seats that might be a bit too firm. Plus, it drives itself, has 4 wheel steering, and a plug in hybrid capable of 40+ miles of EV range. Benz doesn't.

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    4 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

     

    It's being downsized also to be a tweener car. 

    There is nothing at all wrong with the CT6 interior aside from seats that might be a bit too firm. Plus, it drives itself, has 4 wheel steering, and a plug in hybrid capable of 40+ miles of EV range. Benz doesn't.

    Which are all good attributes and in profile view the CT6 has good presence and looks good.  There are plenty of reasons to buy it.

    The E63 can do 0-60 in 3.0 seconds, that is the exact same time Car and Driver got for the Corvette ZR1.  Performances win for the E-class over the CT6.  But besides that the E-class has plenty of attributes to sell on too, that is why it has been the best selling mid-size luxury car for decades.  Plus the E-class has 4 body styles and 5 if you count the CLS, so that works in its favor too.  More choices for the customer = more sales.

    Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac sedans aren’t bad cars, it is just to have a successful sedan now you need to be lights out good otherwise the sheeple will just buy a crossover.

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    Most E class sales are 4 cylinder. The E63 is irrelevant to the sales mix. They could drop it and you wouldn't notice the difference in the numbers.

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    I believe except for the US market, most E-Class sales are still into the Taxi Business in Europe.

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    4 hours ago, dfelt said:

    I believe except for the US market, most E-Class sales are still into the Taxi Business in Europe.

    And China.  Most of the E-classes are for livery use there.  E-Classes (Along with XTS) are even replacing Town Cars here in Pittsburgh for Black Car service. 

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