Lexus: The luxury carmaker isn’t giving up on sedans


Ford and GM may be phasing out their sedans, but Lexus says the sedan will live on for years to come.

Many publications reported SUVs and crossovers will kill the sedan. Would that include even the luxury sedans made by carmakers such as Lexus? They point to the rise in sales and the slew of new crossover and SUV models for sale and the dwindling numbers of sedans in automaker’s lineups, and they come to a fairly logical conclusion.

That said, upon further scrutiny, that kind of conclusion doesn’t make sense. The Wall Street Journal noted that once gas prices start to rise, people will be looking to get rid of their big SUVs and crossovers and will instead turn back to smaller vehicles. That very thing happened in the early 2000s, and it could easily happen again. If that does, Ford and GM might find themselves scrambling to build a small sedan of some kind.

One automaker that won’t be scrambling is Lexus. Cooper Ericksen, Lexus vice president of marketing, recently told The Detroit Bureau that the company isn’t even close to giving up on cars.

“The fact is there is and will continue to be a very important role for sedans,” Ericksen said. “Half the buyers of SUVs also own a sedan.”

Lexus Has Plenty of Sedans

Lexus LS500 at the North American International Auto Show
Lexus LS500 at the North American International Auto Show /

Lexus sells some popular crossovers and SUVs including the NX, RX, GX, and LX, but it has plenty more sedans in its lineup. The company has a new flagship in the LS, and it recently showed off the all-new ES. It also worked to make the ES a little more appealing to younger audiences by adding an F Sport package to the model.

Additionally, the company still makes the IS and the GS, both of which do a fantastic job of competing with BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the sporty luxury sedan segments.

According to The Detroit Bureau, “near luxury” sedan sales totaled more than 400,000 last year. That’s a huge market, and it’s one that will have more opportunity for high sales numbers as fewer automakers choose to put out sedans.

Sedans Will Still be an Important Part of the Market

2018 Toyota Camry
2018 Toyota Camry /

The “near luxury” segment discussed in the paragraph above is only a part of the overall sedan market. In the non-luxury segments, hundreds of thousands of cars sell every single year. In 2017, Toyota sold more than 387,000 Camrys, according to Good Car Bad Car. That’s just one model.

The Honda Accord, which is the Toyota Camry’s biggest competitor, made over 322,000 sales in 2017. Ford sold a very respectable 209,623 Fusions in 2017, and the automaker has decided to stop production of the car in favor of making more crossovers and SUVs.

While there’s no official date set for its demise, the automaker has said that by 2020 around 90 percent of its lineup will be SUVs, crossovers, trucks, hybrids and EVs. Still, with sales numbers for sedans as strong as they are, the idea to eliminate sedans seems almost stupid.

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Lexus might not sell as many crossovers and SUVs as Ford does in the next few years, but it will be better positioned when the market changes again. It will be interesting to see how automakers who kill off their sedans fare.