Will they get their wish?
Automakers know full and well what’s hot these days and you probably do as well. Crossovers and SUVs. They’re selling like hotcakes for a number of reasons and automakers, both luxury and non-luxury, are working overtime to incorporate more into their respective lineups. Lexus already has an excellent selection, ranging from the subcompact UX to the Toyota Land Cruiser-based LX, but there’s still one more it needs: a large three-row crossover SUV.
According to Automotive News, Lexus dealers have made their voices loud and clear to headquarters that they want something to fight the longtime segment benchmark, the Cadillac Escalade.
"I think every dealer would raise their hand for that product, certainly,” said Carl Sewell III, chairman of the Lexus dealer council in the US. "One of the big things we've been working on over the last two years on council is our premium luxury utility vehicle lineup for the future. Right now, we've got a really strong sub-$50,000 lineup. But when we look above that, we've got some great product today, but what do those products look like for the future?”
But wait, isn’t the LX 570 a three-row SUV? Yes, but the last time it received a major redesign was back in 2008. It has been refreshed along the way but its age is apparent. Meanwhile, the Escalade has been regularly redesigned and will be again very soon. It has also been outselling the Lexus by a huge margin, a reason that probably comes down to its name recognition, something the LX 570 lacks. Fortunately, Lexus dealers won’t have to wait too long for cover fire.
A production version of last year’s stunning and award-winning LF-1 Limitless concept is due to arrive in the near future, but we don’t know yet whether it’ll replace the body-on-frame LX 570 outright. The concept is actually a crossover, but it’s big and has three rows. Its platform can also accommodate several powertrain options, among them electrification. Sewell thinks a production-spec LF-1 Limitless will arrive before any new body-on-frame large SUV or an LX redesign.
"I think you're seeing Lexus dealers be disciplined. We're always great at adapting to whatever environment we're in,” he said. Lexus has not provided an exact date as to when it’ll launch a large three-row crossover, but given the high market demand, it really can’t come soon enough.