Lexus plans to keep on investing in the luxury sedan.
The sedan segment across the industry is hurting but it’s far from dead. People are still buying them in large enough numbers and automakers like Lexus have no intention of eliminating them completely. But there is one particular Lexus sedan whose future has been questioned, the GS and V8-powered GS F. This BMW 5 Series competitor has experienced a significant sales drop just over the past two years. For example, a total of 23,117 units were sold in the US in 2015. Last year, that figure dipped to 6,604. What does this mean for its future?
We asked newly appointed Lexus vice president and general manager David Christ that very question during a roundtable discussion at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, and his answer surprised us.
"On GS, although it is a little older, it achieved our plan for the year and it seems to be holding up well considering its age,” Christ said. "It fits really well with our lineup and we continue to invest in it and keep it. We feel it’s an important part of our lineup and it continues to meet our expectations.”
The current fourth-generation GS launched in 2011 and was last updated or 2015. Aside from the 5.0-liter V8 with 467 hp found in the GS F, lower trims come powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 241 hp, and a 3.5-liter V6 with 311 hp. There's also the GS 450h hybrid, powered by the same V6 but also connected to a battery pack for improved fuel economy. We’ve heard past rumors claiming the GS was living on borrowed time and, considering those most recent sales figures, there was good reason to believe those rumors could be true.
But it turns out Lexus must have simply adjusted GS lineup sales expectations for the current marketplace. When pressed further regarding a GS successor, Christ made it pretty clear he wasn’t ready to talk about that: "We’ll be making the appropriate announcements at later and undecided date.” This doesn’t mean there won’t be a fifth-generation GS, but it could also mean Lexus has not decided just yet. Of course, this is pure speculation, but it seems the current GS and GS F are safe for the time being.