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Lexus evaluating future of IS, GS

by Ronan Glon

Both cars could get the ax as the brand focuses on crossovers.

Lexus will focus on crossovers and SUVs to increase its share of the American market in the coming years. And, like all of its rivals, it's debating what to do about its slow-selling sedans.

"Our product plan is what I would call a work in progress," David Christ, Lexus' new general manager, told Automotive News during an interview.

The brand recently replaced the CT hatchback with an entry-level crossover named UX. Call it a sign of the times. Crossovers are key in today's market and Lexus is still playing catch-up. Christ announced the company will likely turn the LF-1 Limitless concept into a production flagship model around the turn of the decade.

The crossover push places some of Lexus' sedans on thin ice. Automotive News notably points out the IS (pictured) and the GS are approaching the end of their respective life cycles and Lexus hasn't announced plans to replace them yet.

"We're evaluating both vehicles," Christ said. Neither sell particularly well, so don't be surprised if they're not directly replaced. To add context, Lexus sold 26,482 examples of the IS in the United States last year, a 28.7-percent drop over 2016. Rival Mercedes-Benz ended the year with 77,447 C-Classes sold.

Lexus continues to position itself as an alternative to the German luxury brands but it's not trying to beat them at all costs.

"Regarding the Germans, we're more focused on maximizing the opportunities we have than comparing ourselves," he said. "Of course, nobody wants to be second or third," he conceded.

Photos by Ronan Glon.