Lexus dealers eager for flagship car due in 2017

Lexus dealer John Iacono can’t wait for the LC 500 to hit stores.

Lexus dealer John Iacono can’t wait for the LC 500 to hit stores.

Iacono, who owns three Lexus dealerships in New York City, had a chance to drive the two-door speedster that was unveiled in January during the Detroit auto show. Iacono is a member of the Lexus National Dealer Advisory Council and was its chairman in 2014 and 2015.

In fact, his praise for the rear-wheel-drive coupe almost sounds like a riddle. He says the LC 500 sounds, drives and feels like a Lexus — and not like a Lexus.

Iacono says the LC 500, which will churn out 467 hp, will give enthusiasts a reason to stop by Lexus stores when it arrives in 2017. It will assume the flagship mantle for Lexus, a slot that Iacono says he’s excited to fill.

Another brand-topping model is expected to take the form of the LF-FC fuel cell concept, which could come to life as the next LS. Iacono hopes to see that one in stores soon after the LC 500.

Life is good for Lexus dealers. The brand hit its highest global sales volume ever in 2015, and Iacono says the first quarter of 2016 has been encouraging.

The only drawback right now, he says, is the wait time for the anticipated flagships. Every luxury brand, he added, needs a flagship presence to maintain relevance in the segment.

Iacono said a three-row SUV that stays in line with the pricing of the current $42,850 two-row RX would be nice, too. At the New York auto show, Lexus confirmed that vehicle would come as an expanded RX crossover.

“We’ve done a good job of communicating from the retail to the manufacturer side what our needs were,” Iacono said. “I think everyone was in the same mindset that we needed both a flagship and a three-row SUV.”

The #Lexus LC500 popped up today. It showcases a bold design language. #Naias #detroitautoshow #coolcars #design

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