Lexus Planning New Flagship Model, Possibly An SUV

The Lexus LS sedan has long been the brand’s flagship model, but things may change in the coming years. Toyota’s luxury marque is planning to launch a second flagship model to sit alongside the next-generation LS.

“We need a flagship. It doesn’t have to be a sedan,” Lexus general manager Jeff Bracken told Reuters. “In addition to the LS, there could be another flagship in our lineup. We’ll define what it is in January,” the executive added.

While Bracken did not say what type of vehicle the second flagship Lexus will be, the safest bet would be an SUV. That’s because sales of large luxury sedans such as the Lexus LS have slowed in recent years, with many affluent buyers shifting toward luxury SUVs.

Rival automakers that offer large luxury SUVs such as the Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Audi Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GL, have seen big sales increases in recent years. Even more sophisticated brands like Bentley, Maserati and Rolls-Royce are preparing to launch their first-ever SUVs.

Besides the mysterious flagship model, Lexus is planning to offer a version of the RX SUV with a third row seat. Lexus dealers in the United States have been asking for an RX with room for seven or eight passengers for a long time, Bracken said. The all-new Lexus RX will arrive in US dealerships this fall but won’t offer a third-row seat option, at least for the time being. “We don’t want to wait for a next generation” to add the third row seat, Bracken added.

Note: 2016 Lexus RX pictured

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