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New Lexus Small Car Could Arrive by 2012 – Possibly Sooner

Maker gauging reaction, but downsize luxury trend unavoidable.

by on Nov.19, 2009

Lexus is likely to launch a small car, perhaps by 2012, reflecting the emerging market for downsized - but well-equipped - luxury vehicles. A possible design, the LF-Ch, is shown here.

Lexus is likely to launch a small car, perhaps by 2012, reflecting the emerging market for downsized - but well-equipped - luxury vehicles. A possible design, the LF-Ch, is shown here.

Lexus, the largest luxury brand in the U.S., is giving serious thought to launching a new, downsized luxury model, and could bring it to market within the next couple years, the brand’s general manager told TheDetroitBureau.com.

How soon and precisely what form the new product will take remains uncertain, though it’s likely to have many of the characteristics of the LF-Ch concept vehicle that the Toyota luxury division unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, in September.  Downsizing is particularly critical, said Lexus General Manager Mark Templin, to the marque’s planned expansion around the world.

“There is a group of buyers growing up now who won’t buy cars by the pound,” noted Templin, adding that, “We have already seen a structural shift” to the smaller and lower-priced segments of the luxury market over the last couple years.

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The so-called Premium Luxury segments have been especially hard-hit by the recession, analysts offering a variety of suggestions why, including the possibility the most affluent buyers don’t want to be seen flaunting their wealth at a time when their companies may be cutting back.  But it also appears that even those who don’t worry about appearances may simply be finding smaller vehicles more attractive.

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