It’s not often that automakers admit when they’ve made a mistake that isn’t life threatening. Even when that’s the case, it’s not always cut and dry.
So when Toyota Motor Corporation’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz admitted that Lexus should have launched a three-row crossover instead of the RC Coupe, the decision really must have been an egregious error instead of a minor slip.
In reality, the RC Coupe hasn’t been a sales flop with 4,258 model sold this year, and does sit nicely atop Lexus’s current sporting models, but with the surge of crossover sales, Lexus is missing out on a chunk of buyers who are looking for an RX with more seating.
“In hindsight, if I was making this decision 10 years ago, seeing what I see today, the three-row [crossover] probably would have been the better play to come out first,” Lentz told Automotive News. “Strategically that’s a more important vehicle to have than necessarily a lower volume, higher priced image product.”
While the RC Coupe has outsold the flagship LS sedan, Lexus estimates a three-row crossover could have accounted for an extra 35,000 sales this year, triple the RC’s estimated sales.
If you’re wondering where the Lexus LX and GX, both with three rows of seating fit into the brand, keep in mind that both are based on truck platforms and their added weight make reasonable fuel economy figures a challenge. In addition to their poor MPG ratings, there have been recent reports that Lexus plans to phase out one or both models in the coming years.
Considering how strongly Lexus regrets passing on the crossover, it’s a fair bet that the Japanese automaker is planning the new model right now, and while the RX is currently only a five-seater, perhaps a long wheelbase version will fit the bill.