• Lexus Looking for a Viable Solution for a New Convertible

Reports suggest Lexus is struggling with what should replace its aging IS C convertible — an RC-based convertible like the recent 2015 LF-C2 concept or a more high-end convertible based on the LF-LC concept that debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. As Automotive News reports, a Lexus insider says the automaker is pondering the decision, though Lexus says the LF-C2 was “purely a concept.”

Lexus’ general manager Jeff Bracken spoke with AN at the LA Auto Show last month saying, the LF-C2 is designed to appeal to “traditional luxury buyers” and an “exquisitely styled buyer group of younger folks.” This basically translates into any production version of the LF-C2 will be a higher-volume seller that has wide appeal to the Lexus customer base. (But we aren’t supposed to know the vehicle could move into production.)

A convertible version of the more high-end LF-LC would target those upper echelon customers looking to stand out regardless of vehicle price. The car would portray a classier image for the Lexus brand, serving more as a halo car than a sales leader.

As Lexus decides on its direction, the insider posed this: “The question is: Is the brand willing to support two convertibles?”

There certainly seems to be room for two, but with Lexus’ average customer age parked at 60, will the more “young” LF-C2 bring in more youthful buyers to the brand, or will its sales flounder like the IS C’s? “We definitely like our older customers," Bracken said. "It’s just that we need younger buyers in addition to that.” We’re hopeful Lexus can pull it off, but it will certainly be interesting to watch.

Click past the jump to read more about Lexus’ future convertible model.

Why it matters

Lexus needs to attract younger buyer to its brand and bring its median customer age into the 45- to 50-year-old range. An RC-based convertible is more likely to do that, though Lexus’ product planners seem to thing a more high-end and inherently more costly convertible will do that. It all boils down to brand health. The automaker needs to make money and must sell cars in order to so. There are two methods to this – selling a ton of cars at a lower price or selling fewer cars at a higher cost. It’s up to Lexus on which way it goes.

Lexus LF-C2

2015 Lexus LF-C2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The LF-C2 is a concept vehicle that debuted at the 2014 LA Auto Show and is based off Lexus’ newest product, the RC Coupe. A chopped top and some serious body modifications have taken place, making the LF-C2 an interesting combination of four-sear convertible and sports car.

Lexus hasn’t announced what lies under the car’s hood, so it could be any one of a number of powertrains, including the 5.0-liter V-8 from the RC-F. In that case, it makes 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque.

If the LF-C2 actually makes production, we can expect prices to hover around the $50,000 mark.

Source: Automotive News

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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