The wild Lexus LF-LC coupe concept that wowed visitors at the Detroit auto show is on track for development, signaling a new direction for a brand that has fallen from first to third in the U.S. luxury sales rankings.
Company executives said in January that the flashy 2+2 sports coupe was not planned for production. But several Lexus insiders now say the overwhelming reaction means it almost certainly will come to market.
Lexus dealers recently were sent crystal sculptures with a 3-D laser rendering of the LF-LC etched inside the crystal. Inscribed on the crystal were the words, “2012 GS Challenge … 27,500 Sales.” The underlying message: Hit the sales target for the mid-sized sedan and get the cool coupe.
But the Lexus source said the LF-LC probably would be produced even if dealers don’t hit the GS sales target.
Lexus’ 11-year reign as the best-selling luxury brand in the United States ended last year as it slipped behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Lexus continued to trail BMW and Mercedes in the first half of this year.
Clad in a blazing shade of blood red, the LF-LC suggests a future sports car for the luxury brand. The concept has a 2+2 configuration and a hybrid powertrain. It was designed at the company’s Calty studio in Newport Beach, Calif.
The shots show an angled, angry grille evidenced on the LF-GH concept at the 2011 New York auto show, which closely previewed the 2013 GS sedan.
The LF-LC concept also has blinged-out wheels, futuristic three-bulb headlights and curvy fenders. More details will be revealed on Monday.
The Detroit auto show promises to be a sports-car shootout, as Acura has confirmed that the NSX will bow there and Chevrolet is bringing two athletic design concepts.
That plan is toast, courtesy of the Internet. Road & Track magazine touted its next issue with a video on YouTube–since pulled–that revealed the Lexus LF-LC. Another photo of the car has shown up on the Web site of the U.K.’s Car magazine.
The LF-LC is another salvo in Lexus’s bid to boost the excitement level of its styling. The grille builds upon the nose that debuted on the LF-Gh concept that previewed the redesigned Lexus GS sedan. And the coupe styling makes us believe that Lexus is thinking that it might be possible to release a successor to the now-departed SC coupe, which was based on the platform used for the LS sedan.