Like the LF-C2 concept (aka the Lexus RC convertible)? Too bad, it’s DOA. Never going to happen. The plan to build a concept and then a real car was set in motion years ago, but now it will never see the light of day as a production vehicle. Some inside Lexus are furious over this decision because the RC was strengthened (made heavier than it had to be) to be a convertible -- and as it turns out, that was pointless. Why else would it use the center section from an IS Convertible?
In fact, under the original plan, the RC Convertible was set to be the next all-new car in Lexus’ lineup. As convertibles make up 1 percent of the total U.S. Market, though, the decision to not do a 3-row RX crossover and go with a convertible infuriated the dealers into some sort of angry revolt. Lexus dealers have been howling for a three-row crossover. Lexus had been considering stretching the next-generation RX (based on the Highlander) but decided against doing so. Apparently, that car’s wheelbase was never designed to be stretched. The dealers had been counting on a three-row RX showing up because the body-on-frame GX470 simply doesn’t sell. The Mercedes GL and the Audi Q7, on the other hand, do, as does the BMW X5 which can be had with a third row.
The result of the revolt is that Lexus has just begun work on a three-row crossover based on the upcoming LS platform. As that’s a rear-wheel-drive platform, this will make the upcoming Lexus vehicle competitive with the likes of the aforementioned Mercedes GL and Audi Q7, as well as the Infiniti QX80. Since it’s a crossover (like the two mentioned), it will have superior packaging to vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Factor in economies of scale, and building the new three-row CUV off the platform intended for the LS and the LF-LC (probably to be renamed the SC) coupe will decrease costs for all three vehicles.
No word on the name of the new big Lexus crossover, but if they straight killed off the current GX, applying its moniker to the new car would make sense. Expect not to see the new vehicle for at least three years, as a 2018 model. Yes, the dealers are already stocking up on Moet.
In other Lexus news, the poorly guarded secret of the IS 200t (the IS with the 2.0-liter turbo engine from the NX 200t) will now be joined by the RC 200t. Expect to see both cars at an upcoming auto show near you.