By on September 18, 2017

2017 Lexus IS200t - Image: LexusFirst things first: Lexus is hardly the only automaker deserving of blame for unintelligibly altering model nomenclature. Moreover, Lexus continues to offer some models for which the badge makes sense. A Lexus LX570, for example, is an LX with a 5.7-liter V8. The Lexus IS350 we tested earlier this month utilizes a 3.5-liter V6.

How sensible. How obvious. How traditional.

But for 2018, the Lexus IS and its RC stablemate will muddy the displacement waters that were already complicated in 2017 by a detuned 3.5-liter V6 that wore IS300 and RC300 badging. In 2018, while the mid-range car continues to make its power from a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 (not the upgraded 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 of the IS350 and RC350), the 2.0-liter turbocharged mill that was previously under the hood of the IS200t and RC200t is now the engine under the hood of the rear-wheel-drive IS300 and RC300.

Confused? Yeah, we are, too. Let’s try that again. (Read More…)

By on September 15, 2017

2018 Lexus LC - Image: LexusTiming is tough.

Toyota’s Lexus luxury marque launched the fourth-generation Lexus LS for the 2007 model year, just prior to an economic collapse that was followed up by an anti-car/pro-SUV shift. Lexus, which averaged more than 25,000 annual U.S. sales of its LS flagship sedan during its third generation and then topped 35,000 sales in 2007, suddenly found itself struggling to top the 10K marker.

As the fourth-gen LS’s tenure came to an end, Lexus watched as demand for the LS quickly collapsed. From fewer than 11,000 sales in 2013 and fewer than 9,000 in 2014 to barely more than 7,000 in 2015 and only 5,514 in 2016, the once hugely successful Lexus LS — a former leader of America’s large luxury sedan class and the car that was responsible for the genesis of Lexus — became an afterthought.

The fifth-generation Lexus LS is set to go on sale this winter, and Lexus expects to see a huge increase in demand for the new car in 2018. Lexus does not, however, expect the LS to generate anything like the kind of interest the big sedan did prior to the proverbial global financial crisis. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2017

2017 Lexus ES300h red - Image: © Timothy CainThis is not a proper review, not the kind of tome presented to TTAC’s audience after a major vehicle spends a full week with one of the site’s editors. I didn’t drive the 2017 Lexus ES300h across multiple states. I didn’t resolve to land on as many beaches as possible on EV power. I didn’t get a proper chance to take pictures. I hardly drove the Lexus ES300h at all.

Ah, but the one journey undertaken by the midsize luxury hybrid and your humble TTAC Prince Edward Island bureau chief was quite a journey indeed.

What happens when the least sporting Lexus car is suddenly tasked with arriving at a destination on the other side of the Island in order to be removed from Island duty? What happens when you rush a car that was never intended to be one of Lexus’ rushable cars?

Decidedly un-hybrid-like mileage, for one thing. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

2016 Toyota Prius Four - Image: ToyotaIf current marketplace trends hold, the Toyota Prius will not be America’s best-selling hybrid by next year.

The steep rate of decline experienced by the Prius in 2017 is no surprise. For one thing, it’s a continuation of the decline we saw earlier in the fourth-gen Prius’ tenure. For another, there are new Prius competitors, such as the Hyundai Ioniq and Toyota’s highly efficient 2018 Camry Hybrid. But the Prius’s rapid slide — sales are down by a third so far this year — is also what Toyota predicted at the turn of the calendar.

Yet even if the rate of Prius decline suddenly and unexpectedly slows, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Toyota Prius, long the dominant hybrid in America, holds onto its crown as the top seller for long.

The victor in 2018 will, however, almost certainly be a Toyota. (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2016

All four Lexus LS generations - Images: Toyota Canada

The current automotive climate is not a favourable one for full-size sedans, luxury or otherwise.

Many automakers have persevered, reinvesting in their flagship sedans despite decreased demand. BMW, for instance, suffered a 29-percent loss in U.S. 7 Series demand over the last decade, yet the company introduced two new generations of 7 Series during that period.

Lexus, however, has allowed the LS to wallow in a pool of its own misery. The car that started it all for Lexus was once a conservative, value priced, marketplace leader in the full-size sector; a car that could beat the overpriced Germans at their own game. Now, the decade-old fourth-generation Lexus LS has all but disappeared from the public consciousness. Sales have fallen 73 percent since 2006.

Toyota has finally determined that it’s time for a new Lexus LS. In fact, it’s been time for a new Lexus LS for quite a while. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

2016 Toyota Prius Touring

Buick grabbed much of the limelight when Consumer Reports released its 2016 reliability survey results yesterday, earning the best-ever brand ranking of any domestic marque. But atop the leaderboard, Lexus and its Toyota parent brand continued the automaker’s reign.

Not surprisingly, three of the five most reliable vehicles in America are therefore Lexus and Toyota products. With the Lexus GS and Toyota 4Runner, the top 10 list is half-filled with Toyota products. Only one vehicle in the top ten is a domestic, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Cruze.

They may be reliable, but do Americans actually want these vehicles? We took a look at the five least reliable vehicles in America and realized that, yes, in some cases, Americans do want them. In fact, the vehicles on the least reliable list account for 2.7 percent of the U.S. new vehicle market.

When it comes to the five most reliable vehicles in Consumer Reports’ survey, less than 1 percent of the market’s buying habits are represented. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2016

2017 Toyota Sienna 3.5L V6

Updated for 2015 with a revised interior, an invisible facelift, and improved LATCH access, the 2015 Toyota Sienna was nevertheless mechanically identical to the Sienna of 2011-2014. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in calendar year 2015.

For model year 2017, the Sienna remains visually identical and continues on the third-generation platform, but Toyota is installing the Tacoma’s direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 underhood and linking it to a new eight-speed automatic.

With a 30-horsepower jump to 293, the 2017 Toyota Sienna is now the most powerful minivan on sale. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2016

2016 RAV4 and CamryWill the Toyota RAV4 outsell Toyota’s long-running best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, within the next five years? Nine months ago, Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. boss, Bob Carter, said, “I’ll bet you lunch that will happen.”

It didn’t take five years.

To be fair, Carter wasn’t referring to a single month’s results. Indeed, through the first two-thirds of 2016,  the Camry produced nearly 36,000 more U.S. sales — about one month’s worth — than the RAV4.

But in August 2016, for the first time in Toyota’s U.S. history, the Toyota RAV4 was more popular than the Toyota Camry. And the RAV4 was by no means the only vehicle to outsell the most popular car in America. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2016

2005 Scion xB

Is Toyota about to officially murder the company’s fledgling Scion marque? If so, it will be both the exact outcome analysts and observers and fans predicted for years and a surprising turn of events.

After thriving for half a decade prior to the economic collapse, Scion’s poor performance in recent years led us to assume that Toyota would tire of the brand’s inability to turn a corner. But then Toyota finally reinvested in the brand, launching a sports car, a conventional hatchback with the iM, and a new Mazda2-based best seller, the iA.

Only months into the tenure of the two newest Scions, the cars which accounted for six in ten Scion sales in January, Toyota apparently realizes that the potential of the iA, iM, and even a C-HR crossover is insufficient. Joining Geo, Eagle, and Merkur on the scrap heap of failed auto brands launched by large automakers, Scion is killed off just when we thought Toyota had decided not to kill off Scion.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2015

2015 Toyota C-HR concept

We haven’t held back our critique of Toyota’s handling of its Scion sub-brand.

Though Scion held such promise a decade ago, replacing the hot-selling first-generation xB with a mostly ignored, overweight, second-generation xB was a ticket to failure. Allowing the once-popular tC to linger mostly unchanged and mostly unathletic for more than a decade is akin to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. A flash in the pan sports car, the FR-S, wasn’t – couldn’t be – the answer to the brand’s troubles.

Signs of life are once again appearing at Scion, however, and not from the most expected places. (Read More…)

By on October 5, 2015

2016 Scion iA

The FR-S did not turn out to be Scion’s savior. Doubts regarding the ability of a conventional hatchback and a subcompact sedan — the brand’s first sedan — to rescue a brand that was built on unconventional cars have been expressed in many corners.

Yet with the arrival of those two cars, the iA and iM, Scion was the fastest-growing car brand in America in September 2015 and the second-fastest-growing brand overall. (Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

porsche scion

Only seven years removed from selling more than 100,000 cars in the United States, Scion’s current woes are more easily understood by looking at the brands which now outsell Toyota’s “youth” brand.

One such Scion-besting automaker: Porsche.

Rewind just one year and Scion, through the first eight months of 2014, was outselling Porsche by 10,000 units. Yet in the first eight months of 2015, Scion only outsold Porsche three times — in February, March, and May — and trails Porsche by nearly 2,200 sales heading into September.

Porsche is certainly not a Scion rival. Even the FR-S, Scion’s most costly car, costs only half as much as Porsche’s least expensive car, a basic, un-optioned Boxster. (Is there even such a thing?)

But the change in order speaks volumes about Porsche’s steady climb to record highs and the fall of Scion, the latter of which saw its share of the U.S. market fall by 73 percent, from 1.04 percent in 2006 to 0.28 percent in 2015. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2014

Scion brand sales chart 2014For the 18th consecutive month, the Scion brand’s U.S. volume declined in November 2014. The streak has reached a special low point, however, with the worst percentage decline since June and the lowest sales total since January 2012, when the iQ had only just arrived and the FR-S wasn’t yet on sale.

We’re long past expecting Scion to be capable of selling 14,400 cars a month as they did when the brand peaked in 2006. In 2012, Scion sold an average 6125 cars per month, an average which climbed to nearly 6700 monthly sales in the final seven months of that year.

But with just 3907 November 2014 sales, a 21.4% drop compared with November 2013 and a 30.3% decline compared with November 2012, the brand’s 18-month streak has tumbled to new lows. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2014

2013 Lexus RX 350 F-Sport, Exterior, Front 3/4, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. DykesIn July 2014, for the first time in twelve months, Lexus outsold all other premium brands in the United States. Back in August 2013, Lexus sold 29,792 vehicles, 5269 more new vehicle sales than BMW managed; 5031 more than Mercedes-Benz, excluding Sprinter vans.

Last month, Lexus’ margin of victory over the two brands which now routinely outsell the Toyota premium division was much smaller. Mercedes-Benz reported the sale of 27,192 new vehicles; Lexus another 141 units.

The annual U.S. race to be tops among premium brands was last won by Lexus in calendar year 2010. Yet as Mercedes-Benz and BMW blossomed with expanding utility vehicle lineups, Lexus’s 3-Series-fighting IS aged and the brand continued to rely very heavily on the RX. (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2013

149551-500-0

Toyota Motor Corp. said in a statement that Eiji Toyoda, the man responsible for growing Toyota into a global powerhouse, died today. Toyoda had just turned 100 years old last week. The cause of death was listed as heart failure. Toyoda was a cousin of Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Japan’s largest car company and he took over management of the family business in 1967 and served as president until 1982, when Toyota Motor Co. and Toyota Sales were merged and he became chairman of the combined corporation, holding that position until 1992.
(Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Tstag: According to Bloomberg JLR is preparing to buy another premium brand. I do wonder if that premium brand was...
  • brandloyalty: I will only bother to point out only a couple of flaws in your reasoning. The range of electric...
  • gtemnykh: One thing I couldn’t figure out, did those later 90s S130 wagons ever see the installation of the...
  • Eggshen2013: I am curious to see how that 4 cylinder Jag sells.
  • bumpy ii: Toyota kept the S130 wagon in production for a decade, not replacing it until the S170 series in 1999. very...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States