By on August 10, 2015


Last week, Lexus division general manager let slip that his company was thinking that it needed a paragon as the luxury division for Toyota.

“We need a flagship. It doesn’t have to be a sedan,” Jeff Bracken, Lexus division general manager, told Reuters.

What about the LS!? Is that chopped liver now? Oh, right.

“In addition to the LS (a large sedan), there could be another flagship in our lineup,” Bracken said. “We’ll define what it is in January.”


The “flagship” should be something that resembles the LF-LC concept, a gigantic coupe in the vein of the Mercedes S63 Coupe, hopefully with V-8 motivation (or perhaps the LF-A’s V-10 sometime?) and rear-wheel drive.

According to Automotive News, Lexus trademarked the names “LC 500” and “LC 500h” last year in preparation for the coupe, which could arrive as soon as 2017.


Which begs the question: How do you have two flagships? Isn’t that like two best friends? Or two favorite flavors of ice cream?

Apparently you can have two flagships when you revise your previous statement.

Perhaps old Rice football coach Jess Neely put it best when he said: “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any.”

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37 Comments on “How Can You Have Two Flagships? Lexus Explains...”

  • avatar

    I don’t think it hurts to have more desirable high end models as long as the enough depth in the rest of the lineup to take advantage of it.

    For example, it never hurt Mercedes to have both a Maybach edition S class as well as the SL650/SLS/GT.

  • avatar

    I’m an LS owner. But I have to admit that by any reasonable measure, the LX is the flagship. It’s more expensive, bigger and heavier, and (in today’s world) more prestigious.

    Is it ridiculous that a body-on-frame truck designed for off-road prowess would be seen as more luxurious than a large sedan specifically designed to be as comfortable as possible? Of course. But these are the times. At the high end, the SUV is king.

    • 0 avatar

      I was going for the same point as dal20402. I thought that Toyota/Lexus already had two flagships in the Landcruiser/LX Suv, and the LS. The addition of the LC in the two-door coupe category makes it three. I guess the higher management and the press have a need to declare an official flagship, or two, or three. Like any good flagship, let the people have their weapon of choice, even if it can’t be the LFA.

      • 0 avatar

        It looks like they’re going for a flagship (top of the line model) for every segment. I seem to recall GM doing that, initially making a lot of money, but eventually overlapping each nameplate’s role in the heirarchy to the point GM divisions were competing with each other, and turning out cookie cutter vehicles with different flavored frosting.

    • 0 avatar

      In no way is the LX (which is basically a “tarted up” Land Cruiser) more prestigious than the LS.

      In these times, more and more buyers may prefer a luxury SUV to a sedan, but the LS is a dedicated luxury vehicle.

      While “flagship” has traditionally meant a flagship sedan (and for Toyota Corp. – it’s really the Century and not the LS) – these days, can be a parallel flagship CUV.

      For Lexus, they would have to develop a 3-row CUV based on the next gen LS platform (just as Cadillac is planning one on the Omega platform).

      Something like a production version of the LF-LC would be more of a “halo” model.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t this be similar to Cadillac’s situation? You’ll end up with a flagship sedan (the upcoming 6, at the moment) AND the flagship SUV (Escalade). Each is the flagship of its type (sedans/SUVs), maybe useful when you’ve carved up the market in various segments, using a variety of sizes.
    I’d be surprised if they choose a coupe body style, though. Is there really enough volume to justify that car’s creation?

  • avatar

    In today’s market a large crossover or SUV makes more sense than a coupe.

  • avatar

    What is a four-door coupe? German.

    Once this piece of revisionism was floated on the world, no reason for the Japanese not to add to the confusion in their own way.

    What is a two-flagship vehicle line-up? Japanese.

    I liked the Supra side-view of the coupe. Then I scrolled down for the front view and realized that the water supply is still contaminated at Toyota City. It looks like a smaller car wearing baggy overalls for bulk.

    • 0 avatar

      Funny, the best known 4dr coupe is British, the Rover p5b. And about 50 years old at this point.

      • 0 avatar

        You know, I’d consider the original DS a 4dr coupe as well. Given that roofline. So I think that’s the genesis of it!

        Also, look at this gorgeous DS Decapotable.

  • avatar

    S-class sedan, S-class coupe. Simple. What was the LF-A then?

  • avatar

    Side view is very attractive.

    Front view makes me want to frickin’ projectile vomit. FAIL.

  • avatar

    The #1 design priority for this car seems to have been to make the interior space as tiny as possible – not such a good idea with current super sized Americans – and Japanese.

  • avatar

    Lexus’ favorite ice-cream flavor is neopolitan, which is actually three flavors, so it is possible. Anyhow, there are seven seas, and each one needs a flagship to sail upon it. What’s the problem? (besides the gunshot exit wound in its face)

  • avatar

    Not sure how much sense a “Flagship” makes anymore. In the olden days, cars were sufficiently imperfect, that there was a pretty well defined metric along which to rank order them. That world is now long gone. To a sport minded buyer, lowly FiST is head and shoulders above an SL AMG 65. And an IS sits well above the LS. And to a space/soft/quiet minded older one, an Avalon is within an overcranked hearing aid away from a Maybach. While some Hyundai may well be ahead of it by many metrics.

    To make money, Lexus needs more expensive cars, though. Until Yellen caves in, and realizes how silly it all has become, or when she is eventually called on the idiocy, wealth will only continue to be concentrated at the very top. To the point where all cars sold are either used Kias, or Rolls Royce competitors. Or honestly, not even RR competitors; more like complements; as the only people who can afford one luxury car, can just as easily afford one of each.

    • 0 avatar

      Congress, not Janet Yellen, deserves the blame for that problem.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s plenty of blame to go around for all of them. Handing over trillions in free money and asset appreciation to those who already own collateral, in a Hail Mary attempt to make things more expensive for those who don’t, isn’t exactly Robin Hood like, to put it mildly.

  • avatar

    Seems to me that Lexus is trying to follow two pathways — luxury and performance, so I can see two flagships. Seems silly and a huge resource draw, but I get it.

    As for this car? The side view of this looked great. The front was just plain offensive. I realize it is early concept and much will likely change, but if Lexus ever came to me and asked me why I have no desire to own a Lexus, I’ll just point at this.

  • avatar

    Deeming which models are “Flagships” are from a by-gone era and today only relevant to the marketing dept.

    Altima sales aren’t driven by the GT-R. GL buyers aren’t having second thoughts cuz they’re not buyin a S-Class. Your typical LS buyer isn’t driven to the Lexus showroom by a 15-min Top Gear clip of the LF-A racing across the desert.

    in an ideal world Lexus would offer a GT car. But I doubt that a Lexus GT would be profitable given the numerous competition and small market size.

  • avatar

    I think there are plenty of examples of makers having more than one flagship vehicle. Flagships means different things, but they exist in part to get people into a showroom.

    Toyota’s flagship has been the Prius, even if low gas prices have taken away the luster as of late. A flagship doesn’t have to be a sports car.

    Chevrolet’s flagship has been the Corvette and the Volt – an example of two for one – and two different missions. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Chevrolet has a third flagship in the LTZ Suburban. All boxes checked.

    Ford’s flagship flips between the iteration of the GT40 and various GT trims of the Mustang. Not a big stretch to say an F350 murdered out with every option and a big diesel is not a flagship.

    Nissan has Godzilla and the Leaf.

    Audi you could argue has the A8 loaded out along with the R8 supercar.

    I don’t get the tone of the original story on how many flagships can you have.

    The aspirational American auto buyer isn’t just looking for the long and low five passenger sedan with a couch for the backseat, a trunk big enough for a mafia massacre, and more technology than the International Space Station, or some 200 MPH supercar. Flagships can come as fullsize trucks, SUVs, or vehicles with strong greed cred.

    • 0 avatar

      Full-size truck or BOF SUV “flagships” are depressing; they’re just cynical exercises in applying a few cheap options to a volume vehicle engineered for a much lower price point and getting $25,000 profit.

      • 0 avatar

        Or they’re a lucrative vindication of Americans putting the requirements of human physiology ahead of governmental diktat to conserve fuel.

        Big, BOF 3-box, even if the rear box now comes lidless.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m a big guy by any and every measure, and my physiology does not require anything larger than a 3-series to very comfortably transport me from place to place. The ONLY reason I have something bigger in the stable is the need to tow a 6500lb boat around on occasion.

          I vote for cynical cash grab driven by excellent marketing.

  • avatar

    Not to quibble, but Jess Neelky was also a legendary football coach at Vanderbilt. Despite the Commodores’ lack of recent success, Neely was so accomplished in Nashville that Vanderbilt Stadium today is located on Jess Neely Drive.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Toyota needs to re-badge a Prius V with the Lexus grill and call it a Lexus V. Then Toyota would have the ultimate luxury Hybrid while saving a lot of money. Toyota is the new GM.

  • avatar

    Side view: Great
    Front view: Cicada attack

  • avatar

    F*** yes Lexus, FINALLY somebody other than Mercedes is serious.

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