It's About Time - Lexus Will Finally Show A New LS Flagship AT NAIAS In 2017

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
it s about time lexus will em finally em show a new ls flagship at naias in 2017

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.

Lexus last led the category in sales in 2009, ending a streak of three years in which the LS outsold both the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. (2016 will be the S-Class’s seventh consecutive year of sales leadership excluding the notion that the smaller Tesla Model S, sales figures for which are not reported, is the more popular car.) All of the new, third-gen LS’s successes in 2007 — when U.S. LS volume rose to a 16-year high — were washed away with the recession, and Lexus simply didn’t fight back once the market recovered.

In 2007, more LS sedans were sold every two months than will be sold in all of 2016.

Again, some of that decline can be attributed to the market’s shifts. But not all.

The Lexus LS offers a relatively small lineup: presently one engine, two wheelbases, rear or all-wheel drive. Despite a much higher price tag, Mercedes-Benz generates more than triple the U.S. volume with help from six sedan and three coupe variants.

Now, with the arrival of the Genesis G90 — essentially the new Lexus LS some three decades later — the pie doesn’t grow any larger, but the number of mouths to feed increases.

11 years after Lexus displayed the fourth-generation LS at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and 28 years after the 1989 Detroit show hosted the arrival of the first LS, the fifth iteration will bow in January at 2017’s NAIAS. Lexus’ new premium rear-wheel drive platform already seen underneath the LC500 will be the foundation for the new LS.

Lexus promises, “a more dynamic experience on the road,” and “visionary technology.”

No promises yet regarding the Lexus executive barge’s ability to overcome years of decline and lost market share.

In spite of the LS’s downfall, overall Lexus volume climbed to record levels in 2015. Total Lexus sales through 2016’s first eleven months are down 4 percent, a decline caused by the car division’s 20-percent drop, including a 22-percent year-over-year LS decrease.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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  • Stereorobb Stereorobb on Dec 10, 2016

    ive been waiting for a new LS to show up for a long time. im a lexus enthusiast and ive owned 19 of them, ten of which have been LS400s and they are by far the best ones ever built and the sleekest. the 430 was hideous in my opinion. it was shit ugly, had a very weird drivers position that feels like im sitting in a hole, and just doesn't feel as solid or as good as the 400. its also slower. having said that my 95 LS400 which is my current DD is really getting up there in age and has well over 200k miles, which isn't a problem at all because miles are just a number for these cars. I hate the 430 so much im just bypassing it all together and getting a 460. im not rich so the early 460s have depreciated enough that I can actually afford one. I remember around November of 06 when the 460s first started showing up and I went to a dealership which was closed for whatever reason that day. it was 39 degrees and raining and I had my face pressed against the window of the showroom to get a look at the LS460. ive wanted one since they came out. however... the 2007-2009 LS460s had a lot of bugs. unlike the earlier LS the fit and finish was different. it is a heavily computerized car and is an absolute nightmare to work on from what ive seen. by 2010 the 460 got its act together and was vastly improved with its reliability and the bugs worked out of the computers. I hate electronic parking breaks and sealed transmissions. the fit and finish is nowhere even close to the LS400 sadly, and they wont ever build them like that again. I do need to change up the 400 though into the 460, mostly for my wifes piece of mine because the 400 is getting so old she is getting scared of it, even though its never let us down. I love my car and you couldn't drag me kicking and screaming from it. as far as the 10 year lifespan of the 460 its actually pretty normal. the LS400 ran ten years however there was HEAVY refreshes every few years, unlike the ls460 that is now at its end stage cycle and well.. from a side profile, it looks identical to an 07. when the 07s hit the streets they were absolute spectacular cars with all kinds off neat bells and whistles that many people didn't have, and wowed people almost as much as the original LS400 did back in 89. but now, its an old man dying in bed covered in his own feces that everyone just wishes would hurry up and die. don't get me wrong the LS460 is still a nice car, but in the modern car world its an archaic dinosaur compared to its competition. its still rock solid but its lacking on just about every single aspect of what an LS should be. now, cosmetically, the post 2013 current gen LS460 may be a relic compared to the others, but it is truly a beautiful car. the most beautiful LS ever made, and the fit and finish is on point as well. but still, the 460 is played out. everyone is sick of it. I work at a lexus dealership and we will be happy to kick the bumper when we cast the last one out of our showroom into the abyss of its lifespan. I cant wait to get behind of the next one, the LS500, which will feature the same 5.0 that's currently calling the GS-F and RC-F home. heres a few facts I DO know being an insider. the long wheel base will NOT soley face the misery of a 6-cyl engine, or that absolutely hateful turbo 4-banger that just needs to be ripped out of the cars and thrown into a dumpster. there will be a 5.0V8, and it has been confirmed that an LS-F will show up sometime later but we will get one eventually. I just hope lexus gets its name back with the next LS. they really need it because back in the early 90s, the Germany was terrified. now they are kicking our asses. either way an LS460 is in my near future, and I have a feeling that when 2018 arrives, those 07-09 460s will fall like a rock. looking forward to being able to get one lol

  • Johnster Johnster on Dec 11, 2016

    I like the LS and although the previous models (up through the 2008 model year) were pretty conservative, the newer Lexus design language doesn't work for me. The newer pinched ant-face styling is ugly. While we do need a new LS, I have fears that the latest incarnation will look like a cross between the latest Prius and the Mirai, only on steroids.

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.Αnd who cares if they sell all they make? this is 100% worthless bragging, since they hardly make ANY. ALL of Subaru's models together, all dozen of them, sell less than the top selling Toyota or Honda or even Tesla sells. ANd furthermore, if you have the intellectual horsepower to understand it, bulldude, which I am 99% sure you sure as hell do not, it is NOT about the sales units, it is not even about the sales revenue.It is all about the P R O F I T S.Am I going slow enough for you, bulldude?
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.