Can A Truly Expensive Upstart Sports Car Sell Well In 2017? Lexus Has Very High Hopes For The New LC

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
can a truly expensive upstart sports car sell well in 2017 lexus has very high hopes

Lexus has lofty goals for the new LC performance coupe, a two-car range encompassing V8 and V6 hybrid cars. The Lexus LC, Toyota’s premium division hopes, will attract 400 buyers in America per month.

That’s a big number.

Granted, Toyota sells more than 1,000 Camrys in the United States every day. In fact, Lexus sells 300 copies of the RX, America’s all-conquering premium utility vehicle, every day.

But the 2018 Lexus LC is not America’s best-selling midsize car 15 years running, nor is the LC the dominant luxury crossover in a market gone gaga for luxury crossovers. The Lexus LC, on the other hand, is a $92,995–106,295 Japanese coupe. 400 monthly sales for a two-door priced in that stratosphere is truly a big number.

And Lexus believes it will outsell the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman, Mercedes-Benz SLC, and Audi TT. Lexus believes the LC will sell roughly three times more often than the Nissan GT-R ever has. Lexus intends to attract more buyers with the LC than Mercedes-Benz can with The Establishment, the SL-Class; more buyers than BMW attracts with the vast BMW 6 Series range.

Why? Lexus certainly has its reasons.

Time and time again, we attempt to obtain a fairly accurate portrayal of an automaker’s hopes and dreams for an all-new product and come up empty. “We don’t discuss future products,” they’ll say. “That information is for internal purposes only,” the official party line will read. “We can’t comment on company forecasts.”

When it come to the Lexus LC, however, Lexus is keen to share. Described by Nancy Hubbell, senior communications manager at Lexus, there are essentially three reasons behind the company’s aspirations for the LC: inner belief, the LF-LC Concept’s relationship to the production car, and the clinics.

“The 400 per-month sales goal for the LC was determined by numerous factors that reflect the strength of the LC and the Lexus brand,” Hubbell told TTAC, voicing the faith Lexus has in a new product precisely because it’s a Lexus in Lexus’ biggest market. 49 percent of all Lexus vehicles sold globally are sold in the United States, where Lexus competes with Mercedes-Benz and BMW to lead all premium auto brands in sales.

“Our confidence started with the tremendous response to the LF-LC show car that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012,” Hubbell continues. “The styling was hailed by consumers and was carried over to the production car.”

Indeed, while we consistently have reason to complain that show cars don’t translate to production cars nearly as faithfully as they ought to, the Lexus LC500 and LC500h are accurate representations of the Lexus LF-LC Concept from 2012’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

We certainly know Lexus was excited about the LF-LC Concept in 2012. “You know, the first time I saw this car, I was speechless,” Lexus division manager Mark Templin said at the time.

Conversations with actual well-heeled performance coupe customers, however, have enabled Lexus to talk so excitedly about the LC’s potential.

“We held a dynamic clinic early last year and the feedback from customers was clear that the LC will be strong player in the luxury coupe market,” Hubbell says. On this basis, Lexus doesn’t merely intend to steal buyers from the 6 Series, SL-Class, and F-Type, but Hubbell says the LC will earn “some consideration from Aston Martin and Maserati customers,” as well.

Regardless of whether Lexus sells 200, 300, or 400 LCs per month, one high-dollar sports car will continue to stand head and shoulders above the rest. That’s a given. Even in 2016, when Porsche’s U.S. 911 volume fell to a four-year low, Porsche was selling nearly twice as many 911s per month as Lexus plans to sell LCs. The 911 operates on a different plane. Disrupting the 911’s momentum isn’t worthy of consideration.

But Lexus has production capacity to build up to 500 LCs per month for the U.S. market, if necessary. 80-90 percent of U.S. buyers are likely to opt for the naturally aspirated LC500 — 5.0-liter V8, 471-horsepower, 10-speed automatic — rather than the more costly and portly hybrid.

Both the LC500 and LC500h go on sale in the U.S. in May.

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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  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Mar 14, 2017

    I think they can move 400/mo It's a huge advance from the SC430. In real-life it is truly striking, stance like nothing else out there. The interior is what will likely seal-the-deal for a lot of people it is amazing.

  • Stuki Stuki on Mar 14, 2017

    Who is it for? We're not (although Japan arguably still proudly is) in the 80s/90s anymore. The geezers who can pay for this, are too arthritic to get out of a car that low. And their trophy mistresses need more space for their yogamats, 5 cases of bottle water + empties, makeup, underwear changes, plus all the junk they need to drag home from Restoration Hardware in order to keep up the I'm really not just a call girl image. And both of them have been told small cars leave them dangerously exposed to Trump voters in pickup trucks.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.