By on September 20, 2017

2018 Lexus LC500 front - Image: LexusLexus has high hopes for the LC, we told you in March. Not yet on sale at that point, Lexus was entirely transparent about the company’s belief that it could sell 400 copies of the LC500 and hybridized LC500h every month in America.

“That’s a big number,” I wrote six months ago, expressing a measure of doubt. But Lexus was insistent, based on “tremendous response to the LF-LC show car” from 2012, a successful carryover to production of concept car design, and “positive feedback in customer clinics.”

Doubt was expressed by most commenters, as well. “Good luck with that,” Master Baiter told Lexus. “Lexus, you need help,” said thats one fast cat. “Setting a goal like this is just setting Lexus up for the unnecessary perception of failure,” dal20402 wrote. “Dumb move.” badhobz said, “I don’t think it’ll do that well.”

It’s been half a year. It’s time for the Lexus LC to stand up and be counted.

To be fair, a number of B&B members believed Lexus was right about the fact that the LC500 and LC500h would outsell a wide variety of high-end coupes. At 400/month, Lexus’ $92,995-$106,295 coupe would prove more popular than the Nissan GT-R and Mercedes-Benz SL and BMW 6 Series, but also more affordable cars such as the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Cayman, and Audi TT. “I think they can move 400/mo,” wrote Lightspeed. “This might have a chance,” dukeisduke said at the time.

Lexus launched the LC by meeting its target. 419 copies of the Lexus LC500 and LC500h were sold in May; another 423 in June. Even after LC sales slowed in July and August, Lexus is still averaging 362 LC sales per month, within 10 percent of the company’s goal.

Of course, it’s early. The fact that Lexus is already reporting decreased LC sales is in keeping with the broad sporty car sector in which it competes. You might recall, for instance, the Scion FR-S — now known as the Toyota 86 — which launched with great fanfare and produced 2,684 sales in its first full month on the market, June 2012.2018 Lexus LC500 rear - Image: LexusNever once since has Toyota reported more than 2,000 FR-S/86 sales in the U.S. a single month. A year after its launch, FR-S sales were down 11 percent. Toyota now reports 622 86 sales per month, a  59-percent cut compared with 2013.

The same type of situation can be seen at the higher end, as well. The 2013 model year was the first for the current R231 iteration of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Sales rose to a seven-year high of 7,007 units that year, yet U.S. SL volume is now less than half that strong.

This is why one member of the TTAC B&B, stingray65, suggested Lexus would achieve the target, “but probably only for the first 4-6 months until all the ‘first on the block’ have one.”

Nevertheless, even at August’s low point of 291 sales, the Lexus LC still managed to outsell the Jaguar F-Type and Audi TT, not to mention more comparably priced cars such as the SL-Class, 6 Series, Maserati GranTurismo, and the Nissan GT-R. Competing with the Porsche 911? That’s a whole ‘nuther ball game Lexus never claimed to play.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corp.]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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27 Comments on “Remember How Silly You Thought It Was When Lexus Predicted 400 LC Sales Per Month in America?...”


  • avatar
    Speed3

    My favorite thing about this article is how you inserted previous B&B quotes on the topic. Do more of this TTAC!

    Also I saw one of these and snapped my neck doing a double take. They look way better in person.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      It’s like how every online mainstream news article includes twitter, facebook, and instagram. Random strangers said something cool? CREDIBILITY.

      I meant that to be less sarcastic than it came across.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It’s a gorgeous car. I have no idea how competitive or desirable it is to buyers in the $100K luxury coupe segment, but it’s a gorgeous car.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’d agree with that.

        I also feel they are doing what luxury makes need to do these days and going forward: Design cars so that they become more of an event. All cars are so uniformly good now, that there just isn’t much room for just quietly impressing, the way MB, then Lexus, did 2-4 decades ago.

        So instead, they have to bring in some of the “specialness” and pizzazz of the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. Something you can’t get away with, without backing it up with well above average performance, technology and luxury (and hence price); lest you end up the proverbial Fiero with a Bodykit. While at the same time not going so far overboard that the car becomes a hassle in day to day driving, the way certain Italians have a tendency to.

      • 0 avatar
        verdelaw

        It is a good looking, nicely proportioned car overall. But I see those front headlights and signals/markers and all I see is Nike swooshes. And now I’d be paying $100k for a car with Nike swooshes on it. Like it’s Foot Locker branded. I can’t unsee them now.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, to be fair the FR-S/86 is now pretty old and the fundamental flaws have never been addressed. The droptop never materialized, nor the mythical boosted version. The 86 starts at $26.2K while a Camaro starts at $25.9K, and a Mustang starts at $25.2K. The ancient Nissan 300Z starts at $29.9K, but is more car.

    One last thing, after the initial launch, Toyota never put a lot of marketing love behind the FR-S/86, and launching as a Scion in the first place without the Celica moniker was a huge mistake out of the gate. Certainly when the FR-S was launched Toyota had to be at least thinking about winding the Scion brand down.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So much hurt with 86, would have / should have / could have. I’ve driven one on a track and its worthy of all its praise but at the same time they dropped the ball on things listed above its a real shame.

      Somewhat the same with LC here… it could have been the next Supra if the price was cut by 60%. I think it looks too aggressive to be a Lexus. Lexus needs to follow the Germans with understated and smooth designs, not Nissan and Honda’s hey-look-at-me alien insect robot styling.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Dealership stuffing? There has been one on display since locally since July.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Lexus meeting a pretty modest sales goal in the first few months on sale is nothing to write home about. Let’s see what happens at year three. Lest we forget, the AWFUL Lexus SC430 sold 14,462 copies in its first year on sale. By year three it was under 10K sales. Year five, under 6K. At the end of a typical seven year model cycle, they were selling 165 of them a month. The SC trudged on for a few more years with truly pathetic sales numbers, and then was finally taken out back and shot.

    Lexus lives and dies on the RX and the ES, and amazingly sells lumbering, overpriced, generally uncompetitive luxury trucks to people who just can’t be seen in an MDX, and are too frightened to think about buying EU. Oh and I guess to the 6 people who will genuinely use their off-road capabilities.

    Unlike the SC430, the LC at least seems to be a pretty good car. But I wouldn’t bet on it maintaining even those sales numbers for very long.

    • 0 avatar

      According to cars.com, Lexus dealers currently have 819 LC 500’s and LC500h’s in stock. Seems like Lexus is making the same mistake with the LC500 that they made with the RC-F and GS-F. They were over produced and sat on dealers’ lots until they were heavily discounted. A 15-20% discount is not unusual, especially late in the model year.

    • 0 avatar
      slow_poke

      THIS is exactly right. i’m looking for a 7 seat towing SUV that is really comfortable for the family for trips. buddy has a used GL320. comfy, tows 7K, diesel. perfect. EU – yikes!

      ok, where next. off to the LX570, GX470. – don’t care about the off-road so these are just leather clad trucks. not going to be that comfy, and the cost is CRAZY!

      ok, off to the MDX. but wait. turns out Long Term Quality Index (thanks Lang) shows them as surprisingly LESS reliable then the MB. what the… ok, now i’m locked. i guess this is what they call analysis paralysis…

    • 0 avatar
      gasser

      “AWFUL” SC 430???????
      I’ve had one for 11 years and awful is not an adjective I’d apply. If you don’t like the looks, then its not for you. I still love to see it and regularly get both compliments and offers to buy it. It is what it was designed to be… a heavy boulevard cruiser. It’s fun to put down the top whenever I feel the urge and its a great coupe with the top up. Its been dead reliable needing only a door lock repair and a set of ball joints (thanks Los Angeles street maintenance.)
      Everthing inside and out has held up well and looks great.
      Lexus, please sell me some more “AWFUL” cars!

      • 0 avatar
        vb9594

        Ha! Came here to say exactly this. We picked up an ’05 SC430 last spring. Awful? Riiiight. A rock solid boulevard cruiser full of luxury and gorgeous styling.

        Thanks for my morning chuckle, Dave!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Can’t believe the hybrid version isn’t doing better. I mean if I spend $100K on a fast depreciating coupe from a non-sporty brand, I may need that extra $20 per month in fuel savings to stay fiscally solvent.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Take out all the stupid features, bring price to $30K and you will move many more of these

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Absolutely the most hideous thing on four wheels that I’ve seen in quite some time.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Were I to buy a two door car today, it would say “Jaguar” on the badge. In coupe form, by far the best styled new cars extant.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I got quoted? Wow, I am humbled. Thanks.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    I’d buy one – but they are delusional with that number estimate.

    If they were competing with the 911 and had something competitive at, say, 70% of the price. Then sure.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    There are 400 blind people buying cars every month? Who knew? With any luck, at that rate of sales I may never see one.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I saw one in the wild for the first time. A couple, the same age or only slightly older than me (40) was shopping at Lowes and trying to figure out how they would fit their new outdoor cushions, potted plants and other Lowes purchases in the car.

    Then they drove away with his can of Red Bull on top of the car. He was in the passenger seat trying to reach for it while the car was moving. All I could see was the icky red stuff spilling into the car. Finally, somehow, common sense prevailed and he got out to get the can.

    I laughed, I cried, I shook my head while I loaded my supremely less cool Toyota Sienna SE with bags of sand, plants and pavers.

    But the car sounded pretty cool as it burbled away.

  • avatar
    SeldomScene1980

    Leases are part of sales, right? I doubt most of these sales are actual purchases. Right now, it’s a 36 month lease, 10k mile/year limit, $5k down and $1100/month. If I could afford it, I’d spend $45k to drive one for 3 years.

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