Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.'s Lexus unit expects sales of the second-generation IS to exceed sales of the current-generation model by 600%.
“We'll do well over 40,000 units” in a calendar year, says Bob Carter, Lexus group vice president and general manager. Current IS sales have been in the range of 1,000 units per month, he says.
Carter disagrees with the notion the current IS has been a flop because of its small volume, saying it succeeded in bringing young, professional buyers to the brand.
“It had a narrow but somewhat critical following,” but it brought “primarily male, younger professionals to the Lexus lineup,” says Carter, adding the average IS buyer age is 29 years old, second only to the Scion tC at 25.
Carter calls the second-generation IS “incredibly different” than the original, and says it should appeal to a slightly older demographic: 30- to 45-year-olds. Although current plans call solely for sedan-based variants, he says future derivatives will be researched.
In Europe, the new IS will offer a diesel engine option, but Carter says it is unlikely to be sold in the U.S. However, if Lexus customers begin to demand a diesel engine, “we could re-evaluate that (position),” he says.