The Lexus GS sedan was always kind of the odd duck in the lineup. It was never as popular as the front-wheel drive Camry-based ES nor was as luxurious as the larger, flagship LS. A recent rumor suggests that the GS sedan may be discontinued. If this is true, I’m not sure people are going to be too upset about it.
A blog post on Lexus Enthusiast cited and translated a Japanese publication called MAG-X who supposedly has an inside scoop within Lexus who revealed that there are currently no plans to continue the GS platform. Lexus Enthusiast is very clear that this is an unsubstantiated rumor, but here is the gist of it:
“Our scoop department found out that TMC decided to suspend the development of the next generation Lexus GS…But after the close consideration/examination of its image and positioning in the lineup, TMC came to a conclusion that the GS doesn’t/won’t play a desired role in the lineup.”
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The source cites several factors as to why the death of the GS is likely. The first of which is the fact that the next generation LS is now downsizing to a V6 motor and this causes a “product overlap” with the V6-powered GS.
The more plausible explanation is the fact that buyers have, for the most part, shifted away from sedans. Crossovers and SUVs are the moneymakers now, and Lexus is cashing in with stuff like the upcoming UX crossover.
Of course, luxury sedans will always have a market providing there are enough customers that want them, and that is currently the biggest problem for the continuation of the GS; no one is really buying them. Ostensibly a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class competitor, the GS—despite respectable power in GS F form—hasn’t really been that interesting or a segment leader in some time.
According to the automotive sales tracking website GoodCarBadCar.net, Lexus GS sales were down 61 percent in 2016, with fewer than 15,000 units sold. Yet the ES managed to find almost 60,000 customers in the same year despite seeing a 21 percent drop in sales compared to 2015.
Perhaps the reason why the GS never really caught on is because Toyota corporate wanted to cancel the car after the second generation, but kept it because of pressure from Lexus executives. It seems that Toyota didn’t really put much effort into advancing the GS into something that could rival the technology and driving experience similar to the Mercedes E-Class.
It’s not looking good for the future of the GS, and while its demise is still a rumor at this stage, given the market conditions, the fact that we may not see a new model after 2018 isn’t terribly far fetched.