Yes, sedans matter. Done right.
By Gary S. Vasilash
Lexus has revealed the major midcycle update of the seventh generation ES, which appeared in 2018. The ES is a sedan. The ES is one of the fundamental products of the brand that we now know as Lexus. In 1989 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Lexus was introduced to the world with two models: the LS 400 sedan and the ES 250. While many associate Lexus with the wildly popular RX crossover, it wasn’t introduced until 1989.
Without the ES, arguably, we wouldn’t have the Lexus that we now know: Let’s face it, while the top-of-the-line LS is notable, its sales potential is limited. (That is: the starting MSRP for an LS is $76,000, while the starting price for an ES is $40,000. The difference is not trivial.)
Lexus has seven cars in its lineup: IS, RC, ES, GS LS, LC and LFA. In 2020 there were 68,205 Lexus cars delivered. Of that number, 43,292 were ES models. Second to it is the IS, at 13,600.
Of course, the brand that made luxury crossovers a thing has five models in the SUV category. In 2020 it sold 206,836. Of that number, 101,059 were RX models. Second to it is the NX, at 55,784.
While it is clear that the crossover is certainly bringing in more buyers, note how important the ES is to the overall car sales: 63% of the total. The RX represents about 49% of the crossover total.
So for 2022 the brand has made some modifications, such as making its Lexus Safety System+ 2.5 as standard equipment (among its elements: Pre-Collision System (PCS) that uses enhanced sensors; it includes Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection and Bicyclist Detection, and Intersection Turning Assist (under certain conditions it will recognize an oncoming vehicle when performing a left-hand turn, or a pedestrian when performing left and right-hand turns; it activates PCS if needed)).
They’ve modified the instrument panel design, doing such things as moving the center screens (standard 8-inch and optional 12.3-inch) forward 4.3 inches for easier accessibility.
On the outside there are new grille patterns. There are new wheels.
They’ve modified the ride and handling characteristics thanks to things like the use of a new rear suspension member brace. They’ve updated the braking system. . .and even enlarged the size of the brake pedal.
They’re even offering an FSPORT accessory and handling package for the hybrid version of the ES.
Lexus is putting a lot into the ES.
Look at those numbers for last year.
And consider this: in 2020 there wasn’t a single Cadillac model—not a car, not a crossover, that had sales of 43,292. The closest is the XT5 crossover, at 35,223.
Yes, the right sedan can matter.