Ever since the LF-CC concept stunned crowds at the Paris Motor Show in September last year, the automotive grapevine has been alive with rumours of an upcoming mid-size coupe from the Japanese automaker.
The British motoring press has already quoted an unnamed Lexus engineer, saying that a two-door version of the IS mid-size sedan is locked in for a production debut in late 2014.
However, Junichi Furuyama - the chief engineer for the new IS range - told TMR this week that a firm decision has yet to be made on an IS-based coupe.
“LF-CC is a very emotional vehicle. We want that kind of a hot vehicle,” Furuyama said to TMR.
“But, from the business’ perspective, the mass volume, the sales volume needs to be correct. So there are big discussions about which model should be prioritised first.
“The emotional perspective, the profitability, the sales volume perspective, we have to consider all these things. And these discussions are still going on.
While he conceded that a small coupe was high on his wishlist, Furuyama said that Lexus still needed to determine whether it would be a strong money-spinner for the brand, and whether other models should hit the production line first.
“There are many jobs for us, many “shopping lists”. So how do we manage the priority for the vehicle?”
“Coupe, we need a coupe. But wagon is a strong request from Europe and a bigger SUV is a strong request from the US too.
“We are now gathering the distributors globally, and discussing what is the number-one priority for Lexus. Which model will be of the most benefit for Lexus.”
But while an IS wagon and SUVs both big and small may be more profitable options for Lexus, Furuyama-san believes Lexus would benefit greatly from the halo effect of a sporty, good-looking coupe.
“Coupe or an F model, such kind of an emotional, “hot” model... definitely creates a more emotional image of Lexus, which is very important,” he said.
“Of course, from the market side, the sales volume doesn’t expect so much from the Coupe or F model. But I believe that such kind of a hot model is very important for us”