While Lexus hasn’t confirmed anything, there’s growing speculation that the brand’s ES sedan will ultimately replace the GS. The model’s sales have trended downward since 2015, going from 23,117 U.S. deliveries that year to just 7,773 in 2017.
The brand hasn’t announced any plans to update it. Considering the fourth generation has been around since 2011, you’d think Lexus would have said something by now. But the company — like most luxury manufacturers — is preoccupied with moving utility vehicles. There’s now a three-row RX, and the smaller UX should help attract the younger demographic while allowing Lexus to dabble in a subscription-based sales model.
If it succeeds, the IS could be the next vehicle in the brand’s lineup to be tied to a tree and shot.
While the fate of the GS is practically guaranteed (the company has already discontinued it in Europe), the IS does better business overall. Still, annual sales have dropped each year since 2014 and the brand’s new U.S. general manager, David Christ, recently told Automotive News that Lexus is considering the future of both models.
That said, he also reiterated the company’s earlier promise not to betray consumers who prefer sedans and stated Lexus has high hopes for the ES. “There are still a lot of luxury cars being sold,” he said, “and we’re not going to abandon that market.”
However, it’s that market that will dictate just how true a statement that is. GS sales are almost trivial at this point and the IS has lost about half its strength. Both models are growing old and there’s no replacements scheduled that we know of. That’s going to result in the brand’s sedan lineup looking extremely lean, and it’s hard to imagine an explosion of sales for the RC or LC coupes as a result — but it’s a nice thought.