Lexus May Announce Intent to Build Three-Row RX Soon
Segment-Leading Crossover Losing Market Share
With a new Lexus RX on the way in November, it’s odd to hear the company already talking about room for improvement, but according to WardsAuto, that’s exactly what’s happening. The outlet reports that top brass from the luxury automaker acknowledge that the lack of an optional third-row seat may be hampering its still–segment-leading sales.
Jeff Bracken, senior vice president for Lexus in the U.S., says that dealers have complained about the lack of a three-row crossover, and the company may be losing market share because of it. Although it sells better than most other midsize luxury CUVs, the Lexus RX has ceded some sales to its seven-seater competition. Wards specifically cites the BMW X5: Through July 2015, X5 share grew from 8.9 to 10.4 percent, while the RX’s share dropped from 20.1 to 15.5 percent.
All hope is not lost, however. The 2016 Lexus RX, which goes on sale late this year, rides on a 2-inch-longer wheelbase, with an extra 5 inches of overall length. That growth (along with platform-sharing with the three-row Toyota Highlander) means that there might be some space in the cargo area for a pair of deployable torture chambers, er, seats. As with its competition (except the larger Acura MDX and Mercedes-Benz GL/GLS), the Lexus RX’s third row would likely be a seldom-used backup plan for when someone’s kid needs to carpool home.
Wards seems to think that there’s an impending announcement from Lexus regarding a seven-seater RX. We think it would be a good idea, given that Lexus’ only current options for three-row SUVs are the thirsty GX and LX SUVs, which might be too expensive or too large for many potential customers. An RX with a vestigial pair of rear seats might be just the thing to keep the well-heeled coming back to the Lexus dealer.