Unless your surname is Porsche and your given name 911, the sales volumes generated by premium two-doors are frighteningly small. Lexus nevertheless brought to market the two-pronged Lexus LC range, as an indirect successor to the SC, with lofty expectations.
Moreover, Lexus was public with its goals, going so far as to respond directly to TTAC to defend the companyâ€™s reasoning.
If early figures were all we had to go by, the initial hype surrounding the $90K+, V8-engined LC500 and its hybrid LC500h sibling indisputably produced goal-besting results. More than a year into its tenure, however, itâ€™s now clear that the LC has fallen wildly short of fulfilling Lexusâ€™ hopes.
It was internal reactions, auto show response, and customer clinics that persuaded Lexus of the LCâ€™s U.S. sales performance possibilities. â€œThe first time I saw this car,â€� then Lexus division manager Mark Templin said of the LF-LC Concept in 2012, â€œI was speechless.â€�
â€œOur confidence started with the tremendous response to the LF-LC show car that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012,â€� Lexus communications manager Nancy Hubbell told TTAC last year. Then came a â€œdynamic clinicâ€� in 2016 where Lexus heard feedback from customers that suggested â€œthe LC will be a strong player in the luxury coupe market.â€�
The result was a 400 per month sales goal for the LC range. Lexus even stated its capacity to supply the United States with 500 LCs per month if demand was sufficient.
It wasnâ€™t. It isnâ€™t. It wonâ€™t be.
Just as the BB predicted.
Comments on the early LC story included one from dal20402: â€œSetting a goal like this is just setting Lexus up for the unnecessary perception of failure.â€�Â badhobz said, â€œDumb move. I donâ€™t think itâ€™ll do that well.â€� This was the general tenor of responses to Lexus, though there were some believers, and some, like stingray65, who thought Lexus could live up to its internal expectations for perhaps 4-6 months.
It turns out the LC was only capable of sustaining that high level of demand for two months. 419 were sold in May 2017. Then Lexus moved 423 in June of last year. A 402-unit month in July 2017 marked the end of Lexus hitting its target. Over the last 13 months, Lexusâ€™ monthly average has fallen 48-percent shy of the 400-unit expectation. In the doldrums of winter, January and February combined for a paltry 304 total LC sales.
Granted, the Lexus LC is outselling the more costly Mercedes-AMG GT by more than 50 units per month and sells roughly as often as Mercedes-Benzâ€™s SL-Class. The Lexus generates more than four times the volume of the aged and more performance-oriented Nissan GT-R.
On the other hand, with its vast 911 range, Porsche is on track for a three-year sales high of nearly 10,000 units, producing twice as many sales in an average month as Lexus did LC sales at the carâ€™s peak.
That, of course, is an unfair comparison. Nothing competes with the 911. Itâ€™s in another league.
The Lexus LC, however, was supposed to compete with itself, and with the companyâ€™s own internal expectations.
No can do.
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Driving.caÂ and the founder and former editor ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.