Lexus RC coupe out to win hearts

words - Bruce Newton
New coupe is a “kick ass driver's car” and a taste of the future, declares global boss
Lexus is out to win hearts rather than minds with the RC coupe, which one of the company’s top global executives has declared a “kick ass driver’s car”.

Lexus International executive vice president Mark Templin has also told the RC is only the beginning of a flow of exciting performance models from the company. 

The RC launches at the Tokyo motor show as a V6 and hybrid this month and is expected to be topped by a V8 RC F that is tipped to be launched at the Detroit show in January.

A version powered by the company’s new 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is also expected to join the range.

“In the past we have been a very good company at building great cars and delivering great experiences to customers but not so much at driving the emotional quotient of our brand,” Templin admitted.

“Cars like the LFA got us started, the GS continued that, IS continued that. The RC will take it to another level.”

Templin, who is the third most senior Lexus executive globally and also a managing officer of the Toyota Motor Company, was speaking at last week’s Australian ES sedan media launch.

“We want people to be passionate about our brand for more than just the way the dealer takes care of them or the fact that the car doesn’t break.

“We want them to get excited about the products and have fun with the products and want to show them off to other people and be advocates for the brand.

“The more we can create those advocates the more they become our marketing department and our sales force. They do all the hard work for us, they sell cars for us and even though everyone is not going to buy a coupe it helps make the brand more special.”

The RC was previewed by the LF-CC concept car and is based on the modular rear-wheel drive architecture of the IS and GS sedans. It fills the same role in the range as the new 4 Series does for BMW and the A5 for Audi.

“The car is great because it is wider than IS, it’s got the track width of GS, it’s shorter than IS. It’s got bits from both of those cars and it’s going to be a kick ass driver’s car with a lower centre of gravity and some other things that will make it a fantastic car to drive.

“It will also get people excited about Lexus design.”

Lexus has made attempts to inspire passion previously, going as far back as the ‘L Tuned’ modifications of the early noughties. That branding has since been replaced by F Sports, but Templin admits that hasn’t been a great success either.

“We have not done a real good job of communicating the whole F portfolio. Some people even close to us didn’t understand it. You had the F Sport accessories for the young guy who buys an IS used someplace – he wants to have an IS F one day – and he can make his car cool.

“Then you get to the next level where you have F Sport cars which we build, which don’t have all the performance attributes of a real F car but gets you closer. And then there’s the real F car on top of that and I would love for us to have that across the line... we aspire to be more like that.”

Putting the unique limited edition LFA Supercar aside, there has only been one F ‘halo’ model developed and that’s the V8-powered second generation IS launched in 2007. But along with the RC F a GS F is expected soon.

“F is an important part of our forward strategy,” Templin added. “At each step I want to have halo cars that make the brand, make people passionate about Lexus.”

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Published : Monday, 11 November 2013
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