Coming off a worldwide record of 824,258 sales in 2023, might this year be even stronger for Toyota’s luxury division? The potential is certainly there, thanks not only to existing momentum but the addition of models such as the LBX. This small crossover should do especially well in Lexus’ Europe region, where more than 69,000 vehicles were sold last year. That was not only despite the semi-conductors crisis but another one-off hit being the end of exports to Russia.

With 355,606 deliveries in North America during 2023, this remains far away the number one region for the brand, thirty five years on from its world debut there. And now with a name check rhyme in the massively successful lead track off the instantly iconic, Cowboy Carter, could Lexus possibly be any more state-of-the-art 2024 culturally American?

If success in the USA seems assured to continue, things look very good in China too. It cannot be noted often enough how impressive an achievement this remains, the brand being an imports-only one there. Even allowing for the taxes which make such cars, MPVs and SUVs fairly expensive, more than 180,000 were snapped up by local buyers.

It was due to the relative popularity of such models that Lexus’ new luxury MPV debuted at the Shanghai motor show a year ago this month. It is still in the process of being rolled-out globally, coming in LM 350h (2.5 atmo hybrid) and LM 500h (2.4 turbo hybrid) forms. Pricing is astonishingly high, yet sales are brisk, particularly in the PRC. The life cycle should be seven years, which means a facelift would be due in 2027.

Of two other high-priced models, the LS last had some minor updates in October 2023 (mostly a new digital instrument cluster), which means that a sixth generation should arrive in 2026 or 2027. Will it be electric though? What may instead happen is one more facelift in 2025 and then the leap to make the big sedan EV-only in 2028. A successor for the LC – also electric – would logically follow one year later.

Toyota could see Lexus sales go over the magic million mark as soon as 2025 or 2026, the latter year also being when at least one additional model is due to arrive. Previewed at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show by the LF-ZC concept, one such will be an electric fastback. The prototype was 4,750 mm long with a 2,890 mm wheelbase, so we are talking Tesla Model 3 sized.

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The LF-ZC was joined at the Tokyo motor show by another global premiere, this being the 5.3 long LF-ZL electric crossover design study. If it reaches production, 2027 seems a likely year for its launch.

Returning to existing vehicles, the RZ has not been received with unanimously glowing reviews. That’s due mainly to a less than exceptional range. Toyota has responded by launching an extra variant which loses 100 kilos compared to the RZ 450e. The new RZ 300e is initially for Japan, where it has debuted with a 150 kW and 266 Nm motor and 71.4 kWh battery. There should be a facelift for both 2WD single motor and 4WD two-motor variants in 2026/7 and a successor in 2029/30.

One of Lexus’ traditionally big-volume models, the ES, continues to sell well, particularly in China and to a lesser extent in the USA. Toyota will next year do what might have once been unthinkable and stop build at its giant Georgetown complex in Kentucky (Japanese production will continue). That probably means the eighth generation car, due in 2026, may go electric-only.

Potentially set to land around the same time is yet another EV. Other than trademark applications discovered last year, and the fact that it should be a crossover, little is known about the HZ 300e (one motor), HZ 450e (two) and HZ 550e.

Finally, the new LBX, which is Lexus’ most important model of 2024, taking the brand into a segment where it has not yet been. Already, we have been given a hint that an equivalent to Audi’s RS or Genesis’ Magma high performance divisions could be coming. That seems to have been the message telegraphed by the Morizo RR Concept (see image).

A surprise debut at Tokyo Auto Salon in January, the rapid LBX prototype was claimed to be packing a 224 kW and 400 Nm version of the TMC G16E-GTS 1.6-litre three-cylinder turbo from the GR Yaris. As it has the informal name for Toyota Motor Corporation’s CEO and so-called Master Driver, Akio Toyoda himself might well be fast-tracking it. See the man himself discussing it here.