Future Lexus vehicles will have a bolder style to help boost US sales past 300,000 annually within five years, the head of the luxury Toyota brand has said.


“Competitors have said that they’re thankful that Lexus design has been more generic,” Lexus group vice president and general manager Dennis Clements told Reuters, adding: “Our customers have told us they’re looking for a more emotional and elegant design.”


Clements reportedly said he now regards recently launched boldly styled Cadillac and Infiniti models as true competitors to Lexus, which has been the top-selling US luxury vehicle brand for four years in a row.


Reuters said ‘bold’ could also describe the LF-C convertible that Lexus unveiled at the New York motor show last week; it’s a concept car that strongly hints at what the successor to the IS300 will look like when it is launched in about two years.


The IS300, currently priced from about $US30,000, is key to bringing new buyers to Lexus, but sales have been disappointing, Clements told Reuters. He added that new styling will help the IS300 compete against the entry-level sporty car leader –BMW’s 3 series, which outsells the IS by 10 to one.


“We need to have more body (styles), all-wheel drive, multiple engines, transmissions, really to be competitive with the 3 series,” Clements told the news agency, adding: “I think we could easily take our volume up to 3,000 to 4,000 a month (from about 1,000) were we to have a coupe, a convertible and a sedan.”


Currently, the IS 300 is only available as a four-door sedan or a sport wagon, with no optional engines, and with rear-wheel drive only, Reuters noted.


The report said the first Lexus to display the new styling direction will be the successor to the GS300 and GS430, which goes on sale early next year.


Clements told the news agency the GS and IS and other new models will help grow Lexus annual sales past 300,000 within five years from 259,755 last year, and the brand as it expands into Japan and Europe. This year, Clements said, he expects Lexus US sales to grow to 270,000 vehicles, in-line with industry sales, keeping Lexus market share flat at 14.6% of the luxury segment.


He reportedly added that sales will be boosted by baby boomers moving into their peak earnings years and the higher number of Americans taking home more than $100,000 a year, a group the US Census Bureau called the fastest-growing in America.


But Lexus has no plans to go down market and offer vehicles priced in the $20,000 range, Clements told Reuters, though he added that Lexus could go further up market.


“Mercedes has at least 12 models priced over $70,000, Lexus has none,” Clements said. “Our buyers are telling us that there is an opportunity for us to move up with our brand,” he added, according to the report.