The sedan is an endangered species, with the ever-growing SUV juggernaut set to wipe out the humble family three-box car forever.
That’s the call from Toyota global branding boss, Tokuo Fukuichi, who reportedly said that the company’s Lexus brand needed to up its sedan game if sales are to remain viable.
Speaking with industry paper Automotive News, Mr Fukuichi, said sedans need to offer a sportier experience, as the wallowing on-road performance of SUVs is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
At the other end of the market, Mr Fukuichi said customers were becoming less concerned with woodgrain finishes and leather in their luxury sedans, and that the segment needed to follow its customers by changing into casual trousers.
Lexus fans may be shocked to learn that Fukuichi has even suggested Lexus build a conventional wagon, but the branding boss added that there are currently no such plans.
“Unless we can really offer a sedan experience you cannot have with an SUV or crossover, I think the sedan may not be able to survive if it does not evolve,” Fukuichi said.
“At a certain point of time, the traditional, square, three-box sedan will go away.”
So why are SUVs winning the sales war? Mr Fukuichi said it’s because of the combined practicality, driving position, and their increasingly ‘car-like’ characteristics.
Fukuichi said SUVs offer easier entry and exit, and comfort levels had also improved in recent years.
By giving its sedans a better driving experience and sharper steering, Mr Fukuichi said Lexus’ current sedan models may live to fight another day.
Mr Fukuichi also said sedans should morph toward the four-door coupe look, offering a lower centre of gravity for better handling.
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