In 2011, the GS mid-size premium sedan was the first Lexus model to get the spindle grille. It sure is an aggressive design feature that has spread, in various forms, to the brand’s other new vehicles – but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
Lexus vice president for the US Jeff Bracken admitted he’s received phone calls from loyal brand customers, most of them older, who do not like the new grille. Despite that, he is all for the new design language: “We can’t move forward in the fashion we want based on that buyer group”, he noted. “To not get after a younger group, that would be the bigger mistake.”
Designer Yasuo Kajino isn’t worried one bit. In fact, he says that everyone should better get used to it, for this grille will be a prominent feature of Lexus models, evolving with time.
“In order to succeed in the premium sector, we can’t just buid something the same as the German brands. In order to stay, we have to basically be different from other brands”, he told WardsAuto in an interview.
“Spindle is just part of the form of the vehicle, right? So if the basis or the shape of the vehicle changes, obviously the form of the spindle will change together with the car”, Kajino added.
That much is obvious from its application on the models that have been launched so far. On the GS, the grille is bisected by a horizontal bar which is painted the same color as the bodywork. On the compact IS saloon, it is blacked out, except for its F Sport version, where it is covered by a mesh insert.
The spindle grille may be polarizing but the numbers show that Lexus is about to record its best sales in the US market in seven years, projecting 305,000 deliveries when the December results are announced.
The last time it exceeded the 300,000 mark was back in 2007, when it sold 329,177 units. Even so, it will trail both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which through November had sold 318,837 and 298,212 vehicles respectively.
*Correction: The latest GS was presented in 2011 and not in 2013