Lexus Australia is killing one of its best-known badges in November.
The Lexus IS mid-sized sedan will be one of three models removed from the Australian range in November 2021, on the back of changes to Australian Design Rules (ADR) for side impact collisions.
CarExpert understands the IS, RC, and CT would have required structural changes to carry on in our market – changes not required elsewhere in the world.
The death of the IS in particular comes at a time when customers are looking at SUVs such as the NX as the default family car, rather than more traditional three-box sedans.
Stricter side impact regulations came into force in Japan in 2018, but aren’t due to hit Europe until 2022.
The rules came into force for new vehicles introduced to Australia 2017, but will apply to all passenger cars from later in 2021, and to commercial vehicles from November 2022.
The RC and CT were introduced to Australia in 2014 and 2011 respectively, while the new IS launched in 2020 is actually a heavily facelifted take on the car revealed in 2013, so the 2017 deadline for new cars didn’t apply.
Sales for the IS have been slow relative to its German rivals in 2021, with 611 deliveries to the end of May sitting well behind the BMW 3 Series (1686) and Mercedes-Benz C-Class (1778).
The IS has outsold the Audi A4 this year, with close to double the reported sales.
Although its best-known badge is going, Lexus isn’t giving up on passenger cars in Australia.
The mid-sized ES sedan will carry on locally, with an updated model due later in 2021.
Lexus points to three years of sales growth in a shrinking segment as justification for the ES, which is built on the latest TNGA underpinnings, sticking around.