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Lexus IS 250C launches

Sun, 10 May 2009 00:00:00 -0700

The Lexus IS 250C launched in Japan this week - and will reach the UK in July

The IS Convertible comes in two flavours – the Lexus IS250 C and the 350C – although the initial launch is just the IS 250C. The IS 350C will launch later in the year.

Lexus has been working on the IS Convertible for some time, and is aiming it straight in the sites of similar offerings from both BMW and Audi. But this isn’t just about taking on the Germans in the 4 seater convertible market. This is about redeeming themselves in the convertible market as a whole.

The current Lexus convertible offering – The Lexus SC430 – is not a very good car at all. Yes, as you would expect from Lexus, it is well built and well marketed. But that isn’t enough to convince the car buying public it’s worth having. It’s far too expensive, boring and miserable to drive. In fact, so uninspiring is it that even the Americans aren’t buying it.

So Lexus are hoping for much better with the IS Convertible. In fact, they are aiming to sell some 15 times the number of IS convertibles as they manage with the SC430. Which is a big jump. But the Lexus IS is a good car. True, it’s not as much fun to drive as the BMW or Audi, but it is still a good drive, well made and sensibly priced. And there is no reason not to expect the convertible to be as good.

So to outsell it’s sibling by a factor of 15 is quite do-able, particularly as the IS 250C is coming in at a much lower price point. And the target is helped by the fact that Americans are finally starting to see the point of smaller cars, so a target of 20,000 IS 250C sales a year, with 70% of those in North America, is probably quite achievable.

UK prices for the Lexus IS 250C have not been announced yet. But in the US the car is coming in at around $40k, which will probably mean a UK price point in the low-ish £30k range. And not only is the IS 250C likely to be a much better car than the SC430, it will probably be half the price.

By Cars UK