Some of you may recollect when Lexus first hit the showrooms in their brand new dealerships back in 1990. The classy, clean, modern appeal that Apple exudes today in their styling was seen first in Lexus showrooms and products. In the beginning, the Lexus LS 400 and the ES 250 were the only cars to choose from under the Lexus name. While many people dismissed the ES 250 as a pricey, rebadged Camry, I saw these specimens as perfection. Lexus had cast a spell on me with their approach. Lexus had everyone's attention on the LS 400, due in part to an early recall and the amazing way in which they handled the recall, but mostly because the LS 400 only shared its attention and new "L" prestige with the ES 250. Their commercials were also top class. This 2 car model simplicity was very attractive to me. The choice was, do I want the quiet and large Luxury Sedan with the V-8 or do I want the "Sporty" Executive Sedan with the 6 cylinder? Lexus ran commercials for the new 1990 LS400 at a mere starting price of $35,000 (or about $61,600 adjusted for 2015). A couple years later the sexy V-8 coupe, the SC 400 was introduced and it shared ample showroom space with the ES and LS. These cars complimented each other very well and would have seemed perfect in a wealthy person's three car garage. Well, nothing lasts forever and neither did that nice 3 car model family. Not long after that, Lexus added the six cylinder SC 300, the RX 300, LX 470, GS 300 and GS 400. After the IS 250 entered the Lexus family I stopped paying much attention to Lexus and the many additional Lexi they added since that time. Today there is the Lexus: IS, ES, GS, LS, RC, IS C, NX, RX, GX, LX, CT HYBRID, NX HYBRID, RX HYBRID, ES HYBRID, GS HYBRID, LS HYBRID, RC F, LFA, GS F.
During the same time period BMW had simplicity in their model line up, too. They had the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and the 8 Series. I guess I would have ended it with the X5. But today BMW has the 2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, X1, X3, X5 ,X5M, X6M, X6, X5, Z4, M3, M4 ,M5 ,M6, and I series.
Today, I wonder if those who buy less familiar new models from Lexus, Mercedes, BMW or other luxury brands to make a statement are perhaps being somewhat short changed, to put it nicely. Are the automakers losing their focus or is this thought of mine merely confirm my gentle drift towards being an old curmudgeon ?
My wish is for more model simplicity, brand concentration, familiarity and awareness. I think some buyers are scared off or turned off with too many choices. I would be in favor of the manufacturers transitioning back into the simple, easy to follow lineup of the past. I would rather see more, desired features and options on fewer models. Perhaps build onto an already established model, such as a wagon or coupe. After-all, this old way of doing business has already proven itself successful.