Lexus IS almost sold out in Australia

No more than five Lexus IS sedans remain unsold on Australian showroom floors, some three months after the last examples arrived on local shores.

Three months after the final cars arrived on Australian shores, stock of the Lexus IS sedan have dwindled to only a few examples – drawing to a close 23 years of the company’s best-selling model.

The axe landed on the Lexus IS sedan in Australia late last year, after it fell foul of new side-impact crash test regulations – marking the departure of Lexus Australia’s best-selling model from showrooms (for now), with 47,842 cars sold between its 1999 launch, and the end of January 2022.

With the final new examples granted compliance with Australian regulations locally before the end of October 2021, Lexus Australia chief executive John Pappas confirmed to media this week only five unsold examples remain in the brand’s national dealer network (as of February 9).

It’s unlikely that stock will last beyond March or April, as VFACTS sales data published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries reports 14 examples as sold in January 2022.

Launched in 1999 in 2.0-litre inline-six IS200 guise, the Lexus IS was the first true Japanese rival to the German mid-size luxury car stalwarts, the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, and quickly grew to become Lexus Australia’s most popular model, with 1533 cars sold in its debut year.

The Lexus IS nameplate hit its sales peak in 2007, when 4093 cars were sold – thanks to the then-fresh second-generation model, which included a convertible body style, and the following year a high-performance IS F model.

However, sales only increased three times in the 14 years that followed, despite the introduction of a brand-new model in 2013 (when 2977 cars were sold).

VFACTS data reports 1143 cars as sold in 2021 – an increase over the 703 sold in 2020, a combination of the arrival of a sharp facelift in late 2020 and market recovery following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but affected by the nameplate’s axing in the second half of the year.

The 47,842 Lexus IS sedans (and convertibles) sold since launch make the nameplate the best-selling model in the Japanese luxury brand’s history – though the RX large SUV is catching up, with 41,207 examples sold since it went on sale in 2003.

Lexus Australia has shown interest in a new Lexus IS sedan – coinciding with rumours pointing to a fourth-generation, all-electric model arriving in 2025, as a rival for the top-selling Tesla Model 3.

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