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Why the Lexus GS Might Be on Its Deathbed

Luxury brand Lexus is known for making comfortable, yet high-performing vehicles. Its flagship midsize sedan, the Lexus GS, has been gracing U.S. roads since the ’90s. But while it’s always been a good car, low sales and high competition with its own siblings might just mean the end of the Lexus GS sedan.

The midsize sedan Lexus never needed

According to Auto Evolution, the Lexus GS fell into Lexus’ lineup as a midsize luxury sports sedan in the U.S. back in 1993. The GS got a new design and entered its second generation in 1997, offering a powerful engine and a more performance-oriented Lexus.

For the 2006 model year, Lexus introduced its third generation of GS sedans, boasting multiple powertrain options and even a hybrid variant. Although meant to fit perfectly in the space between full-size and compact sedan shoppers, it struggled to gain mainstream attention.

In 2012, Lexus debuted an updated and redesigned GS for its fourth generation. In an effort to appeal to more buyers, Lexus added a variety of new features and designs but also focused on the sedan’s sporty nature as well. Though the GS has undergone many changes throughout the years, it has a reputation of reliability, solid handling, and good ratings. But good ratings haven’t stopped the decent GS from falling into the category of “niche buyers.”

Lexus’ last stand: the 2020 Lexus GS

As sales failed to excel against other vehicles in its lineup, Lexus has significantly streamlined the GS in recent years. For the 2020 model year, only two variants of the GS sedan are available, according to Car and Driver.

With a starting price of around $52,000, the base GS 350 sedan comes standard with rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. The upgraded F Sport, however, has a starting price of around $54,000 and comes standard with rear-wheel-drive, with available all-wheel-drive. A standard V6 engine that makes 311 hp can be found on all models, paired to either a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Say goodbye to the midsize Lexus for good

Unfortunately for the GS, it’s never been one of Lexus’ best-selling vehicles. According to CarSalesBase, sales looked promising at one time, reaching more than 33,000 in 2005. But numbers slowly declined every year following, stumbling between numbers as high as 23,000 and as low as 4,000 since its peak in 2005. After the most recent year, the GS suffered its worst year yet, selling only 3,378 units in 2019.

But even in its highest period of popularity, the GS sedan has never been a popular choice in Lexus’ lineup. When paired up against its other sedans, like the IS and ES, it’s clear buyers have a preference. When given the choice between multiple sedans, Lexus buyers choose the GS last. According to Lexus, only 3,378 GS models were sold in 2019, but 14,920 IS and 51,336 ES models were sold during the same period. 

Discontinuation of the GS sedan has been foreseeable for years as sales declined and Lexus limited production. According to MotorTrend, “rumors and hints have been swirling for a while now that the GS was on the chopping block.” Lexus even announced it would be making a limited-edition production run of the GS, the Black Line Special Edition, indicating that the brand was decreasing production even further.

In a recent press release from Lexus, however, the brand is officially ready to say goodbye to the GS sedan. According to Lexus, the GS will reach the “end of production in August 2020.” The Black Line GS, or “Eternal Touring” in Japan, will be limited to only 200 units and will officially be the last we will see of the Lexus GS as Lexus has no plans for replacing or renewing the GS in its lineup.