TOKYO -- Lexus is nudging its U.S. sales target up with new-model intros expected to spur second-half turnover.
Lexus expects to sell between 260,000 and 270,00 vehicles in the United States this year, Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin said this month at an IS sedan event.
The new plan is a step up from Lexus' April outlook of 260,000 units for 2013. Its upper range would mark an 11 percent increase over 244,166 vehicles sold in the United States last year.
Lexus has its work cut out for it in reaching 270,000.
Its U.S. sales climbed 10 percent to 118,415 units in the first six months of the year, putting Lexus on an annualized pace for 237,000 units. Market share was flat at 1.5 percent, and the luxury marque still trailed rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
But this year's arrival of the redesigned IS sedan is expected to fuel sales in the second half of the year, Templin said.
Lexus aims to sell 32,000 units of the IS in the United States this year -- with 22,500 coming from the new 2014 model year. Last year, the long-in-the-tooth IS sold 27,708 units.
Toyota Motor Corp.'s luxury brand also will benefit from the full-year sales effect of the redesigned ES and LS sedans.
Despite the anticipated uptick, Lexus won't be pulled into a volume race against its premium German rivals, Templin said.
"Our goal in the U.S. market is just good, steady growth," he said. "We don't want to try to do too much too fast. That's when bad habits creep into the business. We absolutely get no pressure from Akio Toyoda to sell more volume."
One car that won't be fueling U.S. sales is the hybrid IS.
Lexus expects the gasoline-electric version of the IS to account for 55 percent of the nameplate's sales in Japan. But that drivetrain option won't be headed stateside.
Templin said the entry-level hybrid sedan segment is covered adequately already in the United States by hybrid versions of the ES and GS sedans. The slow-selling hybrid-only HS sedan was discontinued in the United States but is still sold in Japan.