That doesn't mean Lexus has given up on its quest for sales growth. But the priority will remain on brand image, dealer throughput and the customer experience, Bracken said.
German competitors each have a hundred more U.S. dealerships than Lexus and are pushing into price tiers where Lexus won't go, lest it encroach on its full-line partner, Toyota.
If German brands "dip below $30,000 MSRP or even transaction price, there's a lot of volume there," Bracken said. "And since our strategy is not to go below $30,000, it just makes it a more competitive environment in the luxury industry as we try and fill more premium gaps."
Lexus cut its entry-level hybrid, the CT hatchback, in the U.S. last year as volume dwindled. To take its place, Lexus is developing a small crossover based on the UX Concept vehicle, although Bracken wouldn't give any details.
Lexus also finally introduced a three-row version of its best-selling RX midsize crossover in November. The RXL now trickling out to dealers should add around 15,000 in new sales this year, Bracken said.
With 71.7 percent of Lexus' product mix going to crossovers and SUVs in December, investing in a production version of the LF-1 could be a needed pivot upmarket as the brand matures, analysts said.
"They need to stretch the brand in this direction, and the LC 500 was a great first step," said Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "The LF-1 Limitless would be a great follow-up, particularly because as beautiful as the LC 500 is, it has a big flaw: It's a car."
If Lexus wants to steal some real volume from rivals, it needs a crossover in that space, he said.