Globally Lexus’ sales jumped 6% in 2021, falling just shy of record sales.
Global sales in 2021 were the second-highest annual result for Lexus. The brand’s all-time sales record of 765,330 units came in 2019 before the pandemic.
When Toyota Motor Corp.’s delivered 2021 year-end results for its premium brand, company leaders reported overall volume increased to 760,012 vehicles in 2021. North America topped the list for sales, with sales climbing 12% to 332,000 units on robust deliveries of the RX and NX crossovers and ES sedan.
Though sales were up, Lexus finished third in luxury sales, behind BMW at No. 1 and Tesla at No. 2.
In the U.S., Lexus finished third in the luxury sales race, behind No. 1 BMW and runner-up Tesla.
China came in second as Lexus' next largest market. Here sales increased by 1% to 227,000 vehicles. China sales hit record levels for Lexus in the world's biggest auto market.
European sales inched up 2% to 72,000 units.
Meanwhile, Lexus' global electrified sales rose 10% to 260,000 vehicles, a record high. But the brand's only battery electric offering, the UX300e, sold just 5,800 units.
Hybrids and crossovers represented most sales. The Lexus crossover range hit 495,664 vehicles, representing 65% of worldwide volume.
If supply and inventories had not seized up the second half of 2021, Lexus would have hit a new record last year, spokesman Norihiro Tsuji said in a briefing. If supply normalizes in 2022, Lexus hopes to top 2021's results in 2022, he added.
“We utilized inventory in the U.S. fully, with inventory getting lower, there was still leftover demand for Lexus,” Tsuji said. The Lexus brand had just 22 days of inventory as of Jan. 1, down from 23 days in December and down from 29 days on Jan. 1, 2021.
Lexus also released photos of its new previewing the brand's upcoming midsize electric crossover, the RZ450e Prototype.
Lexus announced plans to unveil the production version of the RZ450e this spring. The vehicle is expected to hit showrooms in late 2022 or early 2023.
Lexus reports plans to be an electric-only brand by 2030 in Europe, U.S. and China, and aims to be selling 1 million EVs annually by that time. The brand plans to sell only full-electric cars globally by 2035.