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14944Given the end of calendar year 2007 and the second full calendar year of 2nd-generation Lexus IS sales, one might wonder if the "sophomore jinx" has set in and sales have declined. Fortunately, that is not the case.

<A HREF="http://pressroom.toyota.com/Releases/View?id=TYT2008010326480">The Lexus/Toyota/Scion North American Pressroom</A> informs us that, propelled by a final December 2007 sales push of 5651 cars (a 2% increase over December 2006's 5538 ISs sold), calendar year 2007 saw 54,933 IS 250s and IS 350s sold, a modest 0.9% increase over calendar year 2006's 54,267 ISs sold. Still, it makes the IS, along with the more recently revamped ES and LS lines, the only Lexus models to record a sales increase for 2007 versus 2006.

And what can we expect for 2008? Hard to predict. On one hand, most pundits are predicting car sales to fall further for 2008 than 2007's lowest-in-a-decade numbers. On the other hand, Lexus and Toyota sales have been more resilient than most, and the IS F launch and the mostly positive reviews it's been receiving may well boost Lexus IS sales as a whole. Also likely to boost IS sales later this year are the mid-term tweaks the current generation car will receive for the 2009 model year. After all, the disappointingly lame mid-term changes the 3rd-generation Lexus GS received for the 2008 model year were still enough to increase its December 2007 sales by 13.3% (for the GS350) and 8.7% (for the GS460 and GS450h) versus December 2006 figures, the first such increase in well over a year.

And what will those mid-term tweaks for the 2009 Lexus IS be all about? Minor front end and taillight refreshes, along with new wheel designs and a revised exterior color palette are no-brainers. Beyond that, Lexus hasn't dropped the slightest clue, but this author would humbly suggest offering the 3GR-FSE 3-liter V6, with both manual and automatic transmission options, in a return of the IS300 badge; and either a manual transmission or some IS F "tricks" (such as 3-mode VDIM and 2nd-through-top-gear lockup torque converter for the automatic transmission) for the IS 350. And, by the way, where's the long-awaited IS coupe and/or convertible coupe?
 

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I would love to see the inline six put back into the IS line-up. This is such a smooth and powerful engine, BMW continues to use it and they obviously know what they're doing (so does Toyota, I know). V6's are nice , but they're so pedestrian....
 
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