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into the future

The Lexus LF-LC.

Sales are up in double digits at Lexus Canada this year, a far cry from 2011, which was more than a little humbling for Toyota's top-shelf brand: sales were down 6.3 per cent. The bad times are over and more growth is ahead, say those paid to deliver results at Lexus.

The start of it all is the 2013 Lexus GS mid-size car, but before year's end nine new or seriously upgraded models are coming. Aside from the obvious – a mid-cycle facelift for the RX crossover and all-new versions of the IS and ES sedans – Lexus is said to be considering an expanded lineup.

One possibility is a car-based, seven-seat people mover. Another is an array of fresh variants of the CT entry-level hatchback. Lexus could use a sporty coupe that reflects the ideas in the LF-LC hybrid concept unveiled at the Detroit auto show, too.

Lexus, company execs say, plans to sex up the brand, make it sportier and more emotional. F-Sport variants of at least three models will help there. So will a new LS 460 and 600h hybrid, the flagship models in the Lexus lineup.

What Lexus models might go away? The HS hybrid is a possibility, though no one at Lexus seems over-willing to visit that subject. What we do know is that the CT 200h hybrid, which starts in the low-$30,000s, has been an unqualified success: sales have averaged more than 100 a month since the March, 2011, launch.

The CT 200h hints at the performance, pricing and styling future at Lexus. Look for more to follow in its tracks.