• Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar

It probably won’t happen until Lexus sells all 500 LFA models, though there’s no telling when that’ll happen

LISTEN 07:25

The Lexus LFA is an interesting case study for future automakers who are looking to get into the supercar market. By all accounts, the LFA remains one of the finest supercars to hit the market this decade. That says a lot about the machine considering that Lexus launched the model in 2010, and since then, few exotics, if any, have come close to receiving the same praise and adulation the LFA received when it first came out nine years ago. But there’s also a catch with the LFA and a curious one at that. Lexus built only 500 units of the supercar and, for unclear reasons, “brand new” examples of the exotic are still available. The LFA, despite all the glowing reviews, has yet to sell out. Lexus’ struggles in selling the LFA has contributed in the automaker’s hesitancy to launch a successor to the model. It’s an interesting dynamic, to say the least, more so now that Lexus vice president Koji Sato left it in the media’s hands to draw up enough public interest for Lexus to greenlight a long-overdue successor to what is arguably one of the most interesting supercars of this decade.

Lexus LFA Successor - Will it Happen?

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800030

It’s hard to imagine the Lexus LFA turning ten years old. It’s even harder to imagine that in the decade that it’s been around, Lexus has yet to sell all 500 units of the supercar. That’s been the overarching story of the LFA: it’s one of the most formidable supercars to hit the scene this decade, but it can’t seem to attract enough buyers to justify its status. It says a lot that in 2018, Lexus sold only two units of the LFA. This year, Lexus is already close to doubling that total with three sold units by July. It’s unclear how many models are still available, but it’s become clear, too, that despite the LFA generating raving reviews — Jeremy Clarkson still calls it the best car he’s ever driven — it won’t go down as a commercial success for Lexus and its parent company, Toyota.

Part of the reason is the car’s $375,000 price tag. It’s long been a sore spot for Lexus. When the LFA was introduced in 2010, it was supposed to compete against some of the established exotics of the time, including the Lamborghini Gallardo and the Ferrari 458 Italia, the latter of which debuted around the same time as the LFA. You could consider it a case of an automaker biting off more than it could chew, but the LFA’s staggering price tag totally worked against it, especially when rival models like the Gallardo and the just-as-new 458 Italia were priced somewhere in the $200,000 to $230,000. Put yourselves in the position of a supercar buyer in 2010 — some of you might know it from experience. Would you buy a $375,000 supercar from an automaker that previously had zero experience building and developing supercars or would you buy a $225,000 supercar from an automaker whose entire existence rests solely on its long and rich history of developing exotics? The answer is easy.

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800024

It didn’t matter that Lexus had an all-time supercar in its hands. People didn’t know it then, and a lot probably still don’t know about it today. Those who did know about the LFA’s performance, handling, and drivability were more than likely priced out of the opportunity to buy one because it was so freakin’ expensive. It’s possible, too, that, by the time most people caught wind of the LFA’s peerless reviews, the appeal of owning one had diminished to a point where most would-be buyers were more than willing to keep their money and buy more modern supercars with cheaper price tags. Imagine looking at a “brand-new” 2012 Lexus LFA and a 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo. The latter is the updated version of the Ferrari 488, which happened to be the successor of the 458 Italia, the same supercar that hit the market around the same time as the LFA. The 2020 Ferrari F8 Tributo packs significantly more power — it boasts 710 horsepower compared to the LFA’s 550-horsepower output — and carries more cutting-edge technology than the LFA. Best of all — or most damning of all, in the context of the LFA — the F8 Tributo’s price tag is expected to start at just under $300,000, which would still make it cheaper than a 10-year old, 550-horsepower supercar with a decade-old’s worth of technology in it.

2012 Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package Specifications
Engine Naturally-aspirated, even-firing, 72-degree, 40-valve 4.8-liter DOHC V-10 with forged aluminum pistons, forged titanium connecting rods, and solid titanium valves
Compression ratio 12.0:1
Bore x stroke 3.46 x 3.11 inches
Output 562 HP @ 8,700 RPM
Torque 352 LB-FT @ 6,800 RPM
0 to 62 mph 3.7 seconds
Top speed 202 mph
Steering Rack and pinion with electric power steering
Suspension Double wishbones up front with a multi-link setup at the rear, coilovers all around with adjustable dampers
Brakes Brembo ventilated disc brakes all around, 15.4-inch in diameter up front and 14.2-inch at the rear
Weight 3,262 pounds

As exciting as the Lexus LFA was when it burst into the supercar scene in 2010, Lexus immediately put a huge handicap on the car by pricing it way too high for its own good. That’s why we’re still seeing so-called “brand new” models today.

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800027

Now, I know what you’re asking. What does the LFA have to do with its rumored successor and, more importantly, why shouldn’t we hold our breath to see that successor come to life? There are a lot of answers to these questions.

For starters, it’s weird to talk about a successor of a limited-run model when examples of that limited-run model are still available after already being in the market for close to a decade. That’s not only weird, but it’s weirder than weird. Take Bugatti, for example. The Chiron didn’t arrive until all 500 units of the Veyron were built and sold to their respective owners. From an optics perspective, it’s hard to imagine Lexus green-lighting a successor to the LFA until after all 500 units are sold.

Lexus also learned a valuable lesson with the LFA, specifically in the way the supercar scene worked. Perhaps the automaker isn’t keen on making the same mistakes twice. That would explain why it’s become a lot more measured in responding to queries about a potential successor. Make no mistake, folks. The Lexus LFA deserves a successor. You don’t get to build a car like that for it to become a one-hit-wonder. But building and developing a supercar is one thing. Making sure it sells out quickly is another thing entirely.

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800045

Lexus vice president Koji Sato’s comments to Autocar are interesting. When asked about the prospect of Lexus developing another car in the mold of the LFA, Sato made it clear that in as much as he wants to do it, there are bigger forces at play within Lexus, perhaps even Toyota, that’s preventing the project from getting approved. That’s why Sato urged the media to push for it if the real decision-makers actually listen.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to work, even if we hold prayer vigils all over the world. Lexus learned a valuable lesson with the LFA. Just because a car is universally beloved for its driving dynamics, it doesn’t mean that the car in question will sell out like hot pancakes on a cold winter afternoon. At the end of the day, money talks, and if you were in the market for a supercar in 2010, would you have gotten a Ferrari 458 Italia or a Lexus LFA? The choice is clear, isn’t it?

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800028

If we ever do see a successor to the LFA, I think it’s going to come in a different form than its predecessor. At the very least, I know that it probably wouldn’t be priced as high as the $375,000 price attached to the LFA. For now, we wait and wonder what the future might hold for Lexus’ supercar. Here’s to hoping that a successor is finally approved, though, at this point, we’re not holding our collective breath that it’s going to happen.

Further reading

Forget Customer Requests - Lexus Needs Media Demand To Justify a Second-Gen LFA Supercar Exterior Spyshots
- image 800030

Read our full speculative review on the 2022 Lexus LF-A successor.

2011 Lexus LF-A
- image 328612

Read our full review on the 2011 Lexus LFA.

2012 Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 393523

Read our full review on the 2012 Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package.

Source: Autocar

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

Eight Years After Production Ends, the Lexus LFA Still Pulls in More Than $1 Million in Sales

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: