The Lexus NX Hybrid Launches Lexus Into the Future of Electrification
While Toyota has been trying to make Hydrogen power more relevant for years now with the Mirai, they are not giving up on the more traditional form of hybrids. Their luxury brand, Lexus, has just dropped the new NX crossover, and it is the first plug-in hybrid for the Japanese luxury brand.
The Lexus IS 500 Blends V-8 Power With Styling at Anti-German Prices
Can Lexus’ latest attempt at a sports sedan truly out-shine the stuffy Germans at BMW, Audi, and Mercedes? Quite possibly, but let’s just say this is not a case of "buy the Lexus because you cannot afford the BMW." This is about a V-8 Lexus Sedan than could create some headaches in a few German HQs.
Lexus Now Has a Flagship Yacht
Ah, the good life. Luxury cars, caviar, champagne, and of course, yachts. Sounds about right. Now, Lexus is expanding its offerings to include two of the four things I just mentioned, and neither fit on a cracker or in a glass.
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Servicing a Lexus LFA Isn’t As Easy As It Looks
Just like the Bugatti Veyron, the Lexus LFA isn’t a standard production car. And just like the Veyron, the LFA’s maintenance doesn’t fall under traditional service requirements. The Japanese automaker revealed as much, saying that servicing an LFA is more like servicing a race car than a standard production model.
Two More Sedans Could Head to the Chopping Block as Lexus Contemplates its Future
We cannot stress enough on the fact that sedans are on their way to extinction. After Ford and Chevrolet, the trend seems to be making its way into the premium automakers’ category as well. This time, it’s Lexus with the IS and the GS sedans. Is this a smart move by a company whose sales figures are controlled by loyalists?
The Lexus LFA Has Yet To Sell Out
We’ve seen how some models in the industry can sell out faster than it took for me to complete this sentence. The new Porsche 911 GT2 RS is sold out. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is sold out. There are countless other cars whose demand far outweighed the supply. So the question begs: why hasn’t the Lexus LFA, a supercar that was as groundbreaking as anything that was released seven years ago, not sold out yet?
It’s a fascinating question that’s going to beg for answers, and we have Autoblog to thank for even making the question relevant, to begin with. Apparently, a Lexus sales report from July 2017 came with a fascinating statistic behind it: an LFA was sold last month. Intrigued, the publication reached out to Toyota and the Japanese automaker confirmed that U.S. dealerships still have 12 LFAs in their inventories, all of which are still classified as brand new. This is very revealing information that runs counter to past reports that dating back to 2012 that only 10 LFAs were still available. Apparently, there’s a few more of them around, but getting one may not be as easy as it sounds. After all, the LFA was priced at $375,000 when it was released, so there’s no telling how much one model costs today. Even if you do have that kind of money at your disposal, there’s no guarantee that any one of these dealers that still have an LFA will sell them to you for one reason or another. Chalk this one up then to one heck of a long callback to one of the most exciting supercars to hit the scene in the early part of this decade.
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Toyota’s Georgetown, KY assembly plant is the center of a rags-to-riches story. Back in 1987, the plant started producing the Toyota Camry for the U.S. market. Now, 28 years later, the very first U.S-built Lexus – the ES 350 – has rolled off the line, marking the beginning of Lexus production here in the U.S. This amazing milestone for Lexus was celebrated with an unveiling of the ES 350 at a ceremony that included thousands of team members from the Georgetown plant.
Wil James, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., said, “To be the first wholly owned plant, building the number one best-selling car in America, the Camry, for 13 years in a row, and then to be selected to build the first Lexus is truly a tribute to our team members.” He continued, “This is really a proud moment for us and brings us full circle.” This is all great news for the brand and for Kentucky’s economy, but it wasn’t exactly easy for the Georgetown plant to get to this point.
In preparation to build the ES 350, team members took on a total of 1.5 million hours of training, including driving the ES, dealership visits, and even trips to Japan to learn Lexus craftsmanship. The plant even purchased 22 new ES 350s from a local dealer and spent countless hours disassembling and reassembling them. The new ES 350 line pushes the plant’s capacity to more than 550,000 vehicles a year and has boosted its workforce to more than 7,500 employees.
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Since its launch in 1989, Lexus has worked hard to through its dealer network and post-purchase programs to be among the best when it comes to customer satisfaction, and this year Lexus has finally surpassed Mercedes-Benz to stand at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Automobiles Report for 2015.
The Toyota-owner luxury brand scored 84 out of 100 percent, good enough to top Mercedes’ score of 83, which was down by three percent from last year. BMW, meanwhile, improved by three percent to 82, and Acura was the most improved of any company in the world, posting a whopping eight-percent gain to tie Mercedes and Lincoln at 83.
BMW and Acura were actually the only two companies to improve on their score from 2014. On average, customer satisfaction ratings decreased by 3.7 percent to 79. It’s the lowest average score the ACSI has recorded since it started in 2004, but it might not necessarily be because of bad dealership experiences or poor customer service.
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Less than two months after teasing an operational hoverboard nicknamed “Slide,” Lexus has finally released details, images and a video for this sci-fi mode of transportation. Through the use of magnetic levitation and a specially built skate park, the Lexus hoverboard is finally a reality. More impressive, it took just 18 months to create.
The hoverboard is made possible through the use of liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, and it hovers over a hidden track built into the floor of the custom skate park located in Cubelles, Barcelona. The existence of a track means that the hoverboard is only able to operate in limited areas, but it can still travel over water, grind down a hand rail and jump over a 2016 Lexus GS F. Lexus didn’t say how much it spent to build the hoverboard or skate park, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.
Professional skateboarder Ross McGouran was the Guinea pig for the hoverboard demo, and the accompanying video shows just how difficult this sucker is to ride. After riding the hoverboard, McGouran said: "I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience."
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The smart cars are spreading. After several years of testing its autonomous vehicle technology around California’s Bay Area, Google recently confirmed that it was taking its self-driving vehicles to Austin, Texas.
According to Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for Google’s self-driving car project, at least two of the company’s white 2015 Lexus RX 450h SUVs will be used in the Lone Star State, one of which has already been on the street for the last week or so. The second car will be deployed sometime this week. The cars are outfitted with Google’s array of sensors and autonomous software.
The cars will mostly test around the north/north-east quadrant of downtown Austin, and for now, will not venture onto the highway. This will be the first time Google’s autonomous cars have been tested outside California.
Google hopes the change in scenery will provide a new environment for its autonomous software to sort through, including differences in geography, as well as a variation in the behavior of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. “We really won’t know until we’ve started testing more,” Haroon said.
Last month, reports emerged that Google’s SUVs were spotted in Austin before any announcement from either company or government officials. Google says the cars were being driven by employees in order to map the area prior to autonomous testing.
“It makes the task of self-driving easier on the car so that the car can really focus on what’s novel and new in the environment,” said company spokeswoman Courtney Hohne.
Public officials are embracing the tests as a means towards safer and more reliable transportation with a lower rate of congestion.
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Which would you prefer: a large, cargo-gulping SUV, or a streamlined, two-door sports car? If you’re anything like yours truly, that isn’t even a question – who needs ground clearance when you’ve got handling on your side? Once upon a time, Lexus agreed with that conclusion, opting to introduce performance cred-boosting coupes in lieu of a Mercedes GL or Audi Q7 fighter. But surveying the current market landscape, Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American CEO Jim Lentz thinks a three-row crossover would have been the better choice.
"In hindsight, if I was making this decision 10 years ago, seeing what I see today, the three-row [crossover] probably would have been the better play to come out first," Lentz told Automotive News. "Strategically that’s a more important vehicle to have than necessarily a lower volume, higher priced image product."
Lentz’s clarified foresight is based on the low price of gasoline and Gen Y’s burgeoning demand for family transport.
Despite replacing a potentially lost opportunity, the Lexus RC coupe isn’t performing poorly by any means when it comes to sales, with 4,258 units moved through the first four months of 2015, more than the flagship LS. Additionally, Lexus sales through April are up 17 percent in the U.S. compared to last year, just behind the top luxury brands of Mercedes and BMW. However, Lentz feels no pressure to move units just to beat the Europeans: "In the luxury business, chasing volume is not a good strategy," he said. "Luxury cars cost a certain dollar amount for a reason. I don’t want to cheapen my cars just to offer a lease that’s $20 a month less."
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Reports suggest Lexus is struggling with what should replace its aging IS C convertible — an RC-based convertible like the recent 2015 LF-C2 concept or a more high-end convertible based on the LF-LC concept that debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. As Automotive News reports, a Lexus insider says the automaker is pondering the decision, though Lexus says the LF-C2 was “purely a concept.”
Lexus’ general manager Jeff Bracken spoke with AN at the LA Auto Show last month saying, the LF-C2 is designed to appeal to “traditional luxury buyers” and an “exquisitely styled buyer group of younger folks.” This basically translates into any production version of the LF-C2 will be a higher-volume seller that has wide appeal to the Lexus customer base. (But we aren’t supposed to know the vehicle could move into production.)
A convertible version of the more high-end LF-LC would target those upper echelon customers looking to stand out regardless of vehicle price. The car would portray a classier image for the Lexus brand, serving more as a halo car than a sales leader.
As Lexus decides on its direction, the insider posed this: “The question is: Is the brand willing to support two convertibles?”
There certainly seems to be room for two, but with Lexus’ average customer age parked at 60, will the more “young” LF-C2 bring in more youthful buyers to the brand, or will its sales flounder like the IS C’s? “We definitely like our older customers," Bracken said. "It’s just that we need younger buyers in addition to that.” We’re hopeful Lexus can pull it off, but it will certainly be interesting to watch.
Click past the jump to read more about Lexus’ future convertible model.
Australia’s Lexus boss Sean Hanley says the automaker is currently evaluating joining the V8 Supercar grid for 2017. This is thanks to potentially shifting rules in the race series that would allow two-door cars to race. Luckily, Lexus just happens to have such a car that qualifies: the 2015 RC F.
The automaker has already showcased a potential race variant of the RC F in GT3 form. Now with changing rules, things are looking up.
“I would have shut the door on motorsport a year ago, particularly V8 Supercar racing in terms of a promotion, marketing and brand exercise," Hanley says. "But I think the door is slightly open."
Unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect anything from Lexus on the V8 Supercar series in the next two years. However, Hanley countered himself saying. "But what is equally clear to me, is if there is eligibility that allowed a coupe, we have a coupe that could go into that race and do pretty well."
He confesses the company does have an interest in GT3 and a race like the Bathurst 12 Hour, but no firm plans have been made.
Lexus is technically ready to race in the Bathurst 12 Hour race this coming February, as those regulations would already allow the RC F GT3 to compete. Perhaps the automaker just isn’t ready to make that announcement yet.
Click past the jump to read more about Lexus’ future V-8 supercar.
The Lexus RC F Coupe is one of the hottest new models to hit the market and its popularity is continuing to grow. But now, Motoring Australia is reporting that an even hotter version of the RC F Coupe is on its way.
The auto news outlet recently had a conversation with Lexus chief engineer Yukihiro Yaguchi and the Japanese engineer divulged details on the possibility of an improved version of the RC F that will debut in 2015. Granted, he didn’t explicitly say that an improved RC F would translate to a more powerful RC F Coupe. That would be getting too ahead of ourselves. Instead, the model will likely be geared towards making it more “enjoyable to drive”.
That’s a nice way of putting it, but everyone knows that the RC F is a performance model first and foremost. It wouldn’t be enough to say that an improved new RC F would just be “more enjoyable” than the one that’s already on the market. Remember, the RC F already packs a 5.0-liter V-8 that pumps out 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and up to 168 mph. If Lexus really wants to make a statement, a 500-horsepower RC F Coupe would be the way to do it.
Fortunately, Yaguchi didn’t close the door on that potentially happening, telling Motoring that more power could be extracted from the V-8 without necessarily going the route of forced induction. The question now is if Lexus is planning to do that.
Yaguchi says Lexus is already thinking about it. Hopefully, Lexus moves past the thinking stage into the doing stage sooner than later.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus RC F.
Looks like the Lexus LFA will finally get a successor after all. Ever since production of the LFA ended in 2012, the Japanese automaker hasn’t had a flagship supercar under its name. There was talk of a potential successor, but those discussions were eventually scuttled, leaving the company with a gaping hole in the top of its already potent model lineup. But something must’ve happened within the company to make it reverse course on its position.
Automotive News is reporting that Lexus Executive Vice President Mark Templin confirmed to reporters that the company will, in fact, build a successor to the LFA. The decision even has the blessing of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, which is the equivalent of taking this development to the bank.
"Akio believes that every generation deserves to have a car like an LFA, so we’re building an LFA for the generation we have today," Templin said during a ceremony in Japan dedicated to the Lexus NX. "At some point, there may be another special car for another generation."
No specific details have been divulged surrounding this new supercar but you can at least expect Lexus to dedicate a lot of time and money to test and develop it. That was the approach Lexus engineers took with the LFA and there’s no reason why it’s going to be different this time around.
For now, though, we’re just excited to hear that the LFA will get a successor. For a while, we didn’t think it was going to happen, so props go to Lexus for finally recognizing the obvious.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus LFA.
It seems having a powerful, V-8 engine under the hood and impressive performance credentials aren’t always enough for a sports sedan to survive. Sales are equally important, and at least one such vehicle has failed to make an impact and is now facing the axe. We’re talking about the Lexus IS-F, which will no longer be supplied to the company’s dealerships, Telegraaf reports.
So what’s wrong with a high-performance sedan that comes with a 5.0-liter, V-8 engine rated at 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque? Well, let’s say that the 11,000 units sold since its introduction in 2007 weren’t good enough for company executives. Then there’s also the fact that the IS-F gained very few updates for 2014, while the regular IS got a complete makeover. Tough competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac didn’t help either.
Considering the aforementioned facts, Lexus’ decision to discontinue the IS-F is not at all surprising. However, we can’t help but notice that this sporty sedan has yet to receive the love it deserves in its seven years on the market. Will Lexus bring forth a brand-new IS-F? It’s a bit too early to speculate on that, but the RC-F is coming to carry the performance label further, albeit in a coupe body style.
Click past the jump to read more about the Lexus IS-F.