Lexus is Rebadging the Toyota Alphard Minivan So It Can Sell a Luxury Van
Lexus is joining the minivan segment with the upcoming release of the LM minivan. Yes, you read that right. Lexus, the same company that gave us the LFA supercar, is dipping its toes in the minivan market, proving that automakers will do just about anything to make money these days. The automaker has yet to unveil the LM minivan — that’s happening at the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2019 that kicks off on April 16 in Shanghai, China — but a teaser image of the model has provided clear hints that the model will be largely based on the Toyota Alphard. Yes; the same luxury van that Toyota has been selling in various Asian markets for the better part of 17 years. Production plans for the Lexus LM suggest that we’ll see the minivan hit the road sometime in 2020, though it’s unlikely that we’ll get to see the LM in the U.S.
Toyota’s Fun Concept Is What Our Camry Should Have Looked Like
I’ll get this out of the way: I’m not a fan of the new Toyota Camry’s design. I know it runs counter to what most have said about the sedan, but I’m not sold on it. The new Camry may look more alive than its ho-hum predecessors, but it feels like Toyota just threw in design pieces from a lot of its other models and decided to adopt it for the new Camry. The result is a little messy and lacks the kind of aesthetic consistency that, say, the Honda Accord has in sprinkles. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and there’s a model from Toyota called the Fun Concept. I say that’s what the Camry should have looked like from the very beginning.
I know it’s a concept, so there’s more design leeway there to be forward-thinking, but if you look at it, there’s little that’s overbearingly futuristic about the Fun Concept’s design that Toyota couldn’t have adopted on the production version of the Camry. The sharp, slanted headlight configuration already has similarities to the Toyota Mirai and the sharp bumper, grille, and intakes all provide the kind of aggressive design nods that elevate the concept’s sporty and refined look. As a whole, the Fun Concept already looks like it’s ready to hit production anytime soon. There are even some whispers in Shanghai that indicate it’s in the auto show to provide a small glimpse into the future of the Camry in the Chinese market. If it does end up that way, it’s going to feel like a missed opportunity for Toyota as far as the U.S. market is concerned.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
This year at the Shanghai Motor Show, Toyota came with two concept cars designed exclusively for the Japanese market: one is the Yundong Shuangqing II - a preview version of a vehicle set to be offered exclusively in China. The second one is the FT-HT Yuejia concept - a six-seat car aimed at younger customers.
The FT-HT Concept comes with three rows of two individual seats and was developed on a wheelbase measuring 2,900 mm (114.17 inches). The concept measures 4,770 mm (187.79 inches) in length, 1,920 mm (75.59 inches) in width and 1,840 mm (72.44) in height, making it the perfect car for a big family.
Toyota said the concept features a hybrid powertrain, and while it reveals nothing on this powertrain, we expect it to be the same one as we have seen in Toyota’s production cars: a 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine that delivers 98 horsepower combined with an electric motor for a total output of 134 horsepower.
The new FT-HT Yuejia concept is expected to be put into production exclusively for the Chinese market.
Click past the jump to learn about other China-only concepts displayed in Shanghai.