Lexus introduces $100,000 sports coupe to burnish image

posted on January 12, 2016

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus is rolling out its highest-performance model since the LFA supercar to burnish its reputation among buyers of prestige luxury autos.

The LC 500 sports coupe, unveiled Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, accelerates from 0-to-60 mph (0-to-96 kph) in under 4.5 seconds, faster than the Mercedes SL550.

The car goes on sale in early 2017. Prices will start at just under $100,000, more for higher trims.

The four-seater adds momentum to President Akio Toyoda’s push to build a more well-rounded reputation for Lexus among premium car buyers. While the brand has come to be known for quality and reliability, the lack of sports cars or otherwise exciting models contributed to Lexus losing the U.S. luxury sales crown in 2011.

“It’s exactly where the brand needs to go,” said Karl Brauer, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “It’s really the only thing left for them — there’s nothing to fault Lexus for, except for passionate, emotional appeal, both performance and style-wise.”

Appearing for his first press conference at the Detroit auto show since 2011, Toyoda recalled a trip he made to the U.S. later that year. Americans shared impressions with him about Lexus vehicles, calling them well-made but boring to drive.

“I was determined to make sure we became a more emotional brand, and that the words boring and Lexus never showed up in the same sentence again,” Toyoda said.

Lexus plans to sell about 550 of the coupes per month worldwide, with the U.S. market accounting for about 400 of those deliveries, said Jeff Bracken, a Lexus group vice president.

The automaker turned to lightweight materials including carbon fiber and aluminum for the doors and trunk floor to boost performance. Buyers also will have their choice between glass and carbon fiber for the roof. The last model in the Lexus lineup to feature prominent use of alternatives to steel was the carbon fiber-intensive, $375,000 LFA supercar.

source by japantimes
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