Lexus Responds to Next-Gen SC Cancellation Story

Lexus SC

Toyota has responded to an Edmunds article that suggested the Lexus SC will be discontinued:

Mike Michels, the corporate manager of External Communications for Toyota Motor Sales USA, has told that reports by a US-based automotive website which claim the Lexus SC and Toyota Avalon will not be replaced due to slow sales are “unfounded speculation”.

“We [TMS] do not comment on future product plans or timetables, for obvious competitive reasons,” Michels states, stating that Inside Line did not contact the OEM’s US division’s media department before publishing its story.

Not really a denial, not really a confirmation, which makes me feel the news may be true. If that’s the case, I doubt the company is very happy to have someone leaking out business details.

[Source: Automotive World]

Flickr Find: Project IS-F Widebody

Speaking of the Project IS-F concept, I’ve been meaning to post this photo from Flickr user artistmg for some time now:

The Project IS-F by 5Axis

I would have thought I’d be long past posting images of this car, but every once and a while an image jumps out at me. The Project IS-F looks especially wide here, and all the more like a set piece for the new Batman movie.

Lexus Cancels Next-Generation SC?

Lexus SC Cancelled

According to Edmund’s Inside Line, the next generation Lexus SC has been cancelled:

Toyota had been developing a successor to the SC, based on the same rear-wheel-drive platform as the LF-A. Originally slated for production in early 2009, the next-generation SC was pushed back to mid-2011 and now has been canceled, according to Toyota insiders.

Of course, this is speculative and unconfirmed. Even should the rumor turn out correct, it can only be one half of the story, because there’s no way Lexus pulls out of the coupe/convertible market entirely. More likely, this is a temporary hiatus, which also happened in 2001 between the phasing out of the first-gen SC and the SC 430.

My current theory is this: The SC will be be shelved during the 2009 model year, which will be offset by the introduction of the IS coupe/convertible. Then, when 2010 hits, the LF-A will be released as the SC, and will be offered in a sub-$100,000 variation. This seems to be hinted at by Edmunds, and looks to me to be the most likely scenario.

More than anything, I can’t picture Lexus letting the SC name die.

Lexus Prices in China Jump Dramatically

Lexus in China

Lexus buyers in China are about to encounter some exceptional price hikes as the result of a new Government policy:

The Lexus cars to be marked up are mainly the 3.5L-plus models. The 2008 Lexus ES 350, of the lowest rise rate, has its price marked up by 57,000 yuan ($8,340USD) to 529,000 yuan ($77,406USD). The 2008 Lexus LS600hL, a hybrid model, has 513,000 yuan ($75,065USD) added to its current price of 1.598 million yuan ($233,830). The prices of the Lexus IS-Series models have not risen this time.

The Lexus models will sell at new prices when the policy of new consumption taxes on imported cars is implemented later this year. The policy says the tax rate of vehicles with displacement of 3.0L to 4.0L will increase to 25% from 15%; the tax rate of 4.0L and above vehicles will rise to 40% from the current 20%.

I definitely had a bout of nausea while converting the numbers to US funds, though the prices were hardly reasonable to begin with.

Of course, it makes perfect sense in the eyes of the government officials as Consumers will be more likely to buy Chinese. Not only that, if foreign car manufacturers still want to tap into the world’s most promising market, they’ll have to build local factories.

[Source: Gasgoo]

Photos of Hennessey’s Lexus IS-F

Hennessey's Lexus IS-F

Hennessey announced earlier this year that they would be training their eyes on some heavy-duty Lexus IS-F modifications, and now Jalopnik has some photos of a seemingly-stock IS-F from their tour of the Hennessey factory. Jalopnik also reiterated that the performance engineering company was working on headers and a new exhaust system for the super sedan.

What’s strange is that Hennessey has already tried to sell their IS-F on eBay, where the following description was given:

Only 750 miles on this fully Loaded Lexus IS-F.  Hennessey Performance purchased the car new to use it to develop upgrades for the car.  We have decided not to pursue it at this time so we are selling the car.  It is a few weeks old, has 750 freeway miles on it and is as good as new.

This was back in May, mind you, so maybe the failed auction spurred them back towards some development. (Honestly, though, who buys a used car driven by a performance junkie like John Hennessey?)

[Source: Jalopnik] (Thanks Jarrett!)