Lexus USA June 2008 Sales Report

Lexus Logo

Lexus USA’s June 2008 sales numbers are in, and the results don’t look too rosy. Overall, sales are down 21.1% compared to last year, model by model it breaks down like this:

2008 2007 % Change
IS250/350/F 4,324 5,182 -6.1
ES350 5,726 7,232 -10.9
GS350/460/450h 1,213 2,021 -32.5
SC430 154 391 -55.7
LS460/600h L 1,525 2,631 -34.8
Total Cars 12,942 17,457 -16.6
RX350/400h 5,820 9,349 -30.0
GX470 860 1,848 -47.6
LX570 631 215 230.2
Total Trucks 7,311 11,412 -27.9
Total Sales 20,253 28,869 -21.1

By extension of these numbers, we can now look at the first half of 2008 as a whole. Overall, sales are down 14.1% compared to 2007. I’m going to do get a little more in depth with that shortly, but I need to crunch some numbers.

[Source: Toyota]

Video from a Lexus Performance Academy Hot Lap

With only four Lexus Performance Academy events planned across the entire US, there’s a very strict limit to just how many people will get in on the action, which is especially disappointing considering that part of the fun is driving in a IS-F at full-steam around a closed race track.

Luckily, in the age of the Internet, a rough approximation is just a click away — here’s some hot lap footage from the LPA in West Virginia:

I like that driver Chris Mitchum takes his time explaining what he’s doing, other videos that I’ve watched are a much more sombre affair.

The Secrets of Car Camouflage

Lexus JX Spy Shot

It may not be Lexus-specific, but Car & Driver has a very interesting article on one of the companies responsible for creating the wild camouflage used to hide pre-production vehicles:

Dan owns Autocanvas, one of only two independent U.S. companies that create camouflage to thwart the public—and rival automakers—from eyeing preproduction cars.

When Dan reluctantly agreed to talk, he imposed a few rules. “I can’t name the manufacturers who buy body wraps from me,” he cautioned. And he refused to meet at his office. “It’s always locked,” he explained. “Only my employees go in or out. Not even my clients meet me there.” He told me that if I brought along some out-of-date spy photos he’d look at them but warned he could neither confirm nor deny whether he’d created the disguises. During the 18 years he’s been in the car-cloaking business, he’s never taken a photo of even one of his camouflage kits. “It’d be too damning to have something like that around,” he said, adding that he didn’t care to talk about the precise address of his factory, only that “it’s in the Detroit metro area.” And he warned that many of my questions would evoke an off-the-record response or no response at all.

As can be expected, it’s all very cloak & dagger, though I’m surprised this is outsourced at all. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep it in-house?

Esquire Reviews the Lexus LS 460

Lexus LS 460 in Esquire

There’s a nice little editorial/review of the Lexus LS 460 in the latest issue of Esquire that revolves around writer David Raab’s son:

We try the Lexus LS 460L because my son’s entire experience of cars is based on sitting in the backseat, and because one of his car guides rates the 460’s backseat a perfect 10 — the only 10 in the book.

“I like the smell of this car,” my kid says.

Yeah, I say. Smells like money. Mon-ay. Big money.

“Are we in a base or an LX?” He studies trimlines. He uses the word trimlines, which is a little scary.

I don’t think this is a base, I say.

“I don’t, either,” he says. “This is a dream.”

Being a youngster, we can forgive the trim level confusion, especially when his father didn’t try to pass off the standard stats rehashing usually seen in this type of article.

(Even more important though, is the discovery that Automobile Magazine’s Ezra Dyer also writes for Esquire.)

[Image from Miraruido]

Australia gets a Lexus RX 350 Special Edition

Lexus RX Special Edition in Australia

In preparation of winter, Australia is getting a special edition of the Lexus RX 350 perfectly suited for the colder months. Here’s a breakdown of the particulars:

Added extras include bespoke 18-inch shadow chrome alloy wheels, three unique exterior colours – including Arctic Blue, Burgundy and Onyx carbon – and an accessories pack featuring roof racks, nudge bar, tow bar, headlight covers, rear bumper protector, cargo mat and reverse parking sensors.

Only 250 examples of the Special Edition RX 350 will be offered, with each vehicle featuring unique SE badging and numbered build plates, making it one of the most exclusive RX Lexus vehicles.

I’m not a big fan of the wheel design, but the nudge bar on the front more than makes up for it. (More than anything, though, I really like the rear cargo mat pattern.)

Here’s a gallery for a closer look:

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[Source: Lexus Australia via The Motor Report]