Lexus Japan’s IS-F Special Site

Japanese Lexus IS-F Special Site

Watching the revving Flash loader of the Japanese IS-F “Special Site”, I thought I was about to see a varation of the US version, but that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, I was treated to something really special, in what could only be described as a bad soap opera, right down to the camera work and music.

Not understanding either Italian or Japanese, I’m not particularly qualified to judge what it all means, but I would almost swear Lexus is using humor to sell the IS-F in Japan, which would be a stark contrast to the US marketing.

(Using the top-right menu on the Special Site, click My Page to see some nice 360° views.)

Tokyo Motor Show: The Lexus LF-Xh Concept

The Lexus LF-Xh Concept

In preparation for the Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus has announced their latest concept, the LF-Xh, though I think it’s safe to call it by its real name, the 2009 RX.

The exterior design is pure L-Finesse as applied to the RX. The front-end is a touch too stubby, and there’s a bunch of the standard concept design conceits, including the tiny windows and the over-the-top interior, but all in all it seems like a natural progression of the current RX styling. I’m particularly impressed by the rear, and I love the light-casing designs at both ends of the car. But my absolute favorite, and this is hardly a surprise, is the panoramic glass roof. I hope this is one feature that makes it to the production model.

With All-Wheel Drive powered by a V6 gas/electric hybrid, the underlying tech is straight out of the RX 400h, so nothing new on that front.

Now, for the photo gallery:

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The Lexus IS-F Price Guessing Game

The 2008 Lexus IS-F

Now that the performance figures of the IS-F have been released, there remains only one significant mystery surrounding the car: How much will it cost in the US?

One way to figure it out is to take the Japanese price and go backwards, but a straight-up conversion of the ¥7.66 million retail in US dollars is $65,324, far too much for the American market. However, the Japanese pay higher prices for automobiles, so in light of that, let’s get some comparison figures.

The base IS 350 in Japan retails for ¥4.8 million, in the US, the same car costs $35,905. Converting the Yen to US dollars ($40,934) shows a markup of $5,029, or 12.3%. For debate’s sake, the base LS 460 in Japan is ¥7.7 million, compared to $61,500 in the US. The difference, after all the converting, is $4,165, or 7.9%.

Now, taking the average of the differences, 10.1%, brings the IS-F US price total down $6597, for a total of $58,727, which I would still consider on the high side.  The 2008 M3 is reportedly in the same ballpark, and I don’t know if that’s a battle Lexus wants to fight.

Lexus LS 460 Commercial: Anechoic Chamber

As a companion to the commercial I posted on the weekend, the message in this LS 460 advert is certainly much clearer:

Something about this pair of commercials fails to impress me, the cabin isolation and ultra-quiet engine are definitely features to promote, but I found the sound in both to be incredibly abrasive. It’s too bad, as the imagery/lighting/filography really stand out.

(Thanks Dan!)

Lexus September 2007 Sales Report

Lexus Logo

Almost missed the September US Lexus sales figures:

2007 2006 % Change
IS250/350 3,757 4,319 -9.5
ES350 6,491 5,851 15.4
GS350 1,587 2,485 -33.6
GS430/450h 81 221 -61.9
SC430 297 457 -32.4
LS460/600h L 2,918 898 237.9
Total Cars 15,131 14,231 10.6
RX350/400h 7,841 8,688 -6.1
GX470 1,964 2,291 -10.8
LX470 178 490 -62.2
Total Trucks 9,983 11,469 -9.5
Total Sales 25,114 25,700 1.6

For the second time in a row, LS 460 sales are tempering the overall drop in sales, selling 237.9% more than this time last year. The LS 600hL was also introduced in September, and sold 196 units. The ES 350 was the only other Lexus vehicle to see an increase in sales.

The entire GS lineup is seeing a very strong drop, and I wonder if the 2008 model will be enough to reverse the trend.

[Source: The Auto Channel]