Last week, The Truth About Cars ran an exhaustive behind-the-scenes look at how the Lexus LFA is built at Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — the entire series is rich in detail and worth reading, but I wanted to highlight a passage from the fifth & final chapter:
Speaking of keeping busy, I ask what will come after the LFA.
[LFA Chief Engineer Haruhiko] Tanahashi facetiously says, “the LFB.”
When confronted with the rumor that the next car will be a million dollar supercar that is made in the homeopathic quantity of 100, Tanahashi wipes it off the table: “No, not true at all.”
So will the next car be a high-end CFRP Lexus under $100,000 at maybe 5,000 units a year? Tanahashi pauses, thinks for a few seconds, reviews where he and his team are on that road to the future, then says:
“It’s not that simple.”
What will happen to the LFA Works at the end of the year? Will Tanahashi, now 59, simply go into retirement? Will the 170 associates who make the LFA go back to making Crowns, Corollas and Camrys?
Tanahashi collects his thoughts, then says:
“CFRP is a very promising material. Even after the LFA project finishes, the carbon factory will be well utilized.”
While this may put the rumor of a million dollar LFA II to rest, it also opens the door to all types of possibilities as to what comes next.
For the time being, the Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) used for the LFA will remain an expensive material to produce, and will drive up the cost of any car that uses it. In my mind, that limits the possible applications to Lexus vehicles, and to one potential model in particular — wouldn’t CFRP make a great starting point for a production LF-LC?
(Once again, a commendable job by Bertel Schmitt on this series — be sure to head over to TTAC for the full read).