According to Motor Trend, Lexus may be building a small two-seat roadster as a result of the recent BMW/Toyota partnership — here’s a quote from the latest issue of the magazine:
Sources in Japan say Toyota’s version (of the joint BMW/Toyota sports car) will actually underpin an all-new Lexus sports car, a suggestion that makes all the sense in the world given Akio Toyoda’s ambition to make Lexus a genuine global rival to the German lux-meisters. Whisper is the new Lexus will be positioned to compete with the Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4, and entry-level Porsche Boxster.
If I understand this correctly, this would be an additional vehicle beyond the rumored RC mid-size coupe — if true, this could be a major shift in the way Lexus approaches mass production vehicles, as niche market models have never been a priority with the brand.
The strategy reminds me of this Akio Toyoda quote from Automotive News:
“When we have a design screening, my role is to simply talk with the right side of the brain,” Toyoda said. “There are already enough people at Toyota who use the left side of the brain. You need to be able to say, ‘Wow! I want that!'”
(Joaquin over at Kaizen Factor has an astute analysis of the news — highly recommended reading.)