While in Japan for the Tokyo Motor Show, I had a chance to meet Lexus LFA chief engineer Tanahashi Haruhiko & IS F chief engineer at the Fuji Speedway — time was limited with so many journalists in attendance, but I did get a chance to ask each of them a couple questions.
Here are both conversations, conducted through a Japanese translator.
A Conversation with LFA Chief Engineer Tanahashi Haruhiko
Kevin Watts: When you started the LFA project, did you know that it was begin a transformation of the Lexus brand?
Tanahashi-san: Well, I didn’t know for sure, but I had the strong belief that through the LFA, I could strengthen the Lexus brand.
What legacy does the LFA leave, and what does it mean to Lexus?
Well, I think that answer will be given by history, don’t you think? It’s not really something I should answer.
How does it feel for the LFA to be complete, to no longer be sold?
Of course, I’m a little bit sad — I miss it. That’s 50%, the other 50% is that I have this sense of accomplishment.
What’s next for the chief engineer of the LFA?
Continuously, going forward, I will be engaged in LFA.
A Conversation with IS F Chief Engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi
Kevin Watts: What has driven you to continually improve the IS F over its lifecycle?
Yaguchi-san: Mostly because I like the IS F, but I also love watching the customers enjoy driving this car.
You started the IS F as a skunkworks project, working on the car in your own time. All these years later, it’s now one of the flagship performance models for Lexus — how does that feel?
Now that we have the F SPORT models, and we have more and more cars that customers enjoy driving, and that’s a good thing.
Have to ask, will there be a next generation IS F?
Just a little more patience, we’ll have something to talk about in the near future.
Special thanks to both Tanahashi-san & Yaguchi-san for taking the time for my questions, and to Lexus USA for inviting me to attend this special event at Fuji Speedway.