Lexus LBX Megathread

qtb007

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Hot take incoming:

I can see F being dropped for GR. LFA doesn't have the naming convention, IS-F was mostly considered a unfinished until the last few model years and got more respect after it died than when it was around, and RC-F has always been a bit unclear of what it was supposed to be in the marketplace. GS-F was gone as quickly as it appeared. The V8 IS 500 didn't get a full F trim. The RX and TX F sport performance are very much slightly tuned up versions of the regular models. The F brand is hurting when it comes to messaging as performance branding.

Meanwhile, Gazoo Racing has the Yaris, Supra, 86, and Corolla. They have pretty clear positions in the marketplace. Driving first. The other stuff is just other stuff. And they are all critically acclaimed.

There is some logic to bringing Lexus under the GR brand assuming they keep that driving first focus. TBH, though, I'm not sure what existing Lexus platforms could be converted to a GR model. Transverse drivetrain is a hard sell as a luxury brand and sport driving focused model. UX could turn into something cool with the right drivetrain (G16 + hybrid?), but that seems like a fool's errand considering the low sales. Maybe an NX or upcoming ES with 2.4T and Direct 4 rear drive, but that seems a lot like a Crown Hybrid Max. I don't think that version of the Crown has really set the world on fire. I think it would be upcoming Lexus BEVs if anything. Compact sedan, midsize 4-door coupe, fullsize 4-door coupe.
 
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Gecko

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Demetrius

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It's sad but I agree that GR seems way more focused of a sub-brand than F ever was. I've been disappointed/confused with the F brand and it's direction for a while. Around 2020/2021, there were rumors of this "F" blitz of products and plenty of Lexus spokespeople saying the future was bright for the F marque. Lexus Racing had also seen a healthy amount of R&D attention. Just don't understand why they never committed on fleshing that out.
 

Gecko

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I think canning the F name is a very bad idea.

It takes forever and nearly endless budget to build brand recognition, and across F and F SPORT, Lexus was finally able to do that. Was it as good as M or AMG? No but after some of the earlier "performance" efforts like L-Sportline and L Tuned, I was hoping F wouldn't just look like another failure but rather be the moment where they realized success, and had something to build upon.

F could easily be the Lexus premium sub-brand of GR, and in a perfect world, Lexus F products should be the flagships of the GR portfolio, but...

...to @qtb007's point, I just don't understand what Lexus thinks their performance future looks like. Is the IS viable going forward? RC? Where is there any starting point to build performance products from, short of the rumored LFR which will be pie-in-the-sky expensive? Transverse drivetrains can be made more palatable with batteries and e-AWD, but Lexus sat on the bench for the last decade while the Germans developed high performance AWD systems, TT V8s, TTV8 hybrids, and more. BEVs? Sure I guess that might happen in the future, but Toyota is a ways off in battery development right now.

And from a marketing perspective, if they scratch F, what becomes of F SPORT, which is probably Lexus' single most popular option package? GR Sport? "GR" being the same thing that's on a Yaris or Corolla? Yes, those are cool products, but I don't know about 1) rebuilding the awareness of what "GR" means for Lexus buyers and 2) how that's going to work in a premium segment when the badges are worn by Toyota products.
 

Ian Schmidt

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I've said before that I think Akio loves making cool cars with his family's name on them (raise your hand if you thought 5 years ago that there would be a genuinely desirable Prius), and is less sure about what to do with Lexus. I also think he's actively against just copying the Germans, even though 90% of the complaints customers and enthusiasts have would vanish if Lexus returned to doing that. I've discussed the 4LS and 5LS no longer following the S Class before, but the sidelining and discontinuation of the GS also fits with wanting to not follow Mercedes/BMW, and so does the withering on the vine of the LC and RC.

I do hope to see different things from Koji Sato, but it's too early for anything he's influenced to be on our radar as far as I'm aware.
 

qtb007

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I think canning the F name is a very bad idea.

It takes forever and nearly endless budget to build brand recognition, and across F and F SPORT, Lexus was finally able to do that. Was it as good as M or AMG? No but after some of the earlier "performance" efforts like L-Sportline and L Tuned, I was hoping F wouldn't just look like another failure but rather be the moment where they realized success, and had something to build upon.

F could easily be the Lexus premium sub-brand of GR, and in a perfect world, Lexus F products should be the flagships of the GR portfolio, but...

...to @qtb007's point, I just don't understand what Lexus thinks their performance future looks like. Is the IS viable going forward? RC? Where is there any starting point to build performance products from, short of the rumored LFR which will be pie-in-the-sky expensive? Transverse drivetrains can be made more palatable with batteries and e-AWD, but Lexus sat on the bench for the last decade while the Germans developed high performance AWD systems, TT V8s, TTV8 hybrids, and more. BEVs? Sure I guess that might happen in the future, but Toyota is a ways off in battery development right now.

And from a marketing perspective, if they scratch F, what becomes of F SPORT, which is probably Lexus' single most popular option package? GR Sport? "GR" being the same thing that's on a Yaris or Corolla? Yes, those are cool products, but I don't know about 1) rebuilding the awareness of what "GR" means for Lexus buyers and 2) how that's going to work in a premium segment when the badges are worn by Toyota products.
There's a real challenge in what to do with F in the US. You are on the money that F sport packages are quite popular and probably very profitable to Toyota. Do customers care if there isn't an xx-F model and F sport exists much like TRD has been with Toyota?

Solid point about the GR badge being shared with Toyota. There seem to be 2 types of Lexus customers. Those that like Lexus because it is a better Toyota and those that are completely unaware of the link. I tend to think that the former crowd is the type that would be interested in an ultra high performance vehicle.

That also brings up the question of what Lexus needs to do to be successful. Do they go back to the pre-F days and just not really focus on real performance cars? Make them vault-like. Accelerate with authority but not the type of ride or feedback that would be mistaken for a sports car. The IS 500 might be what Lexus should really be rather than an IS-F. Classy, not a pop-bang exhaust like you'll find on a lot of BMWs these days.
 
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Kelvin2020

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“The global boss of Lexus, Takashi Watanabe, told a roundtable briefing with international media the brand’s high-performance F badge – a rival to BMW’s M division and Mercedes’s AMG – will be part of the company’s electric future.”

“And of course, yes, we want the possibility … we are going to use F to symbolise our intention (for performance cars).”
 

Levi

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Ok, but which electric Lexus cars will be “F”? RZ? TZ? Don’t look like anything performance worthy. On the other hand today’s “performance” cars are BMW XM, Urus, Ioniq6 N etc,,,
 

mediumhot

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It's sad but I agree that GR seems way more focused of a sub-brand than F ever was. I've been disappointed/confused with the F brand and it's direction for a while. Around 2020/2021, there were rumors of this "F" blitz of products and plenty of Lexus spokespeople saying the future was bright for the F marque. Lexus Racing had also seen a healthy amount of R&D attention. Just don't understand why they never committed on fleshing that out.

I think Mike might come and confirm this but there was never F subrand in sense that GR is today. F was an offspring of Lexus corporate enthusiasts both in US and Japan and enthusiast loyal customers but the F brand never had the development potential or hands on approach like GR has today. It was never meant to be M division nor AMG.
 

mikeavelli

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I think Mike might come and confirm this but there was never F subrand in sense that GR is today. F was an offspring of Lexus corporate enthusiasts both in US and Japan and enthusiast loyal customers but the F brand never had the development potential or hands on approach like GR has today. It was never meant to be M division nor AMG.

This is all my personal opinion. Obviously I can’t share things I might know or heard. I think the challenge we have is GR is Toyota’s baby and was kind of used worldwide already and they decided to turn it up 100 notches. With F the challenge is most are sold here and it ain’t many.. There are outliers here and there but most is here. Japan might not see that passion for F everyday like we do.

I also just think covid screwed us and F as the LC F was being tested and covid killed it. I also think the BEV thing didn’t help F either. Also today the USA is about 50% of sales where 20 years ago I assume it was 90% of sales. We didn’t have Lexus Japan till 2006.
Lexus has a more worldwide though process than before (enter LBX). We also have zero Japanese competition. Acura and Infiniti have zero real performance products. The NSX is gone. My thoughts are if those two were actually serious and pushed Lexus, maybe there would be more internal competition. Kind of like how Audi, BMW, Benz are always trying to outdo one another. That competitiveness is there.

Working with Lexus Racing USA part of my responsibility was helping bring hardcore owners and hardcore enthusiasts. Japan has visited many times and was visible to attendees, I know the team and partners worked hard to bring the program up to where we did: with our first GTD Pro championship on 2023. People like @BoziT were also integral to showcasing Lexus enthusiasm.

I’ve thought long and hard about it. And i’ve concluded that if we get an F program to continue I’m all for it. If things change and a new program is started I am
ready to accept it and hopefully start a new era. I just want the program to exceed expectations.

We know a new coupe is coming from all news posted. Maybe it starts there. Whatever it will be called.
 

dylanfoos

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I really hope we hear something new here soon on whether “F” will continue, or we get something new like you said. Was really hoping to hear something at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
 
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This is all my personal opinion. Obviously I can’t share things I might know or heard. I think the challenge we have is GR is Toyota’s baby and was kind of used worldwide already and they decided to turn it up 100 notches. With F the challenge is most are sold here and it ain’t many.. There are outliers here and there but most is here. Japan might not see that passion for F everyday like we do.
Hmm... and I wonder who's fault that is... :mad:
As I just hit enter, this ad came on TV lol

View attachment 8601
Gazoo Racing is now a force to be reckoned with. They're truly a badass sub-brand.