New Lexus EV Will Not Be Coming to North America

Lexus EV China

Lexus USA has confirmed to The Drive that the pure-electric vehicle debuting later this month in China will not be coming to North America:

It’s currently unclear if Lexus will bring an EV to the United States, but according to a Lexus spokesperson, the model that will be unveiled later this month isn’t designed for the North American market.

“We are not offering it in the U.S. market,” a Lexus spokesperson told The Drive via email.

Not bringing the EV to North America may seem like a curious move, but the decision may rest in production capacity — as pointed out by ssun30 on the Lexus Enthusiast forums:

[Lexus has] a capacity problem in China. Their sales growth here is too fast so they need a lot of EVs to meet the ‘dual-credit’ requirements. They couldn’t produce quickly enough for [Chinese domestic market] so they need every [rumored UX] EV possible to avoid a penalty.

By comparison they don’t have any regulatory pressure in the US so it’s a low priority.

(Still, it could be argued that Lexus should have allotted a token amount of EVs to the North American market — even 500 units may have been enough to generate a positive spin and forward momentum.)


First Lexus Electric Vehicle to Debut in China This Month

Lexus Electric Vehicle

Lexus will debut their first electric vehicle at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in China. From the press release:

Specifically crafted to suit the needs of audiences in China and Europe, this further advances the brand’s desire to offer a portfolio of electrified powertrain choices for diverse audiences worldwide.

Using the teaser image above as a guide, it appears an electrified version of the UX crossover is on the way — as a comparison:

Lexus UX Crossover Hybrid Badge

It appears the new electric vehicle will initially be limited to the Chinese & European market — most telling is that the Lexus USA pressroom has no mention of the upcoming debut. This runs counter to a recent quote from Lexus president Yoshihiro Sawa saying the model would be available in “China, North America, and other regions where demand for ‘pure’ EVs is high.”

The Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition opens on November 22nd.

AwardsLexus RX: Fourth GenerationSafety

Updated 2020 Lexus RX Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick Award

Lexus RX Safety Award

The updated 2020 Lexus RX crossover has earned a Top Safety Pick ranking by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for crash test results.

The RX earned good ratings in all six crashworthiness tests: driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, and the passenger-side small overlap front test. The front crash prevention system included with the Lexus Safety System + was rated as superior.

The only element preventing the RX from receiving the higher-tier Top Safety Pick+ award were the base headlights:

The RX nearly earns the higher-tier Top Safety Pick+ award, but it falls short because that award requires a good headlight rating. The SUV earns acceptable ratings for its base headlights and one of its premium headlight options, both of which are static LED projectors. Its optional curve-adaptive LED projectors earn a poor rating because they create too much glare.

This marks the fourth safety award for the Lexus brand this year. The 2019-20 ES, 2019 UX and 2019 NX have each qualified for Top Safety Pick+ awards.


Lexus Says “Sayonara” to Super GT500 Racing

Lexus Keepers TOM'S

Lexus ended its participation in Japan’s Super GT500 racing series in memorable fashion. The 8th and final round of the 2019 season took place at Japan’s Twin Ring Motegi (Honda’s home track) on Sunday 3 November. Just past the 32nd lap, a thrilling 3-way battle for the lead developed between the #8 Arta Honda NSX-GT and two of the Lexus LC 500 racers: the #6 Wako’s 4CR and the #37 KeePer TOM’S. Ultimately, the #8 Honda developed shifter problems on Lap 39 and finished the race in next-to-last place.

The #37 KeePer TOM’s Lexus LC 500 driven by Ryo Hirakawa and Nick Cassidy went on to win the race and the Team Championship title for the 2019 season. The #6 Wako’s 4CR Lexus LC 500 finished in second place, but results from previous races secured the Drivers’ Championship for the 2019 season for Kazuya Oshima and Kenta Yamashita. The Lexus podium sweep was made complete by the #36 au TOM’S racer driven by Toyota WEC stalwart Kazuki Nakajima and Yuhi Sekiguchi. As icing on the cake, 4th place also went to a Lexus LC 500 team, the #38, Zent Cerumo car driven by Yuji Tachikawa and Hiroaki Ishiura.

While it’s sad to see the Lexus LC 500 retire from the Japan Super GT500 racing series in favor of its Toyota Supra cousin, it serves as consolation seeing the Lexus effort end on such a high note. Here are the 2019 season’s final rankings for Lexus drivers and teams competing in the GT500 class:

1. #6 Kazuya Oshima / Kenta Yamashita 85 pts
2. #37 Ryo Hirakawa / Nick Cassidy 83 pts
4. #38 Yuji Tachikawa / Hiroaki Ishiura 46.5 pts
5. #39 Heikki Kovalainen / Yuichi Nakayama 44 pts
7. #36 Kazuki Nakajima / Yuhi Sekiguchi 38 pts
11. #19 Yuji Kunimoto / Sho Tsuboi 27.5 pts

1. #37 LEXUS TEAM KeePer TOM’S 107 pts
4. #38 LEXUS TEAM ZENT CERUMO 65.5 pts
5. #39 LEXUS TEAM SARD 64 pts
8. #36 LEXUS TEAM au TOM’S 53 pts
11. #19 LEXUS TEAM WedsSport BANDOH 46.5 pts

While we bid a bittersweet farewell to Lexus Super GT500 racing, it appears likely that the marque will continue competing in the Super GT300 series via privateer teams running the Lexus RC F GT3. We should know more in February 2020 when Toyota issues its annual Motorsports Activities report.


Lexus Releases Sneaker Collection Based on UX Crossover

Lexus UX Canada Sneakers

Lexus Canada has partnered with menswear designer Christopher Bates to develop an exclusive limited-edition sneaker inspired by the UX crossover:

The sneaker is produced in Italy and uses Lexus design elements like Circuit Red perforated leather and the spindle grille. Variations in sole design mark the differences in the sneakers for both men and women.

The Christopher Bates UX sneaker is now available through Lexus Canada dealers across the country for $290 CDN.

Lexus LY: First GenerationReviews

Robb Report: Lexus LY 650 First Drive

Lexus LY 650 First Drive

Howard Walker from Robb Report is one of the first journalists to pilot the new Lexus LY 650 yacht:

We ease out of the Boca Raton inlet and brace for the ocean rollers lunging toward us. Time to power up. I push forward on the throttles and hang on as the LY 650’s flared bow lifts gently and cuts through the heavy swell. Although the big engines spin at 2,450 rpm on wide-open throttle, there’s only the faintest hum from the seriously insulated engine room. And the carbon-reinforced hull does a stellar job of tracking straight and riding smooth through the washing-machine seas.

After an hour or so running at an easy 28 knots, I steer hard to starboard to enter Fort Lauderdale’s deep-water ship channel. Despite the frothy seas, the craft carves easily into the turn and shrugs off the whitecaps, feeling stable and inspiring confidence.

As Walker explains, the LY 650 is just the first effort in a full series of Lexus yachts:

Marquis Yachts has already sold three Lexus LY 650s (priced starting at $3.6 million), including our well-equipped $4.7 million example, and a fourth is being built. Next year there’ll be a non-flybridge version, and a 48-footer may also be on the horizon. It might not be long before you overhear someone saying, “My next boat’s a Lexus.”


NASCAR driver Kyle Busch to join Lexus Racing Team for 2020 24 Hours of Daytona

Lexus Kyle Busch Racing

Given its inordinate length, the IMSA WeatherTech racing series’ 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race has a long history of participation by “guest drivers” from other motorsports disciplines such as IndyCar, NASCAR and even Formula 1. Lexus has played a major role in that history. During last decade’s heyday of the Daytona Prototype series, the quasi-official Ganassi Racing with Félix Sabatés Lexus team featured such racing luminaries as Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, the late Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, Casey Mears, Alex Lloyd and Jamie McMurray as drivers in the twice-round-the-clock American classic. In 2006, the Michael Shank Racing Lexus-powered team brought on Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. as guest drivers.

For 2020 the tradition continues as NASCAR stalwart Kyle Busch joins Lexus Motorsports North America-affiliated team AIM Vasser Sullivan in contesting the GTD-class podium in one of two Lexus RC F GT3 racers. As a Lexus news release reminds us, Busch is the winningest driver in Toyota history with 186 victories across all three NASCAR national series:

“Kyle has been a fixture in our Toyota family for over a decade and is the winningest driver in the Toyota NASCAR program. He has accomplished so many firsts for Toyota throughout his tenure and we couldn’t be happier to have him join AIM Vasser Sullivan and drive the Lexus RC F GT3 in a world class event like the Rolex 24 at Daytona,” said Lisa Materazzo, vice president marketing, Lexus Division.

As for the rest of Lexus and the AIM team’s 2020 season and Daytona roster, at this point only Jack Hawksworth has been confirmed to remain as one of the team’s core drivers, while SportsCar365 asserts that fellow Toyota NASCAR star Denny Hamlin was originally designated as AIM Vasser Sullivan’s second Lexus guest driver, but was precluded from doing so due to expected shoulder surgery during NASCAR’s off-season.

JapanLexus ES: Seventh GenerationTech

Lexus Debuts ES Prototype with New AWD System

Lexus ES All Wheel Drive

Japanese media were given a chance during the Tokyo Motor Show to drive a Lexus ES prototype equipped with a new All-Wheel Drive system.

The E-Axle AWD system was built around the Lexus Hybrid system, and utilizes a second electric motor equipped on the rear axle with an output of between 80-100kw of power. The technology can be engaged by the driver, and Japanese auto writer Kenji Momota described it as such:

The winding road we ran this time has a variety of settings, such as low-speed hairpins, S-curves at medium speeds, and places where there are undulations and the corners are not clearly visible. Then, the sense of security as a driver increased.

No, it was not just a sense of security, but there was a sense of acceleration and excitement that I had never experienced before with hybrid vehicles. It feels completely different from the variable rear suspension, where the accelerator is stepped on in the second half of the corner and the rear of the car goes inside the corner.

Lexus engineers at the event hinted that the new AWD system would be introduced on a vehicle early in the next decade, and considering the prototype model, the ES sedan looks to be one of the first to get the technology.

(Thanks Flexus!)