Lexus launches $375k LFA

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 21, 2009

05-lexus-lfa-press1.jpg

Toyota chief Akio Toyoda did his best to liven up proceedings, but even the unveiling of a production version of the $375,000 Lexus LFA supercar couldn’t help this year’s Tokyo Motor Show capture the excitement of recent years. Toyoda helped develop the Lexus LFA and when he unveiled it at the show’s opening day on October 21, he said he hoped visitors to the biennial event “can leave feeling that automobiles are exciting and will want to come again.”

On Day One, though, there were visibly fewer attendees than in 2007 when the Nissan GT-R, another very fast car, was the star. Indeed, while Toyota also unveiled the exciting FT-86, an affordable sports car due for release in 2011, and other automakers showed off a host intriguing hybrids and electric vehicles, the absence all major international carmakers-and even two Japanese truck makers, Hino and Isuzu-confirmed long-held fears that Tokyo’s motor show is no longer the most important in Asia. After all, automakers from over twenty countries braved the recession to attend the Shanghai auto show in April. In Tokyo, only three foreign automakers-Group Lotus and Caterham Cars from Britain and Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen from Germany-could be bothered to show up.

But what of the LFA, which will go on sale in 2010? A long time in the making, it certainly has some dazzling performance stats, including a top speed of 202mph and 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds. Clearly, this is no ordinary Lexus. For all that, I’m slightly baffled by the price (I repeat: $375,000) and the decision to limit sales to 500. In his speech on the floor of the show, Toyoda talked about the need for automobile to serve as dreams and aspirations. Well, the high price and limited availabilty certainly sees to that. Of course, the LFA, alongside the great looking FT-86 sports car concept, will give Lexus and Toyota’s brands a much-need sporty boost. The difference of course is that the FT-86, which goes on sale in 2011 is likely to cost closer to $20,000 and should sell in thousands. Indeed, given that Toyota will lose money again this year, it would also be interest to know more about the economics of the LFA. The price tag is high, but then so is the cost of developing super-fast sports cars. And by limiting sales to 500, one wonders how much Toyota will lose on every sale.

Reader Comments

jambo

October 21, 2009 11:26 AM

Terrific car. Love the design, but don't like the scoop on the C-pillar. Problem is the recession. People are hurting and the wealthy aren't spending as much. Maybe wrong car for the these bad times.

marvin

October 21, 2009 12:36 PM

6 years in the making eh. they obviously didn't anticipate the recession that began last year. By limiting production to 500 units worldwide, Toyota is actually cutting their losses with this one. If I had $375k, I'd buy a european supercar.

Earthling

October 21, 2009 2:13 PM

Only 500 LFA units, too bad. Goldman wanted to give one to each employee as a Christmas bonus, made possible by the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street. Maybe they thought LFA stood for Legalized Financial Abuse.

Nate

October 21, 2009 4:28 PM

Might want to check the spelling on Toyota, First Par. second sentence..Spelled Toyoda?

BusinessWeek's Ian Rowley

October 21, 2009 5:49 PM

Nate, it isn't a typo. Toyota's CEO's family name is Toyoda. The company name is Toyota.

Adam

October 21, 2009 5:52 PM

Toyoda is the last name of the family who started and owns the company....

S. Simon

October 21, 2009 6:21 PM

Toyoda is the founding families name. Toyota was chosen as a good luck motif. As far as the car itself, it seems a bit arrogant to release an expensive behemoth at a time like this.

Dan

October 21, 2009 6:21 PM

Nate, before you comment you need to understand what you are reading. The spelling in the second sentence is correct. They are writing about Akio Toyoda in this sentence not Toyota automaker.

Alien

October 21, 2009 6:23 PM

Nope spelling is right, he's talking about Akio Toyoda

Oh YEAH

October 21, 2009 6:57 PM

Nice ride indeed, BTW if I save now and not spend a penny for 200000 years I might be able to get 1.

123xyz

October 21, 2009 7:23 PM

What is the R&D expense and cost of goods of the $188M in revenue for 500 cars? Say it totals $100M. That leave $88M for Toyota.

Ballbuster

October 22, 2009 2:59 AM

Fifty years ago, a car with V10, 0-60 in 3.7 sec and 202mph was considered advance technology. Today, those attributes are praised only by juveniles. Speed and acceleration is low tech. Any automaker worth its salt can drop a large displacement engine into a light body. Looking for an example? Look no further than dumb Chrysler which bolted a cast-iron OHV V12 Hemi, vintage 60s' on a slightly modified chassis and called it the Viper. Showing his juvenile mentality, Toyoda got it all wrong by reaching back for yesteryears paradigms. Today, an exciting car with advance technology means lithium-ion or hydrogen propulsion system with almost zero emission. For unknown reasons, family members of founders of car companies think they have the qualifications to take the helm. Toyoda is imitating the foot steps of Ford Jr. who almost single-handedly destroyed Ford Corporation.

Allan

October 22, 2009 3:21 AM

It looks like some boy racers atempt at making a car. The price tag is seriously laughable, I would like to meet the people that purchase one....

Allan

October 22, 2009 3:21 AM

It looks like some boy racers atempt at making a car. The price tag is seriously laughable, I would like to meet the people that purchase one....

fgh

October 22, 2009 3:21 AM

First Paragragh. second sentence
Spelled Toyoda, is this correct?
should be toyota right?
i'm so smart

Ryab

October 22, 2009 3:59 AM

just need to ask 375,000 people for one penny each

ghb

October 22, 2009 4:32 AM

you mean a dollar each?

Mrs. Ellis

October 22, 2009 4:42 AM

No Ryab you need to ask 375,000 people for a $1 each and then another 20,000 people for $1 to cover the taxes. :)

peter

October 22, 2009 5:26 AM

i remember my 1st beer....

James

October 22, 2009 8:41 AM

Is it just me or does anyone else think it just looks like a revamped Celica?

rich

October 22, 2009 8:55 AM

well at 375k for a high priced toyota is unheard for one.if you are going to spend that kind of money i would not send it to the japanese auto makers when you can get a 680hp motor from a new corvette ( ZR1 ) and the cost is around 250k less than the overpriced toyota.for two where in this country can or would you use that forign junk.

BusinessWeek's Ian Rowley

October 22, 2009 8:56 AM

Robert, This link may help a bit:
http://www2.toyota.co.jp/future_en/report/index.html

In terms of timing, Toyota is believed to planning a 2011 launch. The price is rumored to be in the low $20,000s. And it is expected to be powered by a 2 liter boxer engine developed by Subaru.

Dan

October 22, 2009 9:04 AM

Lighten up people. Most of us can only afford to look at the pictures anyway.
It's still fun to dream.
Jambo, you probably need that scoop to cool the brakes if you're racing a 200 mph car.

JsN

October 22, 2009 9:10 AM

Looks more like a Supra in the front, but that doesn't suprise me. Lexas has never had an original idea so why start now. I'm sure it runs good and all, but who cares...

coolnesh

October 22, 2009 3:05 PM

Complex strategies in the auto industry, what's of interest is that Toyota being the pioneer is hybrid and building fuel saving cars opted to build a gas guzzler just so that could 'hang' with the others. Whereas all the others are opting to put in some sort of hybrid technology or fuel saving methods in their high end cars and already have a super car in their arsenal... I guess it all boils down to what each company does not have! whilst giving the people more to oogle at.

And while it officially says its $375K and limited to only 500... I am sure it will sell for a lot more.

On a personal note, if I could spend that kind of money I would be heading German (or Europe) bound.

vincent

October 22, 2009 5:00 PM

For those people complaining about the price of this car that I am sure for many people who works at Goldman Sachs is not a problem at all since they set aside 17 billion for this year end bonus. So 375k car isn't too expensive at all.

A M Barr

October 23, 2009 4:14 PM

Seems to me the wholly negative comments indicate a deep seated Jealousy.

CAF

October 25, 2009 5:05 AM

LEXUS LFA IS THE CLOSES CAR T0 A F1 CAR THAT MONEY CAN BUY AND USE IT ON THE PUBLIC ROAD AND THE FACT THAT IT IS A LEXUS IS EVEN BETTER.

phil

October 28, 2009 10:08 AM

very expensive for a lexus

qaiyimoto

November 8, 2009 4:36 AM

identity confused supacar...looks like design by japanese moded car junkies who foolishly try to build supacar....they need to learn from italian how to design great cars...

H

January 7, 2010 5:29 PM

@CAF
how can you possibly say that this is the closest to an f1 car that money can buy when toyota doesnt even have an f1 team anymore and there are cars such as the mc12 and the coming ferrari 458 which i can bet will be better. the fact that it is a lexus only means that it will copy what everyone else have already done.

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