For those that might not remember 2012, the Lexus LFA was a high end supercar from Lexus. Primarily, it was interesting because it was a significant change from the sedate, comfortable cars that characterize Lexus. Unfortunately, the Lexus LFA failed to secure sufficient interest from car buyers, which is why no more than 500 of these cars were ever made.
What Stood Out about the Lexus LFA?
For those who are curious, the Lexus LFA came into existence because some of the senior leadership at Toyota and thus Lexus felt like they had something to prove. In short, the Japanese car manufacturer is famous for producing reliable cars, which is a very useful characteristic that makes them very appealing to a wide range of consumers in a wide range of countries. Unfortunately, there is an issue in that while huge swathes of car consumers are interested in reliability, other segments are not because they are motivated by different concerns. In fact, for them, reliability might actually be counter-productive on some level because what they are interested in is excitement, which isn't exactly the kind of emotion brought up whenever anyone mentions reliability.
Due to this perception, senior leadership decided that they wanted to make a car to showcase Toyota's ability to turn out something with exceptional performance. Theoretically, if they had succeeded, they might have been able to carve out a new niche in the car market for themselves, which might have brought in new revenue streams. As a result, while the choice might have been motivated by a wish to showcase their capabilities, there were other motivations at play as well.
Whatever the case, Toyota brought a lot of its expertise and experience to bear on the problem, which started turning out prototypes incorporating various techniques and technologies of interest for the Japanese car manufacturer as well as a wide range of other parties. Examples ranged from automatic retractable rear spoilers to side cameras mounted in the side mirrors. However, for a lot of people, what was most interesting was the use of carbon fiber, which was so extensive that Toyota needed to set up a giant loom to make enough of the material for its purposes.
Going into the full list of interesting things about carbon fiber would eat up more space than what is available here, but suffice to say that it is strong, tough, and lightweight, which explains why it has been seeing more and more use in more and more products. In the case of the eventual Lexus LFA that was released, carbon fiber was used for everything from its hood to its frame, which contributed much to how Toyota was able to bring its total weight to 3,263 pounds. For comparison, the average car in the United States was calculated to weigh around 4,079 pounds in 2004, which was around the time that Toyota was working on the concept cars.
By 2009, Toyota was ready to start selling production models of the Lexus LFA. Estimated to have prices of around $225,000 to $400,000, the Lexus LFA was going head-to-head with Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. Something that might have played a part in its eventual fate. Whatever the case, even when the Lexus LFA had just been released, the experts were not expecting it to turn out a profit for the Japanese manufacturer because so much money had been spent on the research and development process. However, many of them nonetheless believed that it could be worth it, whether because of the technologies that had been proven by its existence or because of the interest that it could provide to similar cars from Toyota.
Why Was the Lexus LFA Discontinued?
Unfortunately, the Lexus LFA never managed to find enough car buyers to sustain it for the long run. Initially, there were various policies put in place based on Toyota's expectations for the car, but in time, some of them had to be changed as those expectations fell through. Still, while the Lexus LFA failed to secure impressive sales numbers, it is nonetheless a very cool-looking car with outstanding performance, meaning that there are still people who are willing to speak out in its favor in the present day. This might not be much consolation considering its eventual fate, but recognition is recognition.
Written by Garrett Parker
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