As the last LFA supercar rolled out of Lexus’ Motomachi facility in December, the Japanese luxury brand promised that both the facility and the LFA’s carbon fibre technology would live on in future Lexus and Toyota models.
"At one time, there were informal talks about another project to follow here after the current LFA project finishes," an unnamed Toyota official said.
"But the current business environment is too poor."
This international business environment includes a healthy Japanese yen relative to the US dollar and Europe’s current economic woes, forcing high prices of Japanese products in the critical US and European markets.
The LFA itself was never expected to turn a profit for Lexus, with the supercar's heavy development costs impossible to amortize with its 500-car production run.
Lexus parent Toyota has not become the world’s largest automaker by making frivolous business decisions, so this filtering down of LFA tech will help give the automaker a return on its investment in the LFA, as well as benefit lesser Lexus and Toyota models.
With a current industry-wide emphasis on weight reduction for more mainstream models, greater use of the lighter-yet-stronger-than-steel carbon fibre makes perfect sense, and was likely part of the LFA’s business model from the beginning.
The LFA is currently the sole Lexus or Toyota production car to use carbon fibre in its construction, and it remains unclear which future models will be graced with the LFA’s technology first.
The relatively high cost of carbon fibre suggests that this technology transfer will likely feature in Lexus models initially, and a production version of the recent hybrid yet high performance LF-LC concept would appear an ideal candidate.
The LF-LC is yet to be green-lit for production, but Toyota Europe’s product boss Karl Schlict rated its chances at 50 percent prior to its revised appearance at the Australian International Motor Show in October, suggesting that these odds may have tipped in the LF-LC's favour.
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