Lexus LFA Will be Lease-Only Proposition in North America
By Chris Haak
Few new cars have spawned as many preliminary concept cars, spy photos, rumors, and even buff-book test drives of camoflaged mules than the Lexus LFA have. And now Toyota is trying to take a bite out of the supercar speculation market with an interesting approach.
Rather than outright selling the 150 LFAs destined for the US to customers, Toyota is “leasing” them for two years for US sales only. The company will retain the car’s title for its first two years as the buyer makes payments on the $375,000 sports car in an amount and pace agreed upon by both parties. After two years, assuming the car is paid off (and I doubt that most buyers of $375,000 cars are taking out installment loans), the buyer receives the title.
Elsewhere in the world for the other 350 cars, this arrangement does not exist, and buyers receive the car’s title immediately upon payment. Presumably, that’s because there isn’t such an obnoxious speculation market that would otherwise buy the cars and flip them to eBay, which would have the effect of de-valuing the brand that Lexus has worked very hard to establish. And Lexus has worked particularly hard on the LFA, as you’ll see below in a small refresher:
Under the hood is a 72° V10 unique to the LFA displacing 4.8 liters and producing 552 horsepower at 8,700 RPMs and 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 RPMs. The engine has a redline of 9,000 RPMs and a full 90% of its peak torque is available between 3,700 RPMs and its 9,000 RPM redline. According to Toyota, the V10 is smaller than a similar-displacement V8, lighter than a conventional V6, and had its soundtrack specially tuned to mimic the race car experience for drivers.
According to Lexus, the car’s development took so long primarily because its primary construction was switched midway through from aluminum to carbon fiber. That change took over 200 pounds away from the car’s curb weight, yet tacked several years onto the car’s development time.
Lexus will begin accepting purchase applications in October, and production of the 2011 LFA commences in December 2010. Meanwhile, please enjoy the gallery of high-resolution photos belowth .
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