October 29, 2005 It was only a matter of time before Toyota (aka Lexus) stepped into supercar territory, and the betting is that the Lexus LF-A will be the manufacturer’s first entry into the rarified 200+ mph marketplace. First shown earlier this year, the car was again on display in Tokyo last week where it was confirmed that the car will be powered by no less an engine than a V10, and follows on from Honda’s announcement that it will be powering its NSX replacement with a V10 too.
Other snippets dropped by Toyota at the Tokyo Show include the fact it will produce “more than 500 horsepower” and that the car if Formula 1 inspired. The car was Formula 1 inspired at the start of the year, but no doubt will have become more inspired during the year as Toyota moved from F1-also-ran to elite team status, finishing just 12 points behind Ferrari in the constructors championship and relegating front-runners Williams and BAR-Honda into mid-pack status.
With Formula 1 success comes respect and the street cred to be competitive at the highest level – at roughly US$2 billion spent so far on the F1 effort, that’s an expensive way to earn a reputation, but it has positioned the big Japanese manufacturer to move on yet another market niche – a very important, brand-value-defining niche.
The LF-A is also the first Lexus/Ytoyota that will carry a six figure price tag – expect to see the sticker reading US$100,000 plus when the car lands some time in 2006 or 2007.