Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sports Coupe concept car unveiled
In the early 2000s, Lexus was a highly regarded luxury car benchmark, winning customers with its superior comfort and technology. However, in the past few years, the luxury car division backed by Toyota has fallen out of favor. Following the announcement of US sales in 2011, the reputation of the Lexus brand in the prestige of modern luxury cars continued to decline. In 2011, Lexus sold a total of 198,552 cars, and its sales were down by approximately 14.5% compared to 2010. For Lexus and crossovers, what is even more disturbing is the loss in sales compared to the 2007 calendar year. For passenger cars, demand for Lexus products fell by nearly one-half to 101,181 vehicles. Despite the debut of the redesigned GX 460 and the introduction of two new cars (CT 200h and GS 350) for the 2012 model year, the Lexus division still lacks enthusiasm in the highly competitive luxury car market.
A reputation damaged by the Toyota company’s accelerator issue of 2009, Lexus also lost favour with luxury car buyers with questionable new vehicle styling. Looking for chance to gain enthusiasm for the luxury division, the purebred supercar Lexus LFA vaulted the stylized ‘L’ badge to the front covers of many auto magazines. Produced for a limited run of 500 vehicles at an American list price of over $375,000, the 552-horsepower LFA has little chance to provide a sizable billboard to Lexus’ brand vehicles.
In mid-December, teaser images of an exciting new design concept have given the Lexus loyalists an early Christmas present. Serving a taste of what would be a show car ahead of the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a close shot of the front headlamp housing and air intake was released ahead of a second picture detailing some exquisite interior contours. With a week ahead of the Detroit automotive exhibit, the Lexus LF-LC breaks cover as a hybrid-propelled sport coupe concept.
An aggressive design assertion, this 2012 show car is the Lexus division’s latest exercise with the LF Series design studies that has been intimately attached to look of future production products. Presented in bright red, the Lexus LF-LC radiates a Ferrari-like silhouette. Sporty yet romance, the premium sport coupe LF-LC concept car wears a wide front end that emphasizes Lexus design cues in a most embellished manner. A big, chrome mesh grille features an inward bodywork points. A 2+2 sport coupe design, the LF-LC concept vehicle wears a glass roof that angles down to the fastback rear window.
The LF-LC will be a showcase for a yet to be determined hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Being a performance application, the electric propulsion system in the Lexus LF-LC will likely be configured around providing a power boost over the gasoline engine rather than supply fuel saving. For Lexus, their four available production hybrid vehicles in 2012 is one area positively defining the luxury division. Lexus stands at the forefront in the premium category with hybrid or electric vehicle technology use while other competitors like Mercedes-Benz and BMW have only been dipping their toes in the electrified car market.
When the Lexus LF-LC hybrid sports coupe concept debuts physically, there will be a lot of attention on the other innovations brought forward in the design study. In the time that will follow the 2012 North American International Auto Show, it will be interesting to see how Lexus adapts the lessons gained in the LF-LC concept.
Source of information and photos: Toyota Motor Corporation
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