Posts Tagged ‘mini’

Lexus LF-SA Concept City Car Debuts in Geneva

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 6th, 2015

2015 Lexus LF-SA Concept

One of the most innovative new concept cars on display at this week’s 2015 Geneva Motor Show is the all-new Lexus LF-SA Concept. Its name stands for Lexus Future Small Adventurer, so you can keep that in mind as you see the model in action in the video below:

Lexus tells us that the LF-SA Concept was designed by the Toyota Europe Design Development team located in Nice, France, and that it represents the newest adaptation of their ‘L-Finesse’ design language.

Looking at the exterior, it’s clear that this car’s design team intended to take L-Finesse in an aggressively futuristic direction. The ultra-compact LF-SA Concept’s entire body is only 3.45m long and 1.7m wide, standing only 1.43m tall.

Lexus LF-SA Concept profile

Despite its petite stature, the exterior is rugged and dominant, like some sort of ferocious reptile with its maw open wide. Notice the inset ridge extending out from the headlights along the top of the wheel wells, and the wide ‘V’ shape made by the body lines along the side. The core of the LF-SA’s exterior, though, is undoubtedly that enormous 3D mesh pinched grille, with huge fog light slits cut into the front fender.

2015 Lexus LF-SA Concept rear

The LF-SA Concept’s rear-end is perhaps even more strikingly sculpted than the front with a rear spoiler, then a rear taper, then two humongous bulging rear wheel wells. And of course, you can’t miss those custom chrome alloy wheels with black brushed steel between the spokes.

2015 Lexus LF-SA Concept interior

Moving inside, our glimpse into the future continues with a 2+2 cabin that’s stuffed full of space-age amenities like a hologram display, touch pad and a heads-up display for the windshield. We can also see some sort of electronic rear-view mirror, and a crystalline dashboard interface.

Also note that Lexus has structured the entire cabin around the driver, hence the special dark blue coloring of the driver’s seat. In fact, the driver’s seat is stationary… The pedals and steering wheel are adjusted to fit the driver’s body, instead of moving the seat. Meanwhile, the rear seats are accessed by pulling the front passenger’s seat forward.

2015 Lexus LF-SA Concept birds-eye view

Unfortunately, Lexus had nothing to say about the LF-SA’s powertrain, which means that we’re still probably at least one conceptual iteration away from seeing a production-ready model. To get a better idea of what a production LF-SA would look like, our suggestion is to imagine a Lexus NX without rear doors and a slightly lower ride. We’ll have to wait until later this year to know for sure.

Either way, a city car absolutely makes sense for Lexus’ lineup, especially in Europe where these three-door micro cars are a viable trend.


Japan’s Love Affair With German Imports Continues

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Does anyone out there remember the trade negotiations every year between Japan and the US in the 80s and early 90s? It usually seemed to revolve around Japan opening its doors more to US car imports.

Well, here we are decades later, and looking at the sales of import cars in April 2011, no progress has been made: Ford is the highest-placed US maker, who sold a  massive …. wait for it … 186 cars in April. Not just 186 of one model – 186 Fords total.

On the other hand, the top of the import charts is absolutely dominated by German (and honorary German – Mini brands. VW leads the pack, with 2,970 cars sold, well ahead of BMW (2,260) and Mercedes (1,755). BMW’s Mini brand rounds out the top 4 with sales of 1,181 cars. That’s 8,166 new vehicle sales between these top 4 brands, which accounts then for 66% of the import car market.

Now that is what I call market dominance.

Despite the crash in Japan’s domestic makers’ new car sales in April, sales of import cars have risen 21.6% over the previous year. But before you get too excited about Japan’ auto market finally opening up to foreign cars, let’s put this in perspective: Even with sales down 43.7% in April, Japan’s car makers still far outsold their foreign rivals at home. The whole import car sales total for April is more than swallowed up by the April sales of Honda’s Fit and Toyota’s Prius – respectively the number 1 and number 2 best-selling cars in Japan during April.

Source: JAIA (Japanese-language)