Friday, March 30, 2012

SXSW 2012: What We Saw

Anybody with a Lexus in their driveway knows that music and Lexus models go together, for more reasons that we can list here (owners with the Mark Levinson® Reference Surround Sound Audio System option, you know what I mean).

So it’s really no surprise that Lexus has a considerable presence on Pandora online radio these days, including a superb indie-music station.

Last week, with all this in mind, we traveled to Austin, Texas for SXSW, the mother of all innovative indie music festivals (there’s also a film and interactive component), to visit a few of this year’s noteworthy up-and-coming bands and maybe recommend a few additions to your driving playlists.

The story will be posted late next week, but here’s some initial 2012 SXSW flavor for Lexus-driving music fans:



Courtesy of LexusMagazine

Thank you to the author of this great review for taking the time to let us know how we're doing! Great job C.J., keep up the outstanding work!

Lexus of Orlando - (5) Star Review on DealerRater

  • Just had service at Lexus this afternoon. The service process was nothing but smooth and overall a great experience as always ,because of C.J. He is outstanding and provides the best customer service. Thank you again. -Carlls

Lexus Teases “Masked Machine” on Twitter


As strange as it seems, Lexus has posted a photo on Twitter of a mystery vehicle hanging in the air from a crane.

The accompanying tweet reads:

It’s on a crane and under a cover. What is this masked machine?

Considering the ES is debuting next Tuesday at the New York International Auto Show, I’d say it’s a safe bet to be the masked machine under the blue tarp — in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the ES being delivered to the Javits Center for its unveiling next week.

(The car’s identity notwithstanding, how about those LFA-inspired wheels? So awesome.)

Update: Looks like it is the next-gen ES — Lexus updated Twitter with this photo:

2013 Lexus ES 350 Revealed

If this is indeed the specific ES that will be on display next week at NYIAS, it’s a great debut color.


Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The all new Lexus ES is set to debut at the upcoming New York International Auto Show! What do you think of the teaser photo, fans?


Take a look at these great specials on inventory of new Lexus vehicles! Stop by Lexus of Orlando today!

New technology challenges car dealers -- and buyers

New cars are growing so complex — and owners manuals so voluminous — that automakers are encouraging dealers to add staff geeks or go high-tech to explain features.

Lexus will announce today that it is creating two new positions at each of its 230 dealers around the country: a "vehicle delivery specialist" to show buyers how the cars work during purchase and a "vehicle technology specialist" to troubleshoot snafus after the sale.

The learning gap underscores how automakers have become engaged in a tech war, seeing it as a key way to make their brand stand out.

Lexus' rivals in luxury cars, which typically have the most complex tech systems, are coming up with their own approaches to walking customers through the nuances of infotainment, navigation and communication systems, not to mention how to set the air conditioning:

  • Cadillac. General Motors' upscale brand has developed an iPad app explaining use of its new CUE infotainment systems, coming first on the XTS sedan. The app is for dealer use now, but customers will be able to get it, too, at the Apple App Store.
  • Infiniti. Salespeople use iPads to show customers technology features and coach them in their use.
  • BMW. The German automaker uses a website to tell clients whether their smartphones can be paired with their cars but relies on the old-fashioned approach for the rest, making sure salespeople are fully versed in models' innards.

Sure, there are owners' manuals, which nowadays can run to more than 800 pages, but "We're finding customers won't take the time to read through that," says Vince Salisbury, a Lexus dealer training manager. "They've paid for the features on their car, and they should be educated on how they work."

Lexus took the action after seeing how successful some dealers have been in hiring specialists just to handle technology issue so that customers don't have to rely on salespeople or service advisers.

One dealer, Sewell Lexus in Dallas, recruited its tech specialist, Alex Oger, from a local Apple Store. His mission: "How to take this car that has so many capabilities" and explain features "so it's something the customer wants." He says many have a "eureka moment" when they figure out a task.


Courtesy of USAToday

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Star Wars, The Euro, And Lexus

Let’s go back in time and talk about the year 1999 for a minute.

A few notable things happened that year. Napster debuted. The Euro was established. The first episode of Family Guy premiered. Bill Gates’ personal fortune crossed 100 billion dollars. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace became the highest grossing Star Wars film ever.

Plus something else happened that year, quietly, in a Lexus dealership somewhere in America: 1999 was the year Lexus sold its 1 millionth U.S. vehicle.

One million Lexus vehicles. Line them all up, end to end, and you'd have a string of Lexus models stretching from Los Angeles to the Florida coast.

For a luxury brand that had released its first models only 10 years earlier, that’s quite the feat, and I’m not sure even Ichiro Suzuki, the brilliant chief engineer behind the first Lexus vehicle sold in the U.S., the 1989 LS, could have predicted how fast Lexus’ reputation for quality would take off.

But here’s what’s really significant about the number. It’s not about the 1 million cars. It’s about the drivers who bought them: really, 1999 marked the year that 1 million smart, premium-minded people recognized a good thing when they saw it—not unlike the 1-million-plus smart, premium-minded people who’ve clicked the Like button on the Lexus Facebook page.

Yep, 1999 was quite the year.

Maybe, one of these days, we’ll talk about some other noteworthy years for Lexus, like 2004.

Why 2004? That’s the year Lexus sold it 2 millionth U.S. vehicle.


Courtesy of LexusMagazine

All-New Lexus ES Luxury Sedan to Make World Debut at 2012 New York International Auto Show

March 28, 2012 – Lexus will reveal the all-new ES luxury sedan on Wednesday, April 4th, in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show.

The sixth-generation ES model introduces a progressive new design featuring the Lexus signature spindle grille and a new dynamic driving experience.

The Lexus press conference will take place on Wednesday, April 4th at 11:20 a.m. EDT at the New York International Auto Show. It will be on display in the Lexus exhibit from April 6-15, 2012.


Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

First Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition Delivered to USA

The very first (known) production Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition has been delivered in the USA, and it’s absolutely amazing — here’s a gallery from the Lexus USA Facebook page:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Audubon & Toyota's TogetherGreen Initiative Launches Facebook App to Encourage Conservation

TogetherGreen, a conservation alliance between the National Audubon Society and Toyota, launched today the Spring Greening Challenge, a Facebook application that offers weekly conservation challenges, data on the impacts of green choices anyone can make around the home, and an opportunity for participants to win prizes. .

The Spring Greening Challenge, which can be accessed at, encourages participants to save water, protect habitats, engage people, reduce energy and win prizes! A play on Spring Cleaning, visitors to the application page on Facebook are invited to take that week’s challenge, which is the completion of a particular conservation action around the home, like changing buying habits (e.g. purchasing recycled products). Once the challenge is completed, participants are encouraged to click the “I Did It” button to be entered in weekly and grand prize drawings. The Spring Greening Challenge application will be available through April 23rd offering four different weekly challenges.

This online engagement campaign, which is a component of the larger TogetherGreen program, was designed with a key goal of reaching a broad audience and making participation in meaningful conservation actions accessible to everyone. To date, TogetherGreen has saved 5.8 million dollars through volunteer support, improved 10,540 acres of wildlife habitat, and engaged 218,311 participants through its grants, fellowships, and volunteer days programs.This online engagement campaign will help broaden the reach of TogetherGreen by offering anyone the opportunity to take important conservation actions around their home.

The online engagement campaign was also designed to educate users. In addition to simply viewing a task, completing it and entering to win prizes, participants will learn about the impact of these actions with surprising conclusions and playful comparisons. For instance, if the application encourages the use of natural cleaning products over conventional chemical-based ones, the user can see how many toxins will be kept out of the environment as a direct result of this choice. The application also features an impact estimator that demonstrates the incremental impact the action could have if the participant encourages all of his or her Facebook friends to also complete this challenge.

The decision to house the application within the TogetherGreen Facebook page was made in part to encourage social media buzz. Participants are invited to engage their friends (Facebook), circles (Google+) and followers (Twitter) within their social media networks to share information, promote the application and participate in challenges.

“These challenges are easy enough that anyone can participate – from the suburbanite in St. Louis to the San Francisco city dweller to the rural ranch owner in Montana – yet impactful enough to make a real difference,” said Elizabeth Sorrell, Digital Media Manager for TogetherGreen at National Audubon Society. “TogetherGreen is all about people-powered conservation and we hope that Spring Greening proves that even small actions add up to large change.”

Prizes for participation include weekly drawings for 25 winners to receive TogetherGreen t-shirts. Three grand prizes of $250, $100 and $50 gift certificates to Lowe’s will be awarded from drawings at the conclusion of the challenge.

Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

Toyota to Debut a Stunning U.S.-Designed Sedan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show

Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. will debut an all-new U.S.-designed sedan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. This global premiere will take place in the Galleria room within the Jacob Javits Center at 10:30 a.m. EDT on April 5, 2012.

The sedan’s exciting new design features an elegant yet athletic look.

Media and the public will have the opportunity to participate in a live-streaming video chat with the designers of the new sedan by submitting questions via Twitter and Facebook with the #ToyotaDesign hashtag. The Toyota Design Live chat is scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT on April 5, 2012 and hosted on

Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

Will there be a Lexus GS F?

Autocar is reporting that a high-performance Lexus GS F is still very much a possibility:

Product planning chief Karl Schlicht revealed to Autocar that he would “love to see” a GS-F make production, although he conceded that he “didn’t yet have it approved” by senior Toyota management.

The GS-F would be the final piece in a five-part product strategy to boost Lexus’s image and its sporting credentials. “With a GS-F, we would have a solid pyramid structure of performance models,” said Schlicht.

He said it was important that any Lexus kept its refinement. So, if approved, it’s likely that the GS-F would be as much a potent grand tourer as an out-and-out focused driving tool.

This may be an obvious point, but any chance of a GS F rests on the success of the standard GS range. If the new model can maintain a decent sales pace, a high-performance variant makes a lot of sense — in fact, a senior Lexus official talking openly about a GS F would suggest that discussions are in advanced stages.

Autocar also includes some speculation on the GS F’s potential powertrain:

No details have been given of the GS-F’s powertrain, but insiders have hinted that it could be a detuned version of the LFA’s 4.8-litre engine. It would be reduced to 4.6 litres and around 450bhp, with an emphasis on boosting low-end torque.

This isn’t the first time the LFA’s V10 has been mentioned as a possible GS F engine — here’s a quote from GS Chief Engineer Kanamori-san last year from a Motor Trend article:

Mr. Kanamori said Lexus never planned to carry on with the V-10 project, but that it was “technically feasible to fit the engine into the new GS.” Further proving the idea has been seriously pondered, he said the engine would have to be detuned to deliver more torque instead of power.

Releasing a GS F with less than 500hp seems like a risky move given that this class of super-sedans is dominated by stats — and yet, even though the new BMW M5 is packing 560hp and the Mercedes E63 AMG has 518hp, if I had to choose between one of these models and their twin-turbo V8s versus a GS F with a LFA-sourced V10, I know what I’d pick every time.


Courtesy ot LexusEnthusiast

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lexus LF-LC super coupe concept pondered for production

Autocar reports Lexus may be mulling a production version of the company's LF-LC Concept. After receiving a near universally positive reception following its unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show this year, Karl Schlicht, head of Lexus product planning, reportedly gave the vehicle a 50-50 shot at hitting dealers sometime in the future. Those aren't great odds, but it is a change of tone from when the vehicle first hit the stage. Back in January, Toyota made it very clear the LF-LC was strictly a concept. As you may recall, the vehicle is a 2+2 coupe with a hybrid drivetrain and a low-slung presence.

According to Schlicht, the vehicle would have never even been considered for production if it had merely been submitted as a design proposal. With a physical concept backed by chorus of positive reviews, the company's decision makers have evidently been prompted to give the LF-LC a second look.

Schlicht himself is set to become the head of product planning for Toyota and Lexus starting on April 1.

Courtesy of AutoBlog

The greatest supercar ever to come out of Japan went into limited production in 2010, with only 170 allocated for the U.S. market.

Thank you to Kathy N. and family for sharing this photo from their recent trip in the family's Lexus CT 200h! 50 Miles per gallon is fantastic, this is just the kind of performance you can expect to see with legendary Lexus engineering!


Friday, March 23, 2012

On this day in 1937, Craig Breedlove, land-speed record holder, was born. In the spirit of this speedster's birthday, share with us: What is your personal land-speed record?


Lexus Brings NFC-Enabled Print Ad to Wired Magazine

As print publications continue seeking ways to entice advertisers, Wired magazine and Lexus have teamed up to create what they say is the first mass-produced print ad embedded with a near-field communications, or NFC, tag.

'Place your NFC-enabled Android phone here,' the ad says, to experience the apps in the car's dashboard.

The ad, which can be found in 500,000 subscriber copies of Wired's April issue, allows readers who have NFC-enabled phones -- such as the Nexus S -- to access a demo of the Lexus GS 2013's Enform App Suite simply by holding their phone up to the ad. Unlike the 2-D barcodes found in magazine pages, readers don't need to take pictures of anything with their phones' cameras. The phone automatically detects the NFC chip.

In the case of Wired and Lexus, that brings up a link on the phone's screen. Click the link and a welcome video loads introducing the car's in-dash App Suite. Users can then click on each of the app icons -- Bing, OpenTable, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Yelp -- to see short videos explaing each app.

"This gives us a chance to bring the technology to life for a reader in a way that words just don't do," said Brian Bolain, national marketing communications manager for Lexus.

The ad also includes a link that readers without NFC-enabled phones can visit to access the same tour.

"Our estimates are that there around 3 million people in the U.S. with NFC-enabled smartphones," Mr. Bolain said. "We know it's a pretty small pool, but we need to do something more interesting in print to make it a little more of an interactive experience for those people who want it."

Mr. Bolain said Wired's tech-forward readership was a natural fit for such a campaign. And Wired has experimented with other interactive technologies in its print pages in the past.

In September, Wired worked with Showtime on an augmented reality experience that allowed readers who downloaded a specific app to get video previews of two Showtime series when they held their phone to the cover of the magazine or a Showtime ad within the issue. The NFC ad for Lexus does not require any app download.


"We have a pretty established reputation for doing things first and being experimental," said Howard Mittman, publisher of Wired. "And we have an audience expecting [ads like this], so it doesn't fall on deaf ears."


Courtesy of AdAgeMediaWorks

Lexus Chief Engineer Katsuda-san talks about the latest RX 450h at 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Hear him talk about the new styling and increased performance of the new RX.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Which spring break destination do you think would look best around your Lexus?


Toyota Financial Services Unveils New Excess Wear & Use Protection Plan

When it comes to vehicle leasing, consumers may have questions about their financial responsibility for items such as dings, dents, scratches, and missing parts or equipment at the time of vehicle return. To provide added assurance and to enhance the lease experience for its customers, Toyota Financial Services (TFS) and Lexus Financial Services (LFS) is excited to announce the launch of the Excess Wear & Use (EWU) Protection Plan, the newest product to join the TFS/LFS portfolio.

“We developed EWU in collaboration with dealers and industry advisors with the consumer experience top-of-mind,” said Mike Groff, TFS/LFS Group Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Development. “We want to help our customers avoid unexpected charges when they return their vehicle at lease-end and provide a hassle-free, customer-friendly claims process. We kept things simple and packaged high-value benefits and features into one comprehensive plan for Toyota dealers and one plan for Lexus dealers. And, I’m also proud to say that our EWU product is 100% built and backed by the strength of TFS.”

EWU is a protection plan offered to TFS/LFS lease customers that waives “excess wear and use” charges they would otherwise be responsible for paying at the end of their lease term. In addition, EWU simplifies the claims process with no claims forms to submit, no deductibles to pay and no reimbursements to request. EWU covers items that are beyond normal wear and tear, up to specified limits, including:

• Interior cuts, burns or stains
• Damage to tires, rims or hubcaps
• Broken or scratched windshield, window, mirrors or lights
• Damaged bumpers, body dents, dings or scratches
• Missing parts or equipment

To find a dealer or to learn more, including program details and restrictions, please visit or For customer service questions, call 1-800-331-4331.

And to promote the Toyota EWU product, TFS also launched a humorous consumer video to highlight the product’s value and benefits:

The TFS/LFS Excess Wear & Use Protection Plan is currently not available in AK, NE, NY, TX and UT. It is also not available for dealers in the Gulf States Toyota or Southeast Toyota regions.


Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

Scion Announces Pricing for Its 2013 FR-S Sports Car

Scion today announced pricing for its 2013 FR-S compact rear-wheel drive sports car. The FR-S starts with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $24,200 when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, and $25,300 when equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission that features paddle shifters and rev-match technology. The high-performance coupe is the fifth model to join the Scion family and will go on sale this spring.

“Scion’s goal was to create an affordable sports car that true driving enthusiasts could enjoy,” said Jack Hollis, Scion vice president. “We accomplished that goal with the FR-S starting under $25,000…a total home run! Add in Scion’s complimentary Scion Service Boost, our no-haggle no-hassle Pure Price, and Scion’s network of about 1,000 dealers, and the FR-S is a grand slam.”

Pure Balance
The FR-S, which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport; is Scion’s definition of an authentic rear-wheel-drive sports car with exceptionally balanced performance and handling, compelling style, flexible utility and surprising fuel efficiency.

The FR-S is a true “scion,” born into a lengthy history of Toyota performance cars and motorsports. During planning and development, it was most inspired by the AE86 generation of the Corolla, better known as the Hachi-Roku, meaning “8-6” in Japanese. The AE86 was a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive coupe that was lightweight and well balanced, making it a solid choice for driving enthusiasts.

Inspired by the AE86, the FR-S is designed around the core goal of achieving “Pure Balance.” The balance begins with the strategic use of the world’s only flat boxer engine in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. The engine’s compact size and flat shape allow it to be mounted mid-ship and extremely low, giving the car a dynamically favorable front-to-rear weight ratio of 53:47 and a low center of gravity comparable to some exotic supercars.

The FR-S’s 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is the result of a joint development between Toyota and Subaru. The partnership begins by combining Subaru’s newly developed, horizontally opposed engine and Toyota’s cutting edge D-4S injection system that incorporates both direct and port injection. The D-4S system, partnered with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, results in an impressive 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.

The flat-four mates with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual offers quick, precise shifts with a short-throw; while the automatic features aggressive up shifts and sporty rev-matched down shifts that are initiated by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Power is transferred to the pavement via a standard Torsen® limited-slip differential.

The idea of “Pure Balance” is further realized by the FR-S’s lightweight design and compact size. The combination allows the car to be quick and nimble into and out of corners, with dynamic maneuverability and confident handling. The coupe’s weight is kept to a minimum by utilizing a lightweight aluminum hood, a solid roof, and by featuring a trunk design instead of a hatchback.

The FR-S’s low weight is matched with a dynamically tuned suspension setup consisting of MacPherson struts up front and a double wishbone system in the rear. Lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels and ventilated disc brakes are standard on all four corners.

Powerful Exterior Design
The fierce exterior of the FR-S is a solid reflection of its inner power. The profile, inspired by the Toyota 2000GT, reveals a hood and roof-line that is remarkably sleek and low, giving it an aerodynamic shape that channels air cleanly over to the top. The low stance continues to exaggerate the coupe’s menacing face, which is made up of sharp lines, a wide mouth and angular headlights that house the projector-beam halogen lamps. The aggressive front fenders protrude upward and boast the iconic ‘86’ piston emblem, which highlights the car’s AE86 heritage as well as its unique new boxer engine. The rear fascia sits low and wide, with aerodynamic lower treatments that surround the sporty dual exhaust system. LEDs illuminate the edgy taillights, while center-mounted backup lights finish the muscular design.

The FR-S will be available in seven colors including Raven, Asphalt, Hot Lava, Argento, Ultramarine, Firestorm and Whiteout.

Performance-Focused Interior
The FR-S’s interior includes a 2+2 seating configuration that is designed with both form and function in mind. The front seats feature deep bolsters and are mounted extremely low and are comfortable yet assertive, while the rear seat folds down flat, creating flexible space. The car will come standard with FR-S badged floor mats. The large center-mounted tachometer is the focus of the three-gauge cluster and features a programmable shift-indicator, informing the driver of the engine’s vitals. Speed is monitored by both digital and analog gauges. The FR-S features a sporty leather-trimmed steering wheel that has both tilt and telescopic adjustment.

The FR-S will come standard with an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB 300-watt maximum output Pioneer™ audio system. Standard features also include HD Radio™ technology and Bluetooth® connectivity that allows both hands-free phone connection as well as streaming audio capability.

Sports Car Performance with Excellent Safety Features
FR-S comes standard with six airbags, including dual-stage advanced driver- and front-passenger airbags, front-seat-mounted airbags and side-curtain airbags.

Like all Scions, FR-S features the Star Safety System that includes Traction Control (TRAC), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Brake Assist (BA), an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

The delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee for all Scion models is $730 and is not included in the MSRP. DPH fee for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.

Warranty and Complimentary Scion Service Boost
Like all Scion models, the FR-S is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The FR-S will come standard with Scion Service Boost, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of 24-hour roadside assistance. 

Scion FR-S Preliminary Specifications

166.7 in.
69.9 in.
51.2 in. (not including antenna base)
101.2 in.
59.8 in.
60.6 in.
Seating capacity
Total displacement
1,998 cc
Horizontally opposed four-cylinder, D-4S injection, DOHC
Bore × stroke
86 × 86 mm.
Maximum output
200hp @ 7,000 rpm
Maximum torque
151 lb.-ft. @ 6,600 rpm
6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Rear-wheel drive
MacPherson struts
Double wishbone
Ventilated Disc
Ventilated Disc
Fuel tank
13.2 gallons
Premium Unleaded

Courteys of ToyotaPressroom

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toyota Giving 100 Cars to 100 Nonprofits -- Less Than One Week Left to Apply

Time is running out for nonprofits to apply for Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program, which will be giving 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the course of 100 days. Winners of these vehicles will be selected through public voting on Facebook.

Applications will close in less than one week – at 12:00 pm PT on Monday, March 26 or once 5,000 applications have been received, whichever comes first. Complete information is available at

See a short video about 100 Cars for Good  
Access 100 Cars for Good logo and photos

Webinar for nonprofits tomorrow – Thursday, March 22 at 12:30 pm ET –

How 100 Cars for Good Works: 

  • An independent panel of experts will identify 500 finalists from the applications received. Finalists will be notified in April. Registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and non-profit Native American or Alaskan tribes with sovereignty are eligible to apply.
  • Beginning on Monday, May 14, the public will be able to vote on Facebook for the organizations they think should win a new car at (This links to a special 100 Cars for Good Facebook page.)
  • Five finalist organizations will be profiled each day for 100 consecutive days. Whichever nonprofit has the most votes at the end of the day will win a vehicle.
  • Finalists will be eligible for one of six Toyota models.  The four runners up every day will each receive a $1,000 grant from Toyota.
  • Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales, commented, “At Toyota, we appreciate what a big difference a new car or truck can make for organizations that are doing so much to improve lives and strengthen communities across America. Over the past 20 years, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion dollars to nonprofits throughout the U.S. 100 Cars for Good allows us to build on that commitment in new ways, putting the public in the ‘driver’s seat’ as we work to help community organizations broaden their impact.”
Helping Nonprofits Build Digital Marketing and Social Media Skills:

  • 100 Cars for Good is also an opportunity for Toyota to help nonprofits develop or expand their digital marketing skills. As part of this commitment, the company will provide every finalist with a digital video camera, training toolkit and free online advertising credits to help support their 100 Cars for Good campaign.
  • Molly Reeser, Executive Director of Detroit’s Camp Casey, one of last year’s 100 Cars winners noted, “In addition to a new truck, Toyota gave us the training and resources we needed to get more sophisticated about social media marketing for the long-term. This has had a real impact, with our ‘likes’ on Facebook jumping five-fold very quickly.”

Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

Thank you to the author of this review for sharing their feedback with us! Great job team, keep up the outstanding work!

Lexus of Orlando - (5) Star Review on DealerRater

  • I am 64 years old and have purchased many cars in my life time. Lexus of Orlando was the best experience in buying a vehicle that my wife and I have ever had. I have purchased 2 new porsche's at much higher prices and did not receive the red carpet treatment that this dealership presented to us. I would highly recommend them for your new or used car purchase. When I get ready for another vehicle they will be the first place I go. -portiapup

2013 Lexus GS Night View System

Here’s the first photo we've seen of the 2013 Lexus GS’ Night View feature, courtesy of Lexus Norway:

From our understanding, the (optional) Night View system works by projecting infrared light from the headlights, which is then captured by a camera located in the rearview mirror — this black & white footage is then displayed on the central navigation screen. Very cool.

Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Honest Reactions

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE At the GS Performance Tour which kicked off in Southern California, lucky Lexus drivers raced the new GS on the same tracks as the pros, compared the GS to BMW and Mercedes-Benz, indulged in delicious cuisine—and a few even got to ride with a professional driver in the LFA world-class supercar.

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Courtesy of Lexus & MotorTrend

Passion for the Environment Prevails as $500,000 in Grants and Scholarships Awarded to Teens

From Hawaii to New York, student teams were honored today for their innovative environmental programs and rewarded with a total of $500,000 in scholarships and grants.

Two Grand Prize winners earned $30,000 each, and eight First Place winning teams were awarded $15,000 each. “The Green Musketeers” from Jericho High School in Jericho, New York, and the “One-Towel Wonders” from SCAPA Bluegrass in Lexington, Ky., were the Grand Prize winners. “The Green Musketeers” created their own filtration system with the goal of patenting it, selling it, and using profits toward developing systems in third-world countries. The “One-Towel Wonders” demonstrated how a simple idea – using one towel per person, per week – would benefit the environment. For their efforts, each grand prize winner will receive $30,000, of which the school will receive a grant for $7,000, the teacher advisor will get a $3,000 grant, and the students will share $20,000 in scholarships.

Since the program was created, the Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded $4 million in scholarships and grants to empower middle and high school students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it.

“For anyone who wonders if teens today care about the world, the Lexus Eco Challenge is proof that they do,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Through this program, more than 25,000 participants have demonstrated that they want to make the world a better place. By coming up with real-world solutions to environmental challenges, students are learning how they can make a difference in the world around them.”

The eight First Place teams each won $15,000 with $3,000 for the school, $2,000 for the teacher advisor and $10,000 in scholarships for the students. The winning teams were:

  • California (Arboga) – “Team Aqua” – Arboga Elementary School – Raised money and awareness around the world for water conservation programs.
  • California (La Crescenta) – “Carbonators” – Clark Magnet High School – Used ArcGIS to analyze smog levels around the world and how that impacts health.
  • Florida (Miami) – “The Trophic” – Miami Palmetto Senior High School – Focused on reducing carbon dioxide emissions through programs to benefit the land, air and water in their community.
  • Hawaii (Wahiawa) – “WEACT” – Leilehua High School – Launched an environmental awareness program in the community to culminate in the construction of a mural.
  • Kentucky (Lexington) – “Purpledinowolficorns” – Tates Creek Middle School – Developed proposal to the mayor about involving the community to improve the city.
  • Michigan (Whitehall) – “WMS Carbon Busters” – Whitehall Middle School – Encouraged the school, community and state to pass on bottled water and drink tap water.
  • Ohio (Chesterland) – “Environmental Discovery Project” – West Geauga High School – Contacted international communities to encourage composting
  • South Carolina (Hanahan) – “HMS Hawks” – Hanahan Middle School – Raised awareness of the benefits of eating locally grown produce.

“The Lexus Eco Challenge is an integral part of the environmental studies curriculum at SCAPA,” said Ashlie Beals, teacher advisor for the “One-Towel Wonders.” ”For the past five years all of my 8th grade students have worked in teams to create and implement innovative campaigns to encourage others to make one small change that can have a large positive impact on our environment. During the challenge students sharpen their oral and written communication skills, utilize many forms of technology, and work together actively and enthusiastically to solve real-life problems. My younger students eagerly look forward to their chance to participate in the challenge when they are in 8th grade. I can’t thank Lexus and Scholastic enough for offering this tremendous opportunity to my students.”

This year’s winners emerged from more than 400 registered teams representing nearly 3,000 middle and high school students nationwide. The 10 winners were selected from 32 teams that qualified to enter the Final Challenge by winning in one or both of the two previous Challenges that were held from September to February. The earlier phases of the contest, which required teams to address the topics of land, water, air or climate, challenged teams to make a difference for the environment in their local communities. The Final Challenge asked teams to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world.

In addition to the ongoing contest, the Lexus Eco Challenge also includes educational materials designed by Scholastic to encourage teachers to integrate creative lesson plans into their classrooms to help teach students about the environment. For each challenge, the web site ( has lesson plans and teacher instructions including questions to help guide a discussion about the current challenge topic, facts about the topic, and guidelines for a specific classroom project.

The Lexus Eco Challenge will enter its sixth year in fall 2012. Teachers and students are encouraged to visit to view all the winning entries and to learn how they can take part in the next challenge.


Courtesy of ToyotaPressroom

Monday, March 19, 2012

The new episode of Shut Up and Drive aired this last weekend, featuring the new Lexus GS; two race car drivers; and a slippery mountain road in Oregon! If you got the chance to watch, what were you most impressed by?


With all the fabulous weather we’re having, we can’t think of anything better to own than a convertible. Come in to check out the beautiful IS convertible for all your summertime fun.

Lexus's middle child wakes up. Really.

Since the mid-size Lexus GS sedan first appeared in 1993, it has aspired to sportiness but never quite delivered. Nearly 20 years and three subsequent model generations on, a truly enthusiast-friendly GS has finally emerged; our initial impressions and a comparison-test encounter with the Audi A6 have borne this out, and now we’re taking a look at two more variants to see if the experience is consistent across the range.

The comparo car was a plain rear-drive GS350, so we’ve tested an all-wheel-drive model as well as a rear-driver equipped with the F Sport package here. (The decidedly less sporty GS450h hybrid returns for 2013 later this spring; the V-8–powered GS460 is gone from the lineup.)

All GS350s feature the same 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque (up by 3 ponies and 3 lb-ft from 2011) and a drive mode selector that alters throttle and transmission characteristics via eco, normal, and sport settings. Both of these test vehicles included the optional Lexus Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, which adds a sport-plus mode to the dial; adding to sport, it selects a more aggressive setup for the adaptive suspension, adjusts the steering system, and changes stability-control thresholds. With beefier anti-roll bars, firmer springs, an adaptive damping system, revised bushings, and staggered-width summer tires, the F Sport was equipped with optional rear-wheel steering that can add up to two degrees of input to the rear wheels.

Nearly as Quick as a GS460, a BMW 535i, an Infiniti M37

The 3977-pound all-wheel-drive GS350 hustled to 60 mph in a respectable 5.6 seconds; the 133-pound-lighter, rear-drive GS350 F Sport shaved a 10th from that figure. The F Sport reached the quarter-mile mark in 14.1 seconds at 102 mph, besting the all-wheel-driver by 0.2 second and 3 mph. Significantly, performance of both models is close to that of the last GS460 we tested, which had an additional 36 hp and 62 lb-ft torque at its disposal. Such swiftness puts the new GS350 in the same league as the Infiniti M37 (5.5 to 60) and BMW 535i (5.4). The comparo-winning Audi A6 hit 60 in 5.1 seconds.

It’s little wonder that the V-8 was killed off. The rear-wheel-drive GS350 F Sport offers nearly identical performance and superior fuel economy—19 mpg city and 28 highway versus 17/24 for the 2011 GS460. The all-wheel-drive GS350 manages EPA ratings of 19/26 mpg, both of which are 1 mpg ahead of its 2011 predecessor’s. Our lead feet and preference for running in sport-plus mode resulted in overall mileage of 19 mpg in both vehicles.

What the numbers don’t convey is the V-6’s newfound willingness to play. This is not attributable to the modest output increase but rather to the improved six-speed automatic’s quicker shifts, standard paddle shifters, and pleasant throttle blips during downshifts. Mix in a sharply tuned V-6 soundtrack that prompts more frequent and longer stabs of the throttle, and you’ll find character that no GS—and perhaps no Lexus besides the $380,000 LFA supercar—has exhibited before.

Handling: Synthetic Feel, Real Response

Perhaps the most interesting revelation from our test was the closeness in handling characteristics between these two GS models. Both felt planted on the road at all times, in marked contrast to the eerie hovercraft quality that marks so many Lexus models, and the test vehicles offered respectable grip: The GS350 AWD achieved 0.87 g on the skidpad, and the F Sport held on at 0.89 g. That car’s sticky tires, along with its larger, 14.0-inch front brake rotors (again, available only on F Sports with rear-wheel drive), also paid dividends in the braking department: At a scant 160 feet, the F Sport beats the all-wheel-drive car’s still-impressive 165-foot stop from 70 mph.

Unfortunately, the electric steering systems of both GS350s are among the most synthetic in the class, making it tough to discern their differences in terms of feel. At 2.8 turns lock-to-lock for the standard GS and as little as 2.2 turns with the F Sport’s variable steering-gear ratio, both are relatively quick. Because our only issue with the GS’s steering overall relates to feel and not response, we’d recommend skipping the optional $1700 rear-wheel steering (unavailable on all-wheel-drive cars).

Despite those quibbles, we praise the cars for their high handling limits, impressive brakes, and scintillating powertrain. We also appreciate how the base car and the marginally stiffer F Sport prevent bumps from jarring occupants while not ironing out the road completely—a good thing if you’re a fan of road feel, as we are.

Extreme Comfort, WTF Ergonomics

The two GS cabins proved supremely comfortable, if aesthetically diverse. With perforated leather available in black or red and aluminum trim, the F Sport’s space is more intense and features amazing 16-way-adjustable front chairs with inflatable side bolsters. The warmer environs of the AWD GS350 equipped with the Luxury package bring semi-aniline leather, gorgeous brown striped wood, and 18-way front seats with articulating backrests and inflatable seat-cushion extenders, as well as rear-seat climate controls, adaptive headlamps, a wood-and-leather steering wheel, and manual rear sunshades.

Not so impressive: Corolla-grade plastic masquerading as metal on the steering wheel, doors, and dashboard; remarkably unremarkable fonts and graphics; and the huge black hole housing the optional 12.3-inch infotainment screen. And then there’s the endlessly distracting, pad-on-a-stick-on-a-pedestal Remote Touch interface. At least primary climate-control and sound-system functions retain their own knobs or buttons. And the voice-command system is a good listener.

Much More Likable, No More Expensive

The rear-wheel-drive GS350’s base price does not rise from its 2011 level at $47,775; all-wheel-drive models start at $50,325, an increase of $600 over the previous model. A rear-wheel-drive GS350 equipped like our tester should sticker at $60,180. Major options included the F Sport package ($5690); dynamic rear steering ($1700); navigation with the 12.3-inch display ($1735); Mark Levinson audio ($1380); and the Premium package (rain-sensing wipers, heated-and-ventilated front seats, and a power rear sunshade, $1400).

At $59,945, the all-wheel-drive GS was not much cheaper. Its major options included all the above, except for the F Sport stuff and unavailable rear-wheel steering, and added the pre-collision system and dynamic radar cruise control ($2000); a head-up display ($900); 18-inch wheels ($865); lane keep assist ($500); and the Cold Weather package (a heated steering wheel, headlamp washers, a wiper deicer, and water-repellent front-door glass, $340). Although neither model is inexpensive, the GS can be considered a respectable luxury-car value within its competitive set, particularly compared with the German entries.

Overall, the two GS models we tested felt remarkably close in character. We expect GS buyers to be swayed more by the styling and equipment differences than actual performance, with extroverts going for the wilder-looking F Sport and the subtler GS350 a better match for conservative types. In both cases, there is more for enthusiasts to like in the 2013 GS than ever before. And no one should regret the passing of the V-8.


Courtesy of CarAndDriver

Friday, March 16, 2012

Planning on chasing down the Pot-o-gold at the end of the rainbow this weekend? What are your favorite ways to save money on gas?


Do you love your Lexus? Maybe you know someone who's been eying the new Lexus GS for their own garage. With the Lexus of Orlando referral program you both win!

We’ll help your friend get the Lexus they love and you’ll receive $100. Check out the Lexus of Orlando referral program for details.

If your referral purchases their next vehicle from Lexus of Orlando, we will reward you with $100 in either the form of a check, gift card, or as a credit in our service department.

Thank you to the author of this great review for taking the time to let us know how we're doing! Stop by and experience our World Class Service for yourself! Outstanding work Manny, keep it up!

Lexus of Orlando - (5) Star Review on DealerRater

  • Manny goes over and above anything I would ever expect. He is exceptional. My most recent visit is only one example of his dedication to his customers. I had a major issue with my car and Manny realized that my expended warranty had expired. He did everything possible to help minimize my expense even going to Lexus to try to get me a "good customer discount". I could not believe how much of an advocate he was for me. He didn't have to do it, but he did. I have worked with Manny for the last 3 years. I have always found him to helpful and courteous, but this time he went over and above all of my expectations. I would recommend him to everyone, in fact, when someone I know buys a Lexus, I tell them to make sure they use Manny as their Service Consultant.
    Thank you Manny. You are wonderful. Lexus of Orlando is very lucky to have an individual like you representing them. It makes me want to come back over and over and be loyal to Lexus for all my service needs. -

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New Lexus GS 450h F Sport Video from Europe

Lexus Ranks Highest of Any Luxury Brand in 2012 J.D. Power and Associates CSI Study

Lexus ranked highest in customer satisfaction among luxury brands in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM for the fourth consecutive year. Lexus achieved an overall CSI score of 861 on a 1,000-point scale, 15 points above the segment average and the highest numerical score in the study, regardless of segment.

“Lexus dealers continue to raise the bar in delivering on the promise of industry-leading customer satisfaction,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “We are thrilled that their tireless efforts at exceeding customer expectations resulted in Lexus being the highest ranked brand in CSI for the 15th time, more than any other manufacturer.”*

The 2012 CSI Study is based on responses from owners and lessees of 2007 to 2011 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded from October through December 2011. Lexus ranked highest in the J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service (CSI) Study from 1991-1995, 1997-2001, 2006, and 2009-2012.

*Lexus ranked highest in the J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service (CSI) Study in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992 and 1991 (tie).

Courtesy of ToyotaNewsrooom

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did you know you can schedule your next service appointment right on our website?

Insights From a Lexus Insider: Karl Schlicht Announces Lexus Idea Engine

The following is a message from Karl Schlicht, General Manager of Global Lexus Product & Marketing Planning, who will be addressing Lexus Enthusiast readers directly from time to time.

Dear Lexus Enthusiasts,

As you have seen from the Geneva Motor Show coverage, Lexus has moved to the next stage in our product roll-out with the launch of the newly revised RX350, RX 450h and the all-new RX F Sport versions.

Due to an (unintentional) leak, you had an early look at these new models, and now you have seen the official photos as well — the Spindle Grille update for the RX is very striking and adds new character to the SUV, particularly with the RX F Sport.


We have also been extremely busy with the public launch of the new GS. Sales results and orders were outstanding for February, and first reactions have been very positive in both North America and Japan, where sales started first. For example, in the U.S. the GS achieved 2335 sales, well above our sales plan, and in Japan we had 886 GS sales, making it the country’s best selling luxury sports sedan for the month.

Lastly, the reactions to my recent posts have been so interesting to us here at Lexus that we have decided to create a new section on our global site called the Lexus Idea Engine, which will allow for input directly from you. I can’t guarantee that we can implement every idea, but I can tell you our product team will see and review all the submissions. The Lexus Idea Engine will launch in early April...

I hope you liked what you saw from Geneva, and I will be back to update you on other news shortly —

Karl Schlicht is in charge of the Lexus worldwide product and marketing planning division, which was formed two years ago to help guide the brand globally

Courtesy of LexusEnthusiast