Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Kind words from one of our wonderful and talented customers!

Mrs. Margolis writes a travel blog called "Pearls of Travel Wisdom." A few weeks ago she wrote a piece on our Service Facilities! Head on over to the blog and give it a read. While you're there, check out the rest of her excellent writing! Thank you very much, Mrs. Margolis!!!

Click here to visit Pearls of Travel Wisdom!

A big thank you to the author of this wonderful review! Great work, team!

(5) Star Review on DealerRater

  • "We have always received outstanding customer service and I know that our car is well taken care of." -mickrickc

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

LexusTV Spotlight

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Hello LexusTV Audience,


In partnership with the world renowned Weinstein Company, we premiered two out of five Lexus Short Films this past week. As our brand continues to evolve into more than 80 countries, this is an opportunity to transcend language and speak to a global audience. Ranging three to seven minutes in length, each director was challenged to interpret the over-arching idea that "Life is Amazing."


There were many stars on the red carpet at the premiere, but the LFA was the star on Top Gear, one of the most influential automotive TV shows. Its host Jeremy Clarkson declared our supercar "The best car I've ever driven." Check your local BBC America listing to check out this episode. Also, look out for the redesigned LFA page on in March.


There's about a month left to go in the 2013 Crown Jewel Recognition Program. There are many ways to earn bonus points; be sure to encourage your team to exceed the program requirement.


Lexus is once again the automotive marketing partner for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. This year, we created an ad that stands out as much as the IS itself. Get your QR code app ready and check out "Blends Out," or watch this episode to witness the interactive experience.


Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Thank you for watching. We'll see you on the next episode of Spotlight on March 11th!

Courtesy of LexusTV

Very big thank you's to Steve and Jabar for these outstanding reviews! Keep up the excellent work, team!

Two (5) Star Reviews on DealerRater

  • "Always a pleasure to go to the Lexus of Orlando dealership for service." -Jabar F.
  • "Again, great experience and highly recommended." -Steve E.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Lexus and The Weinstein Company are in the midst of producing five short films as part of a series titled “Life is Amazing.”  In what is an unprecedented collaboration between Lexus and The Weinstein Company, the film series “Life is Amazing” gathers filmmakers from the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific, China and Japan who have beenselected jointly by Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Company COO David Glasser, in partnership with Lexus. The filmmakers have beenchosen based on their previous work and have been asked to create a new short film, three to six minutes in length which captures the essence of the theme “Life is Amazing.” 

Leading up to what is Hollywood’s awards, The Academy Awards®, Lexus and The Weinstein Company held a special preview party gathering budding filmmakers and the Hollywood community to celebrate the premiere of two of the Lexus Short Films.

Screening at the event as part of the series was U.S. director Justin Tipping’s Swimming in Air and Spanish director Cristina Molino’s Beyond Memories. The event was held at the Directors’ Guild of America in Los Angeles on February 21, 2013.

“The Lexus Short Films are amazing stories, beautifully told by up-and-coming directors from across the world,” said Mark Templin, the general manger of Lexus International. “Together with The Weinstein Company, we celebrate the creativity, imagination and passion of these filmmakers. We’re proud to be bringing these stories to life as part of this new and dynamic chapter of our brand.”

“One of the most rewarding things about this industry is having the opportunity to discover new talent,” said Harvey Weinstein. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Lexus on this new venture which is shining a spotlight on rising filmmakers and giving them a platform to share their stories with the world.”

Through these films, Lexus has demonstrated the powerful ability to be moved by innovative, dynamic story-telling that challenges the imagination and reinforces that life is an amazing experience. All five films will premiere later this year.

Courtesy of Lexus USA Newsroom

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Toyota Tundra and Tacoma Pickup Trucks Win U.S. News & World Report's '2013 Best Cars for the Money' Awards

Toyota swept the pickup truck segments in the annual U.S. News & World Report “2013 Best Cars for the Money” awards.  The Tacoma won “Best Compact Truck for the Money” for the second-consecutive year while the Tundra took top honors as the “Best Full Size Truck for the Money.” The awards recognize the top vehicles in their respective segments for their “outstanding value and critical acclaim.”

“Sweeping the pickup truck segment as ‘Best Cars for the Money’ from U.S. News & World Report is a great honor and reflects Toyota’s commitment to quality, durability and reliability, all key ingredients for great value,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “These awards are a tribute to our truck engineering and design teams in Michigan, California, and Japan, and every team member at our Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas plant in San Antonio, where all Tundra’s and most Tacoma’s are assembled.”

According to U.S. News & World Report, the “Best Cars for the Money” awards are based on a methodology that combines quality and value over 21 categories, with the highest composite scores winning each vehicle segment.  Quality is measured through U.S. News car rankings, which compare vehicles on the basis of safety, reliability and a consensus of industry expert’s opinion.  Value is measured by a combination of a vehicle’s five-year total cost of ownership and the average price paid for the vehicle.

Courtesy of Toyota USA Newsroom

Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h Win U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Cars for the Money Award

Lexus earned top honors in two categories of U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Cars for the Money awards for its outstanding value.  The RX 350 luxury utility vehicle received the Best Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUV for the Money while the RX 450h hybrid luxury utility vehicle won the Best Hybrid SUV for the Money.  This is the fifth year in a row that the RX 350 has won this award, while the RX 450h has received the top honor in its category for the past two years.

“We are very proud that the RX 350 and RX 450h won their segments in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 Best Car for the Money awards”, said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager.  “The RX created the luxury crossover category in 1998 and these awards show how Lexus continues to deliver industry leading quality at a great value to our customers.”

The Best Cars for the Money methodology combines quality and value data into a composite score.  Within each of 21 categories, the vehicle with the highest score is named the Best Car for the Money in that category.  Quality is measured by the overall score a vehicle achieved in the U.S. News car rankings at the time the awards are published.  The rankings compare cars on the basis of safety, reliability and a consensus of industry experts’ opinions.  Value is measured by a combination of a vehicle’s five-year total cost of ownership and the average price paid for the vehicle at the time the awards are published.

Courtesy of Lexus USA Newsroom

Our sincerest thanks to Terri S. for this wonderful review! Excellent work, C.J.!

"Excellent" Review on Google+ Local

  • "C.J. Kinch ROCKS!" -Terri S.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ROWEN Lexus LS by TommyKaira

Renowned Japanese tuner Tommy Kaira has recently released a new luxury line kit for the restyled 2013+ LS F SPORT. Entitled "ROWEN" by Tommy Kaira, this premium aero kit for the new LS was unveiled last month at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan.

Courtesy of Club Lexus

Check out this matte black TRD Lexus LFA, which made an appearance at the grand opening of the new Sungai Besi dealership in Malaysia!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lexus again tops J.D. Power dependability study

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Lexus remains the most dependable vehicle brand after three years of ownership but the Detroit 3 continue to close the gap with foreign rivals, J.D. Power and Associates says.

Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz top Power's 2013 Vehicle Dependability Study. Each of those brands also placed among the top seven in the market research firm's 2012 survey of problems reported after three years of ownership.

Land Rover, Dodge, Mitsubishi, Jeep and Volkswagen finished at the bottom of the latest report.

Across the industry, owners of three-year-old 2010 cars and light trucks reported 126 problems per 100 vehicles, an all-time low and a 5 percent improvement from 132 problems per 100 on 2009 models a year ago.

"Manufacturers keep improving product quality," said David Sargent, Power's vice president of global automotive.

Domestic nameplates improved at a slightly higher rate than imports, and narrowed the dependability gap to 10 problems per 100 vehicles surveyed, Power said.

And for the first time since Power started tracking it in the 2009 study, all-new and redesigned vehicles had higher quality than carryover vehicles, Sargent said.

Launch vehicles, models that were significantly redesigned or new for 2010, averaged 116 problems per 100, while those carried over unchanged from the previous year scored 133.

"The rapid improvement in fundamental vehicle dependability each year is more than offsetting any initial glitches that all-new or redesigned models may have," Sargent said. "That juggernaut of improvement overcomes [traditional] launch problems.

"More importantly, it means that vehicles being launched today are very likely to be more dependable than three-year-old models are now."

Buick, Honda, Acura, Ram, Suzuki, Mazda and Chevrolet also finished above the industry average – 126 problems per 100 models studied.

Power tallies problems reported in the past 12 months by the original owners of three-year-old vehicles. The 2013 study released today covers 2010 cars and light trucks representing 32 brands. To create whole-number separation among brands, Power reports problems per 100 vehicles, with lower scores indicating greater reliability.

Dependability scores have improved steadily across the industry in the 24 years that Power has conducted the study. The average problems per 100 vehicles was 216 in the 2007 study, showing an improvement of almost a full problem per vehicle in six years.

Ram improves most

Consumers are less tolerant about problems with their cars and light trucks. Dissatisfied owners are less loyal to that brand based on earlier Power studies, which cross-match survey responses with data on vehicle purchases and trade-ins.

Of owners who reported no vehicle problems, 54 percent bought or leased a vehicle from the same brand the next time. For those with three or more problems, brand loyalty fell to 41 percent.

In the new study, 22 brands improved dependability from last year and nine slipped.

Ram posted the biggest one-year improvement, scoring 52 points better to finish with 122 problems per 100, jumping from No. 29 in 2012 to vault into the top 10 tied for ninth this year.

"Chrysler improved the Ram pickup remarkably between the 2009 and 2010 model years," Sargent said. That era also marked the U.S.-led rescue of Chrysler through an alliance with Italy's Fiat S.p.A.

Suzuki, which is exiting the U.S. auto market, Mazda, Chrysler, Infiniti and Kia also showed major gains in the study.

Power said Mitsubishi, Scion, Cadillac and Hyundai reported the biggest increase in problems in the study.

In this year's Power study, Lexus and Porsche had less than one problem per vehicle (under 100 per 100) and Land Rover had more than two (220 per 100).

Lexus rose to No. 1 last year from the fourth spot in 2011. The brand ranked as the industry's most dependable marque for 14 years until 2009, when Buick and Jaguar tied for No. 1. Porsche and Lincoln had taken top honors since then.

But most brands are grouped tightly in the middle, with less than a third of a problem, 29 per 100 per car separating No. 3 (Lincoln and Toyota tied at 112) from No. 22 (Hyundai at 141).

The industry's continuous improvement in long-term reliability is good news for U.S. car buyers, Sargent said.

"Consumers have more assurance than they've ever had," he said. "If you want to either keep your own car more than three years or are in the market for a late-model used car, you're in good shape."

Power said the most dependable 2010 model was the Lexus RX -- with 57 problems per 100 models surveyed. It's the first time an SUV or crossover has topped the list of models studied for long-term reliability.

Courtesy of Automotive News

Toyota Motor Corporation Vehicles Continue to Dominate the 2013 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study

Seven Lexus, Toyota, and Scion models captured segment awards in the 2013 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study, more than any other automaker.

  The study also found:

  • Lexus ranks highest in vehicle dependability for the second consecutive year by improving 15 fewer problems/100;
  • The Lexus RX is the first SUV to lead the industry with the fewest reported problems at just 57 problems/100; and
  • Toyota is the highest ranked non-premium nameplate and tied for third place for the second consecutive year

Additional examples of Toyota’s commitment to the highest standards for quality, safety, reliability and retained value include:

  • Lexus completes a Grand Slam as the highest ranking nameplate in the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, Vehicle Dependability Study, Customer Satisfaction Index, and Sales Satisfaction Index;  
  • A leading consumer publication awards Scion, Toyota, and Lexus the top three brands for reliability and six of the top ten “Best Values” for 2012;
  • Kelley Blue Book recognizes 18 Toyota Motor Corporation vehicles with “Best Resale Awards, more than any other automaker in 2012; and
  • 19 Toyota Motor Corporation vehicles were named 2012 “Top Safety Picks” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than any other automaker, and four 2012 models earned 5 Stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program.

Courtesy of Toyota USA Newsroom

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lexus hybrid boss Shinichi Abe points to what’s next for Lexus alternative energy.

He makes it sound so simple: “engine, battery, motor.” This is Shinichi Abe, in his office in Japan, explaining the basics of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, pronouncing the “t” of motor with a soft “d”—an indicator of the years he spent with Lexus in the U.S.

He’s telling me again, as he did in part one and part two of this series, that the Lexus Hybrid Drive system’s electric motor is really where the fun starts, thanks to the extra boost of instant power it delivers.

What I want to look at now, though, is the future of Lexus hybrid systems, and Lexus’ top hybrid engineer is happy to oblige.

“The simplicity of Lexus’ hybrid engine-battery-motor platform is what makes it so adaptable to the future,” he explains. “It’s easily adaptable, for instance, to fuel cell technology. Then there are bio-fuels. Here, the basic system would stay the same.”

What about a plug-in Lexus hybrid, I ask? This is a hybrid system where a gas-electric hybrid’s electric motor gets charged externally—a home outlet, say—for more electrical juice than regenerative breaking provides (Lexus’ current system) but with more electric staying power. And like a current Lexus hybrid, this type of plug-in hybrid car eventually engages the engine on longer trips.

I also ask Abe whether Lexus is exploring electric-only vehicles, such as plug-in vehicles that rely solely on electric power, with no gas engine.

“Some people say that it would be better to jump straight to electric vehicles,” answers Abe. “But again, it wouldn’t be right for Lexus at this stage, as there are still too many [electric-only] limitations. So plug-ins, with an engine, would be the natural way to go.”

However, Abe points out that Lexus plug-in vehicles will only be made when they’re ready to meet a long list of Lexus driver-desired performance needs, which Abe and his team constantly examine. Not before.

We also explore Lexus’ role in Vehicle to Grid technology, an automotive idea getting much attention recently. V2G, as it’s also known, establishes a two-way connection between a vehicle and a local power grid. In this scenario, a Lexus owner would either plug in and charge up the vehicle, or plug in and sell the car’s surplus power back to the grid.

Could we be looking at the start of a beautiful relationship?

Abe says he’s looked at—and likes—the V2G possibilities, but he also tells me that even the newest automotive batteries deteriorate quickly during the V2G process. In his view, a dedicated home battery that bridges the vehicle and grid would be a better near-term solution.

As we wrap up, it’s obvious to me that Abe and his team—perhaps because they were some of the first to explore the possibilities—have a deep understanding of automotive energy’s technological landscape. Which is why, no doubt, they’ll probably be the first to make the next jump to something even better.

Courtesy of Lexus Magazine

Friday, February 8, 2013

Meet the first woman to summit and ski Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks—all 54 of them.

Icy precipices. Steep crags. Sketchy rappelling. Moments of fear. Even more moments of exhilaration. These are the realities and considerations of ski mountaineers like Colorado’s Christy Mahon.

A self-described “normal person,” Mahon is the ultimate achiever—she’s the first woman to summit, and then ski, all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. That’s more than fifty of North America’s highest mountains, most of them in remote locales. It’s an internationally respected feat that took more than six years to complete.

Mahon isn’t a professional athlete, though. The thirty-something works full time as a Development Director at an Aspen-based environmental organization, surrounded by peers who could understand why for several years she was always a little tired on Monday mornings.

Each time Mahon planned another weekend summit, it meant driving for hours on a Friday night, waking up at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and putting in a 12-hour climbing and skiing day before driving back home in time for Monday morning professional commitments.

Her motivation? Not glory or recognition (after completing the final “14er” in 2010 she didn’t announce her feat right away). Instead, she’ll tell you it was all part of something bigger: a balanced, well-lived life.

“Climbing any mountain is ultimate physical, mental, and spiritual journey,” Mahon says, who’s gone on to summit and ski Colorado’s 100 highest peaks.

“For me, it’s about training and putting in the time, like waking up in the dark and walking up my local Aspen Mountain on skis twice a week before work," she explains. “So much of it is about escaping from everything and being in the moment in the mountains.”

But, as anyone pursuing big things can attest to, there are times when training and preparation just aren’t enough—it’s the unexpected challenges that test just how capable you really are.

During her 14,000-foot-peaks journey, Mahon’s surprise obstacles included shoveling a summit’s deep snow to make it skiable, as well as watching her unfastened crampons slide down a slope without her (she climbed on without them).

And then there was the time, in June, 2008, Mahon and her climbing partner—her husband Ted Mahon—were skiing down the steep, southeast face of South Maroon Peak.

“The snow began to warm up and fall down the slopes,” she recalls. “I was hit in the head with one of these ’cinnabun’ balls. If I had not been wearing a helmet, I could have been knocked out, given a concussion, or worse. I still had a ways to go, so I had to regroup, take a few deep breaths, and regain my confidence,” she said.

The exhilaration of realizing all 14ers has led Mahon to speak publicly about her experiences. Particularly inspiring for Mahon is Girl PowHER, a group of 13 to 16-year-old girls from underprivileged families in Colorado. “This is really who I want to reach,” she says. For these girls, hearing about how Mahon juggles work with her passion helps to instill confidence, and build self-esteem, and tackle seemingly impossible feats.

“I tell them to just always get up and out there, even if you don’t feel like it,” she says. “You’ll be thankful you did.”

Courtesy of Lexus Magazine

Looking for a great place to get all your Lexus news? Well the Lexus Magazine is now available in digital format!

The Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Lexus Magazine holds a wealth of excellent information and articles pertaining to Lexus! 


Click here to check it out and sign up!

Lexus to Host Artist’s Exhibition at Milan Design Week 2013

Lexus will stage a design exhibition in partnership with a world-renowned artist at Milan Design Week in April 2013*, where winning designs from the first Lexus Design Award launched last year will also be on display.
Akihisa Hirata, an up-and-coming architect, will create a space based on the concept of “-amazing flow-.” The space will present a multi-sensory experience of “flow” through which visitors can see the connection that brings together roads, humans, wind and water as a single entity. The exhibition aims to deliver an amazing experience that will challenge visitors to imagine how the cities of the future will look. Toyo Ito, an architect who has been serving as the judge of the first Lexus Design Award will be supervising this “-amazing flow-” project. The exhibition will take place at central Milan’s Museo della Permanente art museum from April 10 - 14, 2013.
The 10 winning designs from the first Lexus Design Award, which will be on display during Milan Design Week, will be announced on Feb 28, 2013.
Details of the Lexus Design Award and the Lexus exhibition at Milan Design Week 2013 can be followed on the Lexus Global website (
Lexus continues to demonstrate its support of up-and-coming amazing artists that has been evident through the launch of the Lexus Design Award, Lexus Short Films and now the “-amazing flow-” exhibition at Milan.
*Milano Design Week is the world’s largest design exhibition. Furniture makers and fashion brands stage a variety of related events throughout Milan during the week to highlight the appeal and originality of their designs. The show is also known as Milano Salone.
Event Overview
Name:                  – amazing flow –
Date:                   April 10th (Wed.) – April 14th (Sun).
                            A press preview will be held on April 9 (Tues.)
Venue:                 Museo della Permanente, Milan
Supervisior:         Toyo Ito
Space Designer:  Akihisa Hirata
Organizer:           Lexus International
Artist Profiles
Supervisor: Toyo Ito
Born in 1941. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture in 1965, Ito worked for the Metabolist architect Kiyonori Kikutake until 1969. In 1971 he opened his own office, Urban Robot, which was renamed to Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects in 1979. He has been a commissioner of the Kumamoto Artpolis since 2005.
Main works: Sendai Mediatheque, TOD’S Omotesando Building, Tama Art University Library (Hachioji campus), The Main Stadium for the World Games 2009 in Kaohsiung (Taiwan R.O.C.), Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari, etc. Under development; Taichung Metropolitan Opera House (Taiwan R.O.C.), Extension for “The Fair of Barcelona Gran Via Venue” (Spain), Multimedia Complex on the site of Gifu University’s School of Medicine (tentative) etc.

Awards and Prizes: Architectural Institute of Japan Prize (1986 and 2003), Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale (for Lifetime Achievement in 2002 and for Japan Pavilion which he was a commissioner in 2012), Royal Gold Medal from The Royal Institute of British Architects (2006), The 22nd Praemium Imperiale in Honor of Prince Takamatsu (2010), etc.
Space Designer: Akihisa Hirata
Born 1971 in Osaka. Graduated 1997, Master of Engineering, University of Kyoto. Worked for Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects, then established Akihisa Hirata Architecture Office in 2005. Awards include the Japan Institute of Architects’ New Face Award in 2008 for his design of the Masuya Honten building, the ELLE DECO Young Japanese Design Talent award in 2009 for his “animated knot” installation, and the Elita Award in 2012 for his installation “Photosynthesis”. In 2012, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the 13th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition as a member of the team who designed the exhibit at the Japan Pavilion.

In addition, his proposal for the Post-disaster Restoration Housing and Kindergarten Competition in Kamaishi earned several awards, including the grand prize. His first overseas solo exhibition “Tangling” was held at the Architecture Foundation in London in Autumn 2012. Hirata sees architecture as a complex, interwoven tangle that establishes balance and order between architecture and ecology as it walks hand in hand with nature and life, and coexists with its surrounding environment.

As such, Hirata advocates architecture that stimulates and interacts with the human senses in a positive, natural manner. He is internationally active as an emerging architect who is spearheading a new generation of design in Japan. Publications include INAX Contemporary Architect Concept Series 8: Akihisa Hirata – Tangling (2011).

Courtesy of Lexus USA Newsroom

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spectrum of Choice: How Lexus chooses car colors.

For Lexus, the role of color is as broad as the color spectrum itself.

On the simplest level, it determines the character of a car: an LFA can be bright orange, but an LS cannot. On a more complex level, Lexus colors have to excel beyond the average mass-market vehicle—in other words they need to be worthy of a premium brand. And above all else, Lexus colors must appeal to a type of driver who’s pretty discerning.

Understandably, therefore, Lexus has an entire department dedicated to nailing all of the above, whether it’s a color-option update for an existing model, a full color line for a completely new model, or a one-time choice for a concept.

“In simple terms, our main challenge is to use color to bring out and maximize a car’s character,” explains Yoichiro Kitamura (left), who heads up the Lexus Color Design Department. “That takes us right into the psychology of color, and how we can use depth and clarity to accentuate the shape and size of the vehicle.”

Creating a Lexus color is more involved than holding a swatch up to the light and taking a vote. The color-development process takes between two and three years, and is a collaboration between Japan, the U.S., and Europe. Throughout the process, input comes from Lexus engineers, salespeople, and customers.

When choosing a new car’s color line, the first point his department considers, says Kitamura, is car type and character: sedan or SUV, sports or luxury. Not surprisingly, Kitamura’s team also works closely with the Lexus Material Engineering Department to find premium traditional “Japanese” colors and textures that work with the advanced technologies that go into Lexus body paints.

Kitamura notes that the years-long process for new colors and textures includes testing them on materials long before their launch on the model. “There are always technical difficulties in accurately translating the colors that I have in my mind,” says Kitamura. “You get discrepancies with monitors, inks, and any color samples. Ultimately we always use natural sunlight to verify colors.”

“Sometimes I think there can be too much choice for Lexus vehicles,” Kitamura says with a chuckle. “We have about 30 main choices of Lexus body colors, not to mention the limitless LFA options. However, shades of black and silver are very popular Lexus choices, so we put much effort into enriching and differentiating these particular colors with unique textures and depths.”

So do any of the Lexus color specialists have their own favorites?

One tells us that Black Opal Mica was “love at first sight,” but another likes the combination of Flare Yellow Mica Metallic on the CT 200h. Yet another maintains that the depth and vividness of the IS’s Red Mica Crystal Shine is unmatchable.

Another color specialist, a materials engineer, chimes in with his own favorite: Sonic Silver. “This one was designed to look like pure metal,” he says. “It presented us with many unique challenges during development—and we Lexus engineers and color specialists always like a challenge.”

Courtesy of Lexus Magazine

A few quick questions for Chief Engineer Junichi Furuyama—the mastermind behind the redesigned Lexus IS sport sedan.

01/31/2013—A few weeks ago, Lexus revealed the 2014 Lexus IS at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and IS Chief Engineer Junichi Furuyama was there to see the launch of his latest creation—as well as tell Lexus Enthusiast editor Kevin Watts about his next-generation Lexus sports sedan:

Watts: First of all, how did the LFA influence the development of the IS?

Furuyama: While the LFA was being developed, we spent long hours test-driving on German and Japanese speed circuits. From there, we were able to collect information and gain insight on what it takes to make a car safe and fun to drive, the kind of things we wanted to do with the IS. With all that experience, we have lots of valuable new findings and understanding, and that information was very helpful in terms of developing the new IS.

What were the key improvements you wanted to make with the 2014 IS?

We set out to provide dynamic performance while increasing rear comfort and space. To showcase dynamic performance, we tried to increase the agility and make sure the car has a quick and accurate response to driver input. In order to achieve this, we had to increase the body rigidity. We used new laser welding technology and extensive use of adhesives in the manufacturing process to increase overall stability when the car is in motion.

Can you tell us about some key differences between the 2014 IS and the 2014 IS F SPORT?

In terms of the exterior, the grille, front bumper, and wheel design are all different. Inside the IS F SPORT, there are sport-styled seats and an exclusive trim. The big difference, though, is the instrument panel. For the speedometer, we utilized the moving dial design that comes from the LFA.

As for performance, the engine and transmission are the same in the standard IS and IS F SPORT editions. For the IS 350 F SPORT, we did additional sports tuning to the suspension, adding SPORT S+ mode as a fourth setting to the Drive Mode Select. When you turn the dial to SPORT S+ mode, the adaptive variable suspension can give the feel of a sports car.

Final question: Was it a challenge to balance the luxury experience with the stronger performance?

At the first stage of development, we focused exclusively on creating a fun-to-drive car. For that purpose, we almost decided to forget about everything else. Once we were able to achieve greater body rigidity, we achieved some wiggle-room to find the balance between luxury and performance.

Courtesy of Lexus Magazine

2013 Chicago Auto Show Toyota Tundra Reveal - Bill Fay

MY14 Tundra Reveal
2013 Chicago Auto Show
Grand Ballroom – McCormick Place
Thurs., Feb. 7, 2013 @ 9 a.m. EST
Bill Fay – Toyota Division Group VP & GM, TMS, U.S.A
Good morning everyone and thanks for helping us kick off the 2013 Chicago Auto Show.
Chicago is Toyota's “Truck Show”…as we have a long history of major reveals here, many in this ballroom, such as the first-generation Tundra Crew Cab along with our NASCAR Tundra race truck, which will be going for its 100th victory at Daytona next week.
So, it’s only natural that this is where we’d debut the new 2014 Tundra -- the third new Toyota introduced in the last 10 months.
The gentleman behind the podium at the 2003 Chicago Auto Show is Dave Illingworth, who was a Senior Executive at the company and headed the Motor Sports among many other things.  Dave is now our Toyota Dealer in Warsaw, Indiana and is here with us today.  So join me in welcoming Dave back to the Show.
Toyota understands that American truck buyers have different needs, so we offer a choice of a compact
or full-size truck even while most of our competitors have abandoned the compact market.
Tundra and Tacoma sold nearly a quarter million trucks in 2012 -- claiming 18 percent of the combined
retail compact and half-ton pick-up truck market, which is about the same as our retail passenger-car share.  And all of them are built in North America.
In addition, no full-size truck has more North American parts content than Tundra.
We're optimistic about the future of the full-size pick-up truck market.  The recession hit the segment hard probably harder than any other and there were only 1.1 million sold in 2009.
But in 2012 with the economy growing in many areas, the segment exceeded 1.6 million units and we see it hitting 1.8 million by 2015.
The full-size truck segment has typically been one of the most loyal in the industry with owners continually replacing their old trucks with new ones and in today's market some are taking the opportunity to change. brands.
We’ve also seen more segment switching as people move from SUVs and cars to the unique capabilities increasing comfort of full-size pickups. With increased personal use, the mix of half-ton Crew Cabs has grown from 48 percent to almost 60 percent over the last five years.
There is also a growing trend towards more premium grades with additional features and distinctive. styling.
So we listened to what the market and customers were telling us when we redesigned the Tundra.
In addition to maintaining the capability, reliability and safety that truck buyer’s demand, the 2014 Tundra also features

    unique exterior designs with a distinct look for each grade
    An all-new spacious interior with each grade having its own identity
    And new technological innovations that customers appreciate everyday


Ladies and gentlemen -- the redesigned 2014 Tundra.

Designed, engineered and built in the U.S., the new Tundra has a powerful front image and chiseled overall appearance.
Kevin Hunter and his Calty Design team in California and Michigan gave it an aggressive look to match its capability.

The new exterior design features a muscular front view that signifies its “pulling power” through a wider, taller grille ... with forceful headlamps that interlock with the rest of the front fascia.
The hood was raised by 1.6 inches contributing to the bolder appearance.
The new bed design helps carry the sculpted character lines all the way down the side leading to a new gate ...with an integrated spoiler and “TUNDRA” embossed directly into the sheet metal creating a rugged high-tech look.
A new unique bumper goes from one to three pieces allowing for grade differentiation and lower customer replacement costs.
Chief Engineer Mike Sweers grew up in a Michigan farming community and has a small, active farm.  day.
It's a place where full-size pickups are a way of life.  I guess you could say pickups are in his blood.
On top of that, he was previously a vice president of interiors at TTC Ann Arbor, which made him the natural choice to lead development of the new Tundra.
He and his team really sweated the small stuff when it came to crafting an all-new best-in-segment. interior.
They made the cab more driver-centric moving the center stack 2.6 inches closer for easier access.
And a new gauge, cluster with distinctive styling, is easier to view.
And Mike knows a thing or two about towing, so he added a trailer-brake controller to the towing package and moved the 4 and 7 pin trailer connectors from below the rear bumper up next to the license plate.  This makes them not only easier to use but also reduces the potential for damage.
To satisfy the growing number of premium, full-size truck buyers, the redesigned Tundra will offer five distinct grades each with a “unique flavor” that is immediately recognizable -- including a different front grille for each rather than just an equipment build up from grade to grade.
The SR grade is our entry-level Tundra designed primarily for the work-use buyer who will value its excellent utility on the job.
Although work-focused. the SR includes convenience features like Display Audio with integrated Backup Camera and Bluetooth as standard features.
The SR5 will continue to be our volume model with a great mix of style and capability.
It's differentiated from the SR with

    chrome grille surround,
    fog lights,
    satellite radio,
    and optional 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Limited, like the model behind me, will have a character that is active and premium with

    a unique grille insert,
    chrome accents,
    and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inside heated leather bucket seats with power driver controls, wood grain trim and Display Audio with navigation and Entune add to the Limited’s well-appointed character.
This particular Limited also features the TRD Off-Road Package with

    unique 18-inch wheels,
    dedicated off-road tires,
    and performance springs and shocks.

With the half-ton truck segment growing significantly at the top end, we’ll offer two premium grades
to satisfy varied tastes and desires.
The Platinum grade will have an urban contemporary edge appealing to a new generation of truck buyers with perforated black premium leather seats and double stitching on the seats, doors and instrument panel inserts - along with chrome trim and brushed metallic accents.
We have an amazing black Platinum Edition upstairs in the Toyota display for you to see up close today.
The 1794 Edition over here on your right is a true heartland pick-up...

with its heritage inspired by the ranch founded in 1794 where the Tundra plant is now located
in San Antonio.
It reflects a western lifestyle with saddle-brown premium leather seating and ultrasuede accents
with bold contrast stitching and an exclusive logo. Both premium models include LED daytime running lights.
Tundra also features a number of segment firsts including a new Blind Spot Monitor
with Rear Cross Traffic Alert on premium models.
It will continue to have the largest front brakes in the class and the segment’s only standard knee airbags ...
In addition to a class-leading eight standard airbags, Tundra -- like all Toyotas -- will feature our exclusive STAR Safety System with Vehicle Stability Control and Smart Stop Technology among others.
Toyota’s DNA of QDR has made Tundra the leader in full-size pickup quality.  The industry has honored Tundra with numerous awards over the past 12 years including JD Power's recognition as the most pendable full-size pickup seven years in a row.
We will continue to offer three engine options where our customers have consistently given us postitive feedback on the efficiency, power and durability of Tundra's powertrains -- which remain the most capable in the half-ton segment towing all sorts of boats and trailers as well as some other interesting craft.
With Tundra, “what you see is what you get.”  Tundra meets customers’ expectations from towing to “real world” fuel economy.
According to a leading consumer publication, our 5.7-liter V8 gets the same combined fuel economy in daily driving as some competitors’ smaller-displacement V8 and Turbo V6 engines.
Tundra’s 5.7-liter V8 carries more than 2,000 pounds and tows over 10,000 pounds. Tundra has been compliant with SAE's new towing standard since 2011 and it’s still the only full-size truck in the industry to date that has adopted this new standard.
Tundra continues to deliver on what full-size truck customers need and now gives them more of what they want as well.
From its inception back in 1999, the Tundra was designed and built for American truck buyers and all Tundra’s are built at our San Antonio plant.
The redesigned Tundra is a continuation of Toyota’s initiative to locally develop more engaging vehicles specifically for the North America market, which began with the all-new Avalon.
Two men whose teams helped make the new Tundra happen are here today.
Please welcome from TTC Ann Arbor Tundra Chief Engineer Mike Sweers.
And from Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, California, and Ann Arbor Calty President Kevin Hunter.
These guys are the heart and soul of the new Tundra and I can't thank them enough for this fantastic new truck.
While we won’t have pricing until closer to the September launch, I think Tundra will offer the best overall package in the half-ton segment.
Tundra’s dynamic new styling with its long-standing capability, five distinctive grades, unique premium interior features, and Toyota safety reiterates our commitment to our customers and the North American market.
And it’s another example of Toyota inviting people to “Let’s Go Places”… together.
Thank you for spending the morning with us.
I invite you to take a look at these amazing new trucks, but let the photographers come up first to get some additional images of the Limited and 1794 Edition... and don’t forget to go by the Toyota display area to see the outstanding Platinum Edition.
And if you swing by the Scion display, I might see you there. I’m looking forward to checking out the new, modified FR-S, which will be the new race car for the Pro/Celebrity Race at the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach this April.
Thanks again and enjoy the rest of the show.


Courtesy of Toyota USA Newsroom

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Toyota Racing Team Visits Georgetown Plant: Are you excited for the Daytona 500 on the 24th of this month?!

Celebrated NASCAR drivers and Kentuckians Darrell and Michael Waltrip visited the Bluegrass today for a rare, preseason appearance at Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., plant. Joining the Owensboro natives was a well-known group of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series drivers, along with several Toyota NASCAR team owners.
Camry drivers visiting the Georgetown plant included two Sprint Cup Series champions- Matt Kenseth (2003) and Bobby Labonte (2000). Other Camry drivers on hand were Clint Boyer, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Brian Vickers, as well as Toyota team owners Joe Gibbs and Jodi Geschickter.
The Toyota drivers and team owners met officials from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK), including plant president Wil James.
“At TMMK, we’re proud to manufacture the most American-made car- the Camry- and we’re honored to see Camry compete in NASCAR, a long-standing American tradition,” said James. “We’re equally proud of the team that will represent Toyota this racing season.”
Additionally, drivers and team owners toured TMMK’s facility, where production Camrys are manufactured. The Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car for 11 straight years, has been assembled in Georgetown since 1988. In 2007, Toyota began competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series with the Camry. The Toyota Racing group concluded their TMMK visit by participating in a special Q & A session for the plant’s team members, with three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip emceeing the event.
The veteran driver, now retired, holds the fourth most wins in NASCAR history and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012. His younger brother, Michael, the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, is the part-time driver of the No. 55 Toyota Camry and a two-time Daytona 500 champion (2001, 2003).
“I’m proud to be a Toyota team owner and to be driving a Camry in this year’s Daytona 500, but I'm more proud that the Camry is built in my home state of Kentucky,” said Michael Waltrip.
Team members attending the event were also able to get an up-close look at the new 2013 Camry for NASCAR competition, which was on display. The 2013 Camry that will compete in the Sprint Cup series has been redesigned and now more closely resembles the production Camry.
The NASCAR racing season will kick off later this month with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24.

Courtesy of Toyota USA Newsroom

Wallpaper Wednesday: Choices, choices, choices... Which one would you take for a spin?!


Wallpaper Wednesday: Can we get some love for this supercharged 2013 GS 350 F SPORT fitted with a WALD body kit?


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lexus Takes Top Honors in Kelley Blue Book’s 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Award for Luxury Brand!

Lexus earned top honors in the Luxury Brand category of Kelley Blue Book’s 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.  Key models contributing to Lexus’ strong performance include the CT 200h, ES and IS models.  In addition to capturing the luxury brand award, the 2013 GS 350 sport sedan took top honors in the Luxury Car category.
“We are very proud to have won Kelley Blue Book’s prestigious 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Luxury Brand category,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “At Lexus, we pride ourselves on providing great value for our customers throughout their ownership experience while delivering industry-leading customer service.  This award reflects our focus and commitment to elevating the luxury experience.”
Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Awards are based on information developed using Kelley Blue Book®Residual Values to calculate depreciation costs.  Kelley Blue Book calculates total ownership costs for new vehicles by applying sophisticated valuation methodology along with critical financial data from third-party providers.  The awards exist to help shoppers make more informed new-car buying decisions by breaking down typical ownership cost details and naming the brands and models with the lowest projected five-year total.

Courtesy of Lexus USA Newsroom