Future Models - Lexus 2018 LS
Geneva show: Lexus embraces Japanese heritage
Rising sun: The Lexus LS features origami-inspired hand-pleated door trims, which emphasise the limo’s country of origin.
LS to stand apart from rivals with hybrid tech, Japanese interior design theme
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16 March 2017
LEXUS says its pioneering hybrid technology and Japanese heritage will give it
an advantage over its traditional rivals in the upper-large premium sedan
segment when the all-new LS arrives next year.
The Japanese luxury car-maker uncovered its LS500h hybrid sedan at last week’s
Geneva motor show, and it is expected to roll into Australian showrooms early
next year at the same time as the combustion-powered LS500 V6.
The LS competes against predominantly European rivals such as BMW’s 7 Series,
the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi’s soon-to-be-replaced A8, Jaguar’s XJ, the
Maserati Quattroporte and Porsche’s Panamera.
Lexus International executive vice-president Yoshihiro Sawa said that hybrid
technology was the company’s strength and added that it was important to
differentiate itself from its rivals.
“We believe we have a stronger powertrain so we are proud of that,” he told
Australian reporters at Geneva. “Of course we have to compete with the
traditional European luxury brands, but we would like to compete in a different
way. Lexus is a young brand. We shouldn’t do the same thing as the traditional
While Mr Sawa believes its hybrid technology will help set Lexus apart, most of
its key rivals now offer either hybrid or plug-in hybrid versions of their
BMW and Benz offer their respective 740e and S500e plug-ins, while Porsche will
soon have the 4 E-Hybrid as well as the 500kW/850Nm Turbo S E-Hybrid plug-in.
Audi is expected to offer an e-tron version of its next-gen A8 as well.
While Mr Sawa would not be drawn on any other powertrains for the LS beyond the
already announced LS500 and 500h, he did reiterate the company’s plans to
develop a hydrogen fuel-cell version as previewed by the LF-FC concept from the
2015 Tokyo motor show.
He also confirmed that the new-gen LS, that is offered only in stretched
long-wheelbase guise, would not be offered in a shorter wheelbase version.
Mr Sawa said while Lexus acknowledged the LS’s European rivals, it did not want
to compete on size and engine power alone.
“We would like to provide technology and sophistication within the luxury
category ... We tried to find our own position. We would like to compete with
previous competitors or successors, but mainly we try to build our own
position. Personally I don’t want to say the target is that (specific) car...”
When asked by GoAuto if Lexus had taken a while to embrace its Japanese
heritage, Mr Sawa said: “Of course, but not in an obvious way.
“Japanese have our own sense of beauty. For example we will do the Milan design
week activities. We will show the Lexus design exhibition. That is based on the
sense of beauty which is Lexus’ design philosophy. We try to harmonise
contradictory elements, then create a brand new value that is very Japanese.”
Mr Sawa said Lexus wanted to include “traditional Japanese craftsmanship” in
the LS’s interior, which is influenced by Japanese design.
Lexus said in a release prior to its reveal that the LS interior was designed
with the principle of Omotenashi, which expresses the “unique sense of Japanese
hospitality”, making for a “whisper quiet” cabin that envelops the occupants
and “treats the driver like a partner”.
Lexus’s Takumi – 10 Japanese craftsmen that work out of the company’s Tahara
plant – contributed to the LS500h’s cabin with new trims, materials and
detailing that includes origami-inspired hand-pleated door trims and
hand-crafted designs created by Kiriko artisan glass-workers for the inner door
The LS took out the EyesOn Design Award for excellence in interior design at
the Detroit motor show in January.
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