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Lexus warms up for a hot Tokyo reveal

Wouldn't it be nice: The Lexus LF-LC concept is widely regarded as a production certainty as a sports coupe, with a possible debut at this year's Tokyo motor show in November.

Tokyo show expected to provide launch pad for new two-door sports Lexus


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9 Oct 2013

GET set for another two-door Lexus stunner when the doors open at the 43rd Tokyo motor show next month.

Lexus is tight-lipped on the exact nature of its big expose, but you can expect it to be edgy, fast and – probably – hybrid, with Toyota president Akio Toyoda's fingerprints all over it.

The most likely contender is a production version LF-LC super coupe that graced the Detroit and Australian International Motor Shows in Sydney last year.

The car is said to be already under development, in readiness to take on European coupes such as the Audi A5 and BMW M4, among others.

Whatever the Tokyo surprise, Lexus Australia cannot wait to get its hands on the new offering to inject some further excitement into the brand.

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley told GoAuto at this week's Lexus ES unveiling in Sydney that the production version of the LF-LC would be “a brand changer” for Lexus worldwide.

He said that just as the limited-run LF-A supercar had taken the Lexus image to a new level and generated huge attention on the brand, a coupe based on the LF-LC would be an image leader to excite customers and dealers alike, this time on a long-term basis.

“We will put our hand up for it – we already have put our hand up for it,” he said.

Mr Hanley's predecessor at the helm of Lexus Australia, Tony Cramb, conceded last year that the LF-LC would go into production at some point due to international demand, particularly from dealers.

Like most Lexus models coming down the pipeline, the LF-LC is expected to hit the streets as a petrol-electric hybrid sports car.

Pundits also expect an IS convertible to emerge soon, joining the all-new IS sedan that lobbed in Australian showrooms in July.

A coupe version close in design to the stunning LF-CC concept that starred at last year's Paris motor show is also likely, potentially with a fire-breathing 'F' powertrain to take on the likes of BMW's M4 and Audi's RS5.

Mr Hanley said Lexus had embarked on a strategy that would build excitement into the brand, which until now had been regarded as “safe”.

“We need to take that brand image from safe to exciting, without alienating our loyal customer base,” he said.

Mr Hanley said this reinvigoration of the Lexus brand was being steered by Mr Toyoda, who had taken personal control of the luxury arm of the Japanese giant, making it a stand-alone division with a stripped-back bureaucracy.

He said Mr Toyoda had made it his mission to take Lexus to a new level, with models such as the LF-A, GS and IS, among others.

Mr Hanley would not be drawn on the nature of the Tokyo show reveal, but commented: “We will have something exciting, that's for certain.” The Tokyo motor show opens to the public on November 23, but the new Lexus model will be unveiled before that, in the media days leading up to the biggest automotive event on the Japanese calendar.

Among other Lexus cars coming down the pipeline are a compact luxury SUV based on the LF-NX shown at the recent Frankfurt motor show and probably built on the RAV4 platform. The production version is likely to be revealed at one of the major international shows in the first half of 2014, possibly Geneva in March or New York in April.

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