Lexus Greens Up with LF-S
Even Lexus gets into the green scene with the LF-S, short for Lexus Future Sedan. Don’t be surprised to see this make it into production sometime soon, sources reveal. The sporty four-door features a V-8 gasoline engine mated to a high-output hybrid designed to enhance performance, as well as mileage. The LF-S also boasts coupe-like styling, an indication of the direction Toyota hopes to take its up-market brand. Since its debut in 1989, Lexus has been available only in a limited number of markets, with an emphasis on the U.S. In Japan, its products are sold through an assortment of other Toyota divisions — one reason there has not been a consistent Lexus “look.” That should change, as LF-S suggests. The marque now has its own board of directors, design studios, and research labs, and it is about to debut in Japan.
2003 Lexus LF-X conceptEnlarge Photo
Green Machines Old News in Tokyo
Environmentally friendly technology dominated the last two auto shows in smoggy Tokyo — not surprising considering the number of cars on its roadways and the time they spend stuck in daily traffic. Green technology was still a hot topic this year, as Toyota’s presentation demonstrated. But it didn’t dominate as it has before. If anything, the need to make cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles has become a simple, accepted truth among Japanese manufacturers. “It is essential we share awareness of (such) problems,” said Yoshihide Munekumi, the chairman of Honda Motor Co., during an industry round table. This “awareness” has resulted in some strange bedfellows. Take Toyota, which is involved in two eco-friendly joint ventures: one with General Motors, the other with Nissan. The latter Japanese marque will bring its first hybrid to market by 2007 using a version of Toyota’s latest Hybrid Synergy Drive.
Small Cars, Big Aspirations
It’s one of the smallest of the Japanese automakers, but Daihatsu has some big ideas, as it demonstrated by rolling out a half-dozen concept vehicles during this year’s Tokyo Motor Show. An affiliate of Toyota’s, Daihatsu focuses primarily on the market for micro and minicars, finding creative ways to package in a surprising amount of interior space.
2003 Daihatsu QiEnlarge Photo
2003 Daihatsu D-boneEnlarge Photo
Daihatsu UFE-IIEnlarge Photo