Lexus LFA 350K sports car: why did Toyota not introduce a new brand?

Lexus LFAWith quite a few posts about car brands lately you might think that I am an actual car enthusiast. Truth to be told: not so much and at this moment I actually do not even own a car! So what is with the interest in the car industry? I simply think there are lots of interesting things happening. Brands are trying to reestablish, re-associate themselves or find ways to take a bigger bite of the pie.
This week I was reading about the Lexus LFA, a 350.000USD(!!) Lexus race car. Yes, that’s right: a 350K Lexus! The car looks stunning and according to Car & Driver the mechanics are really good as well. In fact according to C&D the LFA is on par with a Ferrari 599GTB of about the same price. C&D asks the question “in what parallel universe is this thing remotely Lexus-like?”

The fact that a comparison with Ferrari was made me wonder as well why Toyota did not opt to create a new brand for these high end sport monsters.

What would you think about the following:

Lexus?

Lexus? It simple does not work… this is a different car category than the once Lexus is competing in.  With Lexus in the category of high end race cars I am getting confused with Lexus: what is Lexus all about?

Would have something like Veloce have worked? I think so!

Veloce-brands

By creating a new brand, let’s say Veloce,  Toyota would have had all the freedom to build a high performance race/sports car brand. In fact by doing so, Toyota could stretch Veloce down with models around 100K and compete with the iconic Porsche 911 model, especially now Porsche has given up their unique brand position since focussing on SUVs and 4 door cars.

The fact that Veloce is by Toyota is fine, most people also know that Lexus is by Toyota and yet they are happy to pay the extra dollar. At the same time Toyota is racing in the Formula 1 so it has at least some credibility.

And finally on colors: Ferrari is red and Veloce could by white.

all-with-cars

It works very well! White is the color of purity, which works very nice against Ferrari when executed properly.

What would you have done as brand manager at Toyota HQ? Let me know your ideas!

2 thoughts on “Lexus LFA 350K sports car: why did Toyota not introduce a new brand?”

  1. Good question Michiel! I shook up your train of thought a bit: What if Toyota is not entering the supercar category but strengthening their brand position (for Lexus)? So assuming their motivation is something else, brings a completely new light to the move…

    Should the underlying problem be competitive outlook for Lexus – maybe weakening perception on performance/sportiness/credibility adding weight to the high end makes sense from Lexus’s perspective. Entering LFA is still considerably smaller investment than entering Veloce – and it might help Toyota to defend Lexus’s price point on all models…

    And knowng Toyota, they probably can make even profit with the LFA’s – or at least break even… The hard R&D might already exist due to racing efforts…

  2. You know i think that you got a good idea about veloce but, look at it this way, mersedes has also the super car mclarren and is still a mercedes benz but that’s a good point.

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