Lexus reveals potential Mini fighter - LF-SA is the Toyota premium brand's smallest car to date

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Old 06 Mar 2015, 03:12 am   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lexus reveals potential Mini fighter - LF-SA is the Toyota premium brand's smallest car to date

This bears a strong resemblance to our CR-Z. The main differences are
the grill, a higher profile and the large wheels.


Lexus revealed the aggressively styled LF-SA subcompact concept at the
Geneva auto show today. If built, the model would compete against the
Mini hatchback and Audi A1 in Europe's entry-premium segment.

“The SA stands for small adventurer. It’s the most compact Lexus
ever,” said Alain Uyttenhoven, head of Lexus in Europe.

Lexus International Executive Vice President Mark Templin said the car
is "just a design concept,” and a way of getting the brand’s
stylists to think about the future, when car buyers in crowded
megacities are expected to be seek out premium small cars.

A smaller Lexus does not mean a cheaper Lexus, Templin added. “We are
not aiming to shift our price point lower with this car,” he said.

Mini currently charges a premium price for its subcompact-sized models
as does Audi with the A1. Those two cars dominate Europe's
entry-premium niche, which currently includes just six models.

When asked about the concept car on Tuesday, Toyota Europe CEO Didier
Leroy said: "Many premium brands decided to downsize such as Audi
with the A3 and A1, and BMW with the 1 series and the Mini. We
thought, if we want to compete with them, we need to do something
completely different."

A production version of the Lexus model could go on sale in 2018 and
would slot below the CT, the brand's best-seller in Europe, reports
said. Like the CT, a production LF-SA would be offered only with a
hybrid powertrain, the reports added.

A subcompact based on the LF-SA could give Lexus a sales boost in
Europe, where Toyota’s premium brand has failed to make headway
against German rivals.

Lexus sold 31,079 vehicles in the Europe last year, up 30 percent on
the year before, according to industry association ACEA. The brand,
however, had a European market share of just 0.2 percent compared with
Audi's 5.6 percent, BMW brand's 5.5. percent and Mercedes brand's 5

Lexus increased its 2014 European sales of the CT 9 percent to 10,140,
according to JATO Dynamics.

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