Notes and Quotes

8:40-9:05 am // Lexus Takes Wraps Off GS F Performance Car, Launches Racing Effort

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lexus Takes Wraps Off GS F Performance Car, Launches Racing Effort

DETROIT – Lexus made the worldwide premiere of its GS F performance car at the North American International Auto Show 2015 here today, expanding its family of “F” vehicles, and announced its plans to launch a new global racing initiative.

GS F is the first mid-size sedan in the F line and features a variety of exterior-design cues and performance-oriented refinements in transmission, tires, wheels and other parts of the car that align it with a younger market, including more enthusiasts, than Lexus typically has attracted, said Jack Bracken, group vice president and general manager of the Lexus brand

The heart of GS F is a 5-liter V8 engine that yields 467 horsepower. The car sports 300 pounds less of mass than key competing vehicles, Bracken said. Racing touches include orange calipers on the brakes.

Bracken said that Lexus plans to sell about 1,600 a year of the GS F once the car is introduced in the fourth quarter. Just as important as the sales numbers, he said, the new model “will further elevate the F brand-performance image.”

In nameplates where an F version was available, about 25 percent of Lexus sales in 2014 were from that performance line, he said. The first F version was launched in 2008. At last year’s NAIAS 2014, Lexus introduced the RC F high-performance coupe.

Bracken also said that Lexus has “got the itch to go racing again” and plans to introduce a new global racing effort. It will be spearheaded by the RC F GT 3 model that Lexus showed off at NAIAS 2015.

The car “will help develop a motorsports-based culture” at Lexus, which expects “to be competing globally” in races soon. The brand won some races at Daytona in 2006 through 2008 that helped feed the notion of expanding the presence of Lexus in motorsports, Bracken said.

Overall, 2014 was the first time Lexus sales topped 300,000 units since 2007. In just the last three years, he said, the brand has completely turned over its product lineup.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda “is clearly focused on evolving the Lexus lineup,” Bracken said, including “the most aggressive [U.S.] launch and product cycle” ever.