How to Buy a Lexus LFA
Want to get your hands on one of the only 500 Lexus LFA supercars that will ever be built? Here’s how.
I’ve just had a brief drive in the new Lexus LFA supercar at Miami’s Homestead Speedway, and the car blew me away. The LFA is unlike any other Lexus — or Toyota – ever built this side of a Formula 1 race car. The story here is not just that Lexus has its first supercar, but also that the car is bursting with incredible technology, foremost the carbon-fiber construction of the body and chassis. Incredibly, Toyota looms its own carbon fiber for the LFA because, as Paul Williamsen of Lexus points out, Toyota got its start as a looming company more than a century ago and knows a thing or two about looms. There’s lots of other innovative technology in the LFA, plus a V-10 engine that sounds absolutely fantastic, huge carbon-ceramic brakes that can be fitted with calipers in your choice of six colors, and an utterly gorgeous, modern, comfortable cabin. You can read more about it by reading our drive story by European Bureau Chief Georg Kacher by clicking HERE.
What I want to talk about is how a person might go about purchasing an LFA. Buying an exotic car, especially one in high demand, like most Ferraris, can be a very taxing experience even for the most battle-hardened business person. How do I get on the list? How do I know I’m being treated fairly? Do only people who are special friends of the dealer get one? Lexus is trying to make the process of buying an LFA a little less mysterious.
First off, there will be only 500 LFAs, total, for the entire world, and they will be produced from December 2010 through December 2012 at the rate of approximately twenty per month. Lexus just announced the LFA officially at the Tokyo Motor Show this week, and in so doing also launched a process whereby potential buyers can express their interest in the car through an official channel. In the United States, anyone who is interested in buying an LFA must call a toll-free number: 866-LFA-4794. Operators will conduct a brief questionnaire to find out a bit about the person; why they are interested in the LFA; how they tend to use their cars, etc., and register the caller as a potentially interested customer. People can also visit the LFA Web site for complete information on the car: www.lexus-lfa.com. The phone line will be open for three months, from mid-October 2009 to mid-January 2010. At that time, Lexus expects to have a sizable list of potential buyers.
Lexus will vet potential customers and choose a mix of people who they feel will help publicize the car. “We would prefer to have people who are driving the car or are influential in their community,” says Paul Rohovsky of Lexus marketing, “as opposed to somebody who wants to collect it and keep it in a private collection, never to see the light of day. We want to get those cars out and exposed.”
A specific number of cars has not been allocated for the United States. The U.S. allocation will come down to the level of interest in compared with the many other countries where the car will also be offered for sale.
Once a potential buyer is approved, they’ll be hooked up with a dealer and one of fifteen specialized Lexus sales consultants, who will help them spec out their car and take their $10,000 deposit. Buyers will be able to choose from some 30 exterior paint colors and a multitude of interior Alcantara and leather combinations.
Orders will be placed at one of two times: June 2010 and December 2010. The first deliveries will be in January 2011, and the last will be in January 2013.
To ensure that all customers get the same experience, Lexus plans to set up a structure where, for the entire retail process time period, it would hold the title. “We’re studying a very similar process to how Ferrari handled the F50 and the Enzo, where they held the title for a defined period, through the complete retail process,” says Rohovsky. “For the Ferrari model, there was about 50 percent down, 30 percent financed, and the remaining 20 percent was a residual. We’re still working on it. We’re trying to minimize, or eliminate, any finance charge. We recognize that some people will pay us cash, and we’re working with our financial partners to reduce or eliminate any finance charge.”
Lexus will host exclusive events in conjunction with major auto shows to show the car to prime target buyers, and the LFA will be at the following auto shows from now through April: SEMA; LA; Detroit; Chicago; Dallas; and New York. Start cozying up to your Lexus dealer now….and call that toll-free number!