North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)
2015 Lexus GS F Debut Press Conference
January 13, 2015
Jeff Bracken, Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager
Lexus GS F release
Lexus RC F GT3 Racing Concept release
Good morning everyone and welcome to Lexus.
It’s great to start the New Year right here in the Motor City.
When you look around at all the new products from every automaker...
I know for me personally... I feel quite fortunate to work in such a dynamic business.
And ... judging from the vehicles on display here in Cobo Hall... it’s going to be ANOTHER terrific year for our industry!
2014 was certainly very healthy for the general market and for Lexus as well.
Here in the U.S. ... our new vehicle volume totaled 311,389 sales.
2014 marked the first time Lexus sales have crossed the 300k threshold since 2007.
The NX crossover and RC coupe arrived at showrooms during the final quarter of 2014 and based on early buyer reaction ... these all new models will continue to help build sales momentum in 2015 and beyond.
As our global president... Akio Toyoda continues to drive the Lexus brand’s growth around the world... he is clearly focused on evolving the Lexus product lineup to meet the needs of both current and next generation luxury buyers.
Here in the US ... we’re now in the midst of the most aggressive product launch and update cycle since the brand’s inception.
Over the past three years we have revamped our entire product line.
And now ... in the 2015 calendar year ... we'll introduce 4 new models or mid-lifecycle updates.
Additionally ... the brand’s offering will expand with a greater availability of turbocharging and special editions.
The latest chapter in our brand’s evolution began with the launch of the GS in 2012.
Since then ... we’ve introduced more dynamic and compelling designs... and with a dynamic character that better connects with drivers.
As a result ... we're attracting new buyers to the brand and one of the key elements positively impacting Lexus is our ‘F Sport’ series of vehicles.
It’s an example of a successful execution of blending performance with luxury.
Typically our F Sport models include ... suspension, wheel/tire, steering, and transmission tuning upgrades ... all to help deliver a sportier driving experience.
Visually ... we add more aggressive styling cues including bolder front fascia designs.
The passion and performance expressed by our F sport models has helped Lexus attract more youthful consumers typically 5 to 12 years younger than our non F-Sport owners.
These buyers are drawn to a luxury model that better aligns with a statement they embrace about themselves.
Last year 1 in 4 Lexus buyers chose an F Sport on models where it was available.
With certain vehicles ... such as IS sedan the F Sport model accounts for nearly 50 percent of the sales volume.
Beyond F Sport … Lexus has also developed track-focused “F” brand products that are engineered from the asphalt up as unique high performance vehicles.
These niche models help position Lexus in a portion of the market shared with other European niche performance marks among others.
Our F brand products are distinct in their execution with an application of technology and tuning to help create cars that elevate speed, heart rate, and adrenaline.
And what’s even better ... you don’t have to be a professional race car driver to enjoy a thrilling experience behind the wheel ... the F brand formula places the excitement and enjoyment of performance driving within reach of drivers of any skill level ... connecting with drivers by developing vehicles engineered to create confidence near the vehicle’s limits.
Our first F brand vehicle ... the IS F launched in 2008 followed by the LFA Supercar a few years later. And just one year ago here in Detroit ... we introduced the RC F high performance coupe ... all building momentum for Lexus’ high performance niche brand.
Today we’re here to introduce our next “F model.“
Our first mid-size luxury sedan to receive a high performance F-brand injection and transform into an all-new track-ready ... road devouring beast.
Ladies and gentlemen the 2016 GS F!
The GS F will include a wonderful exhaust soundtrack courtesy of a responsive... naturally aspirated 467 hp ... 5.0-liter V8.
Carrying about 300 lbs. less mass than key segment competitors and with a rear Torque Vectoring differential ... just like RC-F the GS F will offer a driving experience unlike any Lexus mid-luxury sedan before it.
The GS F arrives in showrooms in the final quarter of 2015. We forecast around 1600 sales per year.
More importantly ... we expect the GSF to further elevate our F brand performance image.
Now ... if one is to speak of a niche performance brand ... there are few things that help develop a culture of building track-ready production cars ...quite like developing world-class racecars.
We've got the itch to race again!
You may recall ... in the US ... from 2006 to 2008 ... Lexus enjoyed success with three consecutive wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona ... as a supplier of durable 5.0 liter V8 engine that powered prototype race cars to these victories in the Rolex Sportscar Series championship.
This time, with RCF GT3 ... Lexus is hoping to have the brand racing on an unprecedented scale.
This car’s mission is to spearhead the company’s first global racing effort ...while competing against some of the more storied marks on the racing scene.
We expect RCF GT3 to soon pass homologation. After that ... we plan to work with key racecar development partners ... to enhance our competitiveness before privateer racing teams field their own Lexus RCF GT3 teams.
Most important for the Lexus brand is that with this level of racing ... the lessons learned and advances made will help better develop a motorsports-focused culture that will doubtless influence F-brand products going forward.
Now ... I do want to point out the new Lexus Global Motorsports logo ... which we expect to see more of on the global racing scene in coming years ... it also happens to be tattooed on my forearm.
The new logo not only represents the next chapter in our company’s now globally unified motorsports endeavor but shows great in the selfie I will be using in my next Holiday card.
Looking forward ... we expect to be competing globally on the same circuits as some of the most renowned European luxury brands.
Currently ... we compete with an RC F racecar in the GT500 category of the Super GT series in Japan ...that has posted multiple wins and podium finishes in its first year.
THIS year ... Lexus is developing this RCF GT3 with the hopes of competing in the FIA GT3 category in Europe... and then bring this V8 racecar to a yet-to-be-determined series in the United States in 2016.
We'll reveal more details, milestones, and collaborations supporting our Global Lexus Motorsports racing efforts throughout 2015.
One of the Chief Architects of our F-brand and the RC-F GT3 race effort is Yukihiko Yaguchi who is here with us today.
I'd now like to invite Yaguchi-san and the media and photographers to the stage for a closer look at the future of the Lexus F-brand.
Thank you everyone and enjoy the show.