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October 30, 2009

2011 Lexus LFAs are not for sale

AUTOMOTIVES - If you've always wanted to buy a Lexus supercar then you're going to have to wait a bit longer. The 2011 Lexus LFAs won't be for sale, they are only going to be available for a 2-year lease and only after completing the 2 year lease will you be given the option of buying the car for $375,000 USD.

Why the lengthy lease process?

Well, the problem is investment brokers who buy supercars and then flip them immediately by selling them on eBay. Apparently its become such a huge problem supercar companies are being forced to take steps to prevent this from happening. It has a bad habit of devaluing the brand (supercar companies spend a lot of money on advertising just so people will recognize and value their brand).

You see well-made supercars typically don't go down in value, they go up.

For example take the 1994 McLaren F1, at its time the fastest road car money could buy. It could go 240 mph, had 627 horsepower, was the first supercar with a carbon-fibre body and... its now worth almost $4 million USD, despite being originally sold for $970,000 USD. So in 15 years it has quadrupled in value.

The Lexus LFA has a V10 engine with 552 horsepower, 65% of its body weight is carbon fibre making it very lightweight (and better for both performance and fuel economy), can go 325 km/h (200 mph).

According to industry insiders the Lexus LFA is "an instant classic" and will be talked about for years to come because it is much better value, thus the parent company (Toyota) is taking action to prevent it from being flipped by people just looking to make a profit.

I think its refreshing to see a car maker that is more interested in having customers who actually appreciate their "art" rather than be worried about profit. After all, thats what supercars really are: Artwork in Motion.

They're meant to be seen as an aesthetic thing of beauty, to be appreciated both for its aesthetics and the technical achievements of its engine design.

You don't go out and buy a $1.5 million Bugatti Veyron and then drive it to work every day. You buy it for its artistic value, its 1001 horsepower engine, because its currently the fastest road car available (and because you want to brag to possible sexual partners about the size of your huge engine...). True, it is an investment and in theory you could sell it years from now for more than you paid for it, but even Bugatti is being cautious about the sale of its cars. They're only selling them to genuine car enthusiasts who are going to enjoy it and show it off.

Personally if I had a choice of supercars I'd pick a black Koenigsegg. Its the kind of car you could imagine Darth Vader driving. It also has a top speed of 259 mph (417 km/h), 806 horsepower...

One of the inspiring things about supercars is the sheer raw power, which is difficult to achieve technically within a small space for an engine and still keep the weight down. A lot of technology goes into the design of these cars to maximize power, improve driving performance (so you don't crash when you go around a corner), decrease the weight so the performance is maintained and fuel economy is improved, and years of research into designing the body of the car so it will be aesthetically pleasing so people will want to buy it.

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