Lexus will present the LF-CC, a new, mid-sized coupe concept, at the 2012 Paris Motor Show that opens at the end of this month.
The rear-wheel drive, full hybrid LF-CC integrates various design cues from the LF-LC, showing another example of Lexus’ new L-finesse styling language, complete with the new signature spindle grille. In this iteration, the grille is framed by the leading edge of the hood, the deep lower spoiler and projecting front fender tips, the grille mesh has a metal-finish surround, creating a 3-D effect.
The side profile is tight between the fenders and the rear fender flare is less pronounced than the front, with a character line arcing down from the rear spoiler to the rocker panel that reinforces an image of weight over the rear driving wheels for extra traction.
In contrast to most current designs, the triple LED-projector headlamps are housed in a narrow gap between the lower and upper fender surfaces and don’t have an aerodynamic cover.
The LF-CC is equipped with an all-new, highly efficient, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder, DOHC, Atkinson-cycle, full-hybrid powertrain offering the performance of a sporting, D-segment coupe and low CO2 emissions, producing two horsepower per gram of CO2.
While the car is a concept, Toyota says the engine is slated for production.
The countdown to the unveiling of the flagship of the Lexus line continues with the release of a teaser photo of the 2013 LS sedan. The official debut is scheduled for Monday, July 30, at 8:30 PM Pacific Daylight Tinme (11:30 PM Eastern, 10:30 Central, 9:30 Mountain). Follow the event live on Facebook.
Nobody’s perfect: even Barry Bonds struck out now and then and he’s the all-time home run champ. So it is with Toyota. The maker of the world’s hottest hybrids announced it had ended production the Lexus HS250h due to poor sales.
According to a company statement, “Production of the HS 250h ceased in January, 2012. Lexus continues to monitor sales for each product and we make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment. The ES 300h is not replacing HS in our lineup. It’s merely part of the hybridization of many of our existing vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lineups.”
The HS250h was Lexus’ first dedicated hybrid: it was not adapted from an existing gasoline-pwered car. The little Lexus hybrid was based on the same platform as the Toyota Avensis. The Avensis platform is also the base for the Scion tC.
When it made its U.S. and Japanese market debuts in 2009, it looked like the car had a bright future. It came from Toyota, the worldwide leader in hybrid vehicles, and was the upscale hybrid consumers told Toyota that they wanted. In Japan, there was a six-month-long waiting list so Toyota diverted some of the production originally destined for the U.S. to meet demand in the home market.
After the first surge it soon became obvious that was only a limited market for a high-dollar compact. From 6,699 sales in 2009, deliveries zoomed 59.2 percent to 10,663 in 2010 but then plummeted 73.1 percent to 2,864 in 2011. So far this year, 591 HS250hs have been sold, down 39.6 percent from the first four months of 2011.
Fifty brands were recently recognized as 2012 Customer Service Champions by J.D. Power & Associates. Among these were four automotive brands: Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus and BMW’s MINI.
The companies were selected from more than 800 brands evaluated by Power from 2000 to 2011. This year’s winners were based on studies conducted in 2011.
According to a special report, entitled, “Beyond Satisfaction: J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions–Brands That Deliver Service Excellence to Maximize Business Results,” the importance of people as a driver of service excellence has increased substantially – even more than the importance of price,
Despite this, many businesses cut costs and turned to automation to handle customer needs, which had the effect of raising the importance of people in the service experience. This has been especially true in recent years as businesses downsized staffs to cope with the economy.
“Consumer expectations have heightened since the onset of the recession,” says Gina Pingitore, chief research officer at J.D. Power and Associates. “While value is important, consumers want more than simply the lowest price or a product that is just good enough. They expect a superior product that is delivered in a compelling presentation, through fast and easy-to-understand processes that are supported by responsive and concerned people. In addition, the price must be perceived as fair and competitive.”
Fifty brands earned recognition as J.D. Power 2012 Customer Service Champions, based on customer feedback attesting to their service excellence. These brands are among the top 5 percent of more than 800 evaluated brands, based on their performance in five key areas identified as the J.D. Power 5 Ps: People, Presentation, Price, Process and Product. J.D. Power Customer Service Champions not only excel within their respective industries, but also stand out when evaluated across multiple industries.
Brands that provide exceptional customer service tend to consistently employ certain key practices, including:
Hiring the right people and empowering them with the best processes, as well as the ability and authority to make judgment calls to resolve issues on behalf of their customers
Understanding customer differences to offer the right products through the right channels in ways that truly resonate with them
Being consistent in branding and delivery of the service experience, particularly across various channels and customer touch points
Among the other brands recognized as Customer Service Champions are nationally known names including: Amazon.com; Apple; Barnes & Noble; Bass Pro Shops; David Weekley Homes; Drury Inn & Suites; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; First Federal; Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Frost Bank; Hampton Hotels; ING DIRECT Home Loans; JetBlue Airways; Kohl’s; L.L. Bean; Quicken Loans; Saks Fifth Avenue; Scottrade, Inc.; Southwest Airlines; The Ritz-Carlton; USAA and Virgin America.
As the official automotive marketing partner of the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit property and to help launch the 2013 Lexus GS, Lexus has created a the “Tori 500″ campaign, showcasing an actual race course the automaker created in the shape of swimsuit model Tori Praver’s body.
Another campaign elements is an iOS camera app called “Supermodeled” that will allow people to place Praver into their own photos with the click of a button. Available at Lexus.com/tori500 and iTunes
There will also be a four-page spread in the February 14 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and custom tablet integrations featured on iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Xoom and Nook.
Tomorrow and Thursday, February 15-16, Lexus will host the two-day Beauties & Beats Music Festival at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“What better way to help introduce the bold new face of Lexus—the all-new GS—than with a bold new campaign featuring a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model?” said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. “With the new GS, there’s no going back for Lexus. Instead of just looking at the pictures, consumers can share in the fun through our many campaign components, including having Tori appear in their own photos.”
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