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There's no denying the Lexus LFA is far and away the greatest combination of engineering feats achieved by Toyota outside of its Formula 1 ventures. In fact, it uses many of the lessons learned in the sport. But for all of its technological prowess, was the LFA a waste of time, money, and effort?
The question was prompted by our observations of many LFAs present at track demonstrations and other events. This struck us as unusual because the LFA is an extremely limited-production vehicle. Just 500 examples were to be built from the outset, at a rate of only a handful per month hand-built by Lexus' top-level technicians. Typically, such cars are hard to find at all, much less being put to hard use on track. It's all the more bizarre considering the full run was supposedly spoken for, or nearly so, very early on. What need is there to entice buyers of a car that's already sold out?
Part of it could be explained by Lexus' stated desire to see the cars on track, doing what they were built for, not moldering in a collector's garage. But not all of it--there had to be something else at work. So we contacted Lexus' American arm and asked about production and sales figures. The results were surprising.