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To thwart speculators, Lexus will lease, not sell, 500 LFAs

Mon, 23 Nov 2009

Lexus has a plan to head off speculators when its limited-edition LFA sports car goes on sale in January 2011.

The company will offer only two-year leases for the $375,000 two-seater, said Brian Smith, vice president of sales and dealer development for Lexus division. Lexus will hang on to the vehicle's title.

"If someone buys it the first month and then decides to sell it, that could be damaging for the ownership experience," Smith said. "If it is not controlled and hits the speculation market, all bets are off."

Only 500 units of the 552-hp LFA will be built over a two-year period that begins in December 2010. No car will be built until it is ordered.

"You can personalize it right down to the stitching in the car," Smith said.

He said Lexus wants each customer to pay about the same price for the LFA, which will be powered by a 4.8-liter 10-cylinder engine. At the end of the two-year lease, customers can opt to buy the cars.

"We want people out driving the car and not just parking it in a museum or selling it at an inflated price," Smith said.

About 15 Lexus employees will get extensive training on the car before they start meeting with prospective customers in March. The LFA specialists will be stationed at each of Lexus' four regions around the country -- West, Chicago, New Jersey and Atlanta -- and at Lexus headquarters in California.

Customers can choose their own dealer for delivery.

Dealers will not have to invest in special tools or training. Lexus will purchase the tools and hire trained technicians to perform the service at the stores.

By Kathy Jackson- Automotive News