Lexus LFA Numbers
One of the figures that you’re likely not to see with the just-reported sales figures is for the Lexus LFA. So we’ll avail ourselves of the opportunity to let you know that in October, Lexus sold 4 of the hand-built cars. It has sold 48 so far this year in the U.S.
Not that we think that that’s a particularly small number for a car that features a 4.8-liter V10 that produces 553 hp @ 8,700 rpm and 354 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm, a car that has an MSRP of $375,000.
Far from it. We don’t even know one person who could afford to buy that car.
We’re simply using this as an excuse to provide some information on the construction of the car that’s hand-assembled at the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City.
The car is largely based on carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) materials. Toyota actually had its start in 1926 as Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (yes, Toyoda with a “d”). They know more than a little something about weaving. In developing the LFA the engineering team decided to in-source the composite works. So the machinery used to weave the carbon fiber fabrics came from the affiliated loom company.
Of the total weight of the body-in-white, 65% is CFRP and the remainder aluminum. While it had been originally planned to make the LFA an aluminum-bodied car so as to keep the mass low, they opted for the CFRP approach, which resulted in a comparative 220-lb. weight save. (The curb weight of the entire car is just 3,263 lb.)
There are three processes used to make the composite components. The cabin is essentially made by with a hand-laid process: fabric is wetted with the resin and then the parts are molded, heated and pressed. Resin transfer molding (RTM) is used to produce the floor pan and transmission tunnel, roof, and hood. The sheet molding compound (SMC) process is used for the C-pillar and rear floor.
All of this results in a vehicle that has a power-to-weight ratio of 6 lb/hp.
That’s an impressive number.
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