The first of Toyota's new Lexus LC luxury coupes for UK and Europe export went into production today (22 May) on an exclusive new assembly line in Japan.
Lexus said it had retooled its Motomachi plant, which built the LFA supercar, "to create a highly focused working environment, dedicated to delivering the highest standards of precision, quality and craftsmanship".
The final assembly area has been reshaped and made an all-white area to help the engineers maintain the best focus on their work. The average time for each person's task is almost 20 minutes, so there is more time to ensure every part of the process meets exacting quality requirements.
The line culminates in a new glass-walled booth where every millimetre of the car's bodywork is subject to intense scrutiny beneath a battery of LED lights. The area for exhaust silencer inspection is surrounded by thicker glass panels so that the slightest abnormality in sound can be detected. The operation and quality of functional components, such as the doors, are also checked here.
The LC is built by a team of specially selected and trained Takumi craftspeople, all of whom have years of experience in Lexus manufacturing.
As well as being assembled in the same facility as the LFA, the LC benefits from a number of technologies which the automaker first developed for production of its hand-crafted supercar. These include the use of a special process, resin transfer moulding (RTM) for the production of CFRP composite material. By adapting RTM for volume production, CFRP is used in key areas of the LC which makes a significant contribution to reducing the car's weight.
The LC, scheduled to arrive in UK showrooms in August, is available with two powertrains. The V8-powered petrol LC 500 is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission, a claimed world first for a passenger car. The full petrol-electric hybrid LC 500h benefits has the new Multi Stage Hybrid System, a next-generation technology said to deliver multiple benefits in terms of performance and an enhanced driving experience, including higher torque and more direct, linear acceleration from a start.