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    William Maley

    Bob Lutz Sees A Grim Future For the Automobile

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      When did Bob Lutz become Nostradamus?

    Whenever Bob Lutz speaks, many people tend to listen as he a number of years of being in the automotive industry under his belt. Recently, Lutz wrote an editorial for Automotive News' Redesigning the Industry where he predicts we are “approaching the end of the automotive era,” within the next 20 years.

    “The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation,” Lutz wrote.

    Lutz sees governments pushing for a 'no-human-drivers' mandate when it becomes clear that self-driving vehicles are much safer than vehicles operated by humans.

    "The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents."

    This according to Lutz will have catastrophic effects for the industry. Most of the driverless pods will be owned, operated and branded as "Uber or Lyft or who-ever else is competing in the market." Many automakers will be forced out of the business as people turn to sharing and not owning a vehicle. Some will remain, but acting as a supplier. Other parts of the business such as dealers, repair shops, and enthusiast magazines will fade away.

    "The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it — all will be gone in 20 years."

    We're not fully on board with Lutz's train of thought. The time frame is a bit too soon as we are still on the ground floor when it comes to autonomous technology and the numerous hurdles that still need to be overcome. Plus, how will this driverless pod system work in rural areas?

    That isn't to say it will not happen. Elements of Lutz's viewpoint are coming into focus. For example, Waymo will not have any way for a human to intervene in emergency situations. 

    We highly recommend reading this piece.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    While he may be right eventually, I think his timeline is a bit too short. I'd guess 30 - 50 years only because of the long period of turnover for vehicles which is only growing.  I regularly encounter, while driving my 35 year old car, other vehicles of similar vintage on the road.  My 13 year old Honda is as common as anything out there, enough so that I have to look for the faded Mile 0 sticker on the back window to make sure I'm getting in my own silver CR-V and not someone else's. 

    Even if we get widespread adoption of autonomous cars on the market in 10 years, the cars that are new 9 years from now will likely still be on the road in 2042. 

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    It could happen in 20 years, I don't think that is so far off, Autonomous cars will get really common, I think for sure in 20 years you'll see more autonomous cars than human driven, getting the government to ban driving will probably be harder than building the cars themselves.

    I think though it won't be all cars on the road, but just as many autonomous drones in the sky.  Less variables to worry about in the air then there are on a road.

    The other big thing that will swing the tide is cost.  If you think of the cost to own a car, $300-400 a month in payment, $80 a month in insurance, $100-200 in gas, $100-200 in maintenance, etc.  All of a sudden we are talking $600 a month, add on another $100 a month in parking if you commute into a city.  If you can get rides in autonomous pods of some sort for even $300 a month, why buy a car?

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    Who's paying an average $200 a month in maintenance?  Maybe a used Benz owner... 

    But in all seriousness, 20 years is still too soon for it to be the majority of transportation in this country.  Product plans are being put in place today for vehicles that will hit the market in 10 years.   While I do agree that automation will increase... the half life of vehicles is just too long for the transformation to happen that quickly. 

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    1966 :

    Quote

    Congress introduces the earliest bills recommending use of electric vehicles as a means of reducing air pollution. A Gallup poll indicates that 33 million Americans are interested in electric vehicles.

    33 million was 17% of the then population of 195 million.
    PHEV/EV sales 51 years later: 0.5% of all vehicle sales.

    - - - - -

    Mainstream AD cars won't be significant in 20 OR 30 years. The industry moves far slower than people tend to think it does.

    Edited by balthazar
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    25 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Who's paying an average $200 a month in maintenance?  Maybe a used Benz owner... 

    But in all seriousness, 20 years is still too soon for it to be the majority of transportation in this country.  Product plans are being put in place today for vehicles that will hit the market in 10 years.   While I do agree that automation will increase... the half life of vehicles is just too long for the transformation to happen that quickly. 

    $200 in maintenance is too high now that I reread that, but if you factor in tires and brakes, oil changes, air filters, state inspections, and any repairs, I think $100 a month is reasonable.   Would be less on a brand new car under warranty.

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    20 years from now: I doubt that.  Sometime in the 2050s or 60s: Sure.  I doubt any of us will be around when this comes to fruition.

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    20 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    1966 :

    33 million was 17% of the then population of 195 million.
    PHEV/EV sales 51 years later: 0.5% of all vehicle sales.

    - - - - -

    Mainstream AD cars won't be significant in 20 OR 30 years. The industry moves far slower than people tend to think it does.

    Cost keeps people from buying EV's.  If a Tesla Model S was $44,900 base and $69,900 for the P100 D then several luxury brands would be out of business right now.  

    The day is coming when you'll be able to get unlimited rides in a Tesla Model S level car for half the price of buying or leasing a Ford Focus.   Then people will stop buying cars.

    Or if the government mandates that it is illegal to drive a car, then that ends driving also.  But they can't figure out how to make it illegal to own an assault rifle, so who knows.  When you look at the top 2 killers in this country, shootings and car accidents are it.   There could be a 9/11 World Trade center event every month of the year and car crashes would still kill more people.

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    1 minute ago, smk4565 said:

    Cost keeps people from buying EV's.  If a Tesla Model S was $44,900 base and $69,900 for the P100 D then several luxury brands would be out of business right now.  

    The day is coming when you'll be able to get unlimited rides in a Tesla Model S level car for half the price of buying or leasing a Ford Focus.   Then people will stop buying cars.

    Or if the government mandates that it is illegal to drive a car, then that ends driving also.  But they can't figure out how to make it illegal to own an assault rifle, so who knows.  When you look at the top 2 killers in this country, shootings and car accidents are it.   There could be a 9/11 World Trade center event every month of the year and car crashes would still kill more people.

    Well... no... there would still be that little issue of building them which seems to be a challenge for Tesla at the moment. 

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    5 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Well... no... there would still be that little issue of building them which seems to be a challenge for Tesla at the moment. 

    Fair enough, but if they had the production capacity.  Same could be said for if Mercedes or Audi or anyone else if they had an EV car at that price point with that capability.  If Toyota had a Camry EV for $26,000 they would sell 1 million a year I bet.  Once the batteries get cheaper, the gas engine will be done.

    37,700 killed in car accidents last year, something like 93% of that is due to human error, that is why the government will ban driving.  Drug overdoses are 60,000 a year, so cars are behind that, gun deaths about 33,000 a year.  

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    It's not capacity, it's skill.  On the Model 3 line they are operating the robots manually.  That runs completely counter to Musk's claim that they'll be ramping up to 10,000 a month when no one in the industry runs a single line at that speed.  I forget the statistic, but I think Ford has one of the fastest producing plants out there (F-150) and that one plant can't even manage 10,000 a month. 

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    I see them as being only part of what is on the road. I still see human driven cars, as people are simply not going to give that up with a fight. If people don't trust the government enough to give them their guns, I highly doubt they will give up driving themselves either....

    The only way that I see this happening in any time frame soon is if it was government forced.  People at their core still want choice, no matter how little there might be.

    While I wouldn't mind a car (or bus) taking me to say...work- I would still want the freedom to drive when and where I wanted to. And while I see it for the large cities, pretty sure it would be tough in say large rural areas.....

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    56 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    It's not capacity, it's skill.  On the Model 3 line they are operating the robots manually.  That runs completely counter to Musk's claim that they'll be ramping up to 10,000 a month when no one in the industry runs a single line at that speed.  I forget the statistic, but I think Ford has one of the fastest producing plants out there (F-150) and that one plant can't even manage 10,000 a month. 

    I doubt Tesla will even be at 3000 a week by the end of January.

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    2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    If Toyota had a Camry EV for $26,000 they would sell 1 million a year I bet.

    Nissan has a Leaf EV for $30K; they're gonna sell 13,xxx this year.

    When you look at the top 2 killers in this country, shootings and car accidents are it.

    Not even close.

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    Bob Lutz is a god.  Don't forget it, kiddos.  Wow, look at them coming out of the woodwork in honor of The Man.

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    13 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Who's paying an average $200 a month in maintenance?

    Even $100 a month sounded high to me.. By quite a bit. Unless the user is buying ties on a yearly basis, which would then make sense, if it's just our regular oil changes, filter changes, even if you added trans flushes once a year(which no company suggests as most are a sealed system now) you're still talking like $20 a month. Guestimating 3 oil changes($35 each), 2 tire rotations($20 each), and one $100 trans flush is just a tad over $20 a month. And you could mix and match that $100 trans flush to brakes or other miscellaneous things totaling $100. I could see on an older car where things are braking but at that point the vehicle should already be owned.

    13 hours ago, balthazar said:

    1966 :

    33 million was 17% of the then population of 195 million.
    PHEV/EV sales 51 years later: 0.5% of all vehicle sales.

    - - - - -

    Mainstream AD cars won't be significant in 20 OR 30 years. The industry moves far slower than people tend to think it does.

    People would and are interested but I think range anxiety is probably the biggest hold up. Then when they look into it(as an average joe family guy) and see they need to spend another $1000 to put a home charger in.. they get deterred. 

    I'm in agreeance with everybody here that 20 years sounds too soon and I pray to sweet baby Jesus that it is too soon because I'd still like to be able to drive my own car in 20 years. 

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    13 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Well... no... there would still be that little issue of building them which seems to be a challenge for Tesla at the moment. 

    Tesla is a dead man walking in the automobile industry.  I see them done by 2019 or 2020.

    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Bob Lutz is a god.  Don't forget it, kiddos.  Wow, look at them coming out of the woodwork in honor of The Man.

    This is Cheers and Gears...i could see people coming out with wood in honor of a man...

    9 hours ago, Intrepidation said:

    MAXIMUM BOOB IS BACK AT IT

    His fortune-telling abilities are about as credible as his insistence that climate change is a farce.

    He is an absolute moron on the Climate change issue.  I think insurance companies not the government will be the big push for autonomous cars.  They do not need to be anywhere near 99.9 % perfect, just better than humans.

    As I have said before, my middle daughter is working in automotive claims.  Claim the other day was from a person who rear ended a vehicle stopped at a red light.  Woman driving the car claimed she shouldn't be marked at fault because cars shouldn't stop at red lights. She sees and deals with something this stupid on a daily basis.  This, not the evil Gov'ment or Lutz is driving us towards autonomous cars.

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    13 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    Fair enough, but if they had the production capacity.  Same could be said for if Mercedes or Audi or anyone else if they had an EV car at that price point with that capability.  If Toyota had a Camry EV for $26,000 they would sell 1 million a year I bet.  Once the batteries get cheaper, the gas engine will be done.

    37,700 killed in car accidents last year, something like 93% of that is due to human error, that is why the government will ban driving.  Drug overdoses are 60,000 a year, so cars are behind that, gun deaths about 33,000 a year.  

    Gun deaths are largely but not entirely the human tree of life being self pruning.  Tree of life is also self pruning in our insistence on the merit in for profit health care.  Many of those car accidents are tree of life self pruning also...I.E. people trying to beat a train.

    Nature and Darwin would dictate that a certain portion of any population is unfit to reproduce. The woman putting on makeup while texting in the Sonata in the next lane would be the mandate for this claim.

    13 hours ago, smk4565 said:

     There could be a 9/11 World Trade center event every month of the year and car crashes would still kill more people.

    See tree of life self pruning comment.

    8b555bbde56a64c72067282502f5562c--crazy-things-silly-things.jpg.e569813bc7547772b847ef422c710dec.jpg

    Merging this with the Kia Soul thread...small rodents/mammals probably more effective at driving than Humans. 

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    13 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    But they can't figure out how to make it illegal to own an assault rifle, so who knows.  When you look at the top 2 killers in this country, shootings and car accidents are it.

    Hand guns kill more people than assault rifles. 

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    19 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    Hand guns kill more people than assault rifles. 

    Human stupidity is the real reason most of these  people die...

    When you try to stiff your meth dealer for payment in a dark alley or pull a loaded gun on a cop...you don't need to be part of our gene pool.

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    8 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    Human stupidity is the real reason most of these  people die...

    When you try to stiff your meth dealer for payment in a dark alley or pull a loaded gun on a cop...you don't need to be part of our gene pool.

    I completely agree with you. 

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      *1 S-E-D-B: Sales, Engineering (Manufacturing), Development (R&D), Buying (Purchasing)
    • By William Maley
      On Wednesday, Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo announced plans for the future of the company's automobile division. Efficiency was the theme in Hachigo's speech in terms of their lineup. manufacturing, and driving.
      One of the initiatives put forth by Hachigo was to cut down on the number of variations on offer in their global lineup, along with the dropping of various regional nameplates.
      "However, as a result of accommodating regional needs somewhat excessively in each individual region, we recognize that the number of models and variations at the trim and option level have increased and our efficiency has declined. So, we will undertake initiatives to further strengthen our inter-regional coordination and collaboration and advance our art of making automobiles in order to simultaneously increase the attractiveness and efficiency of both global and regional models," he said.
      "With this initiative, by 2025, we will reduce the total number of variations at the trim and option level for our global models to one-third of what we have now.In addition, we will increase efficiency by eliminating and consolidating some similar regional models into even more competent models shared across multiple regions."
      This will allow Honda to simplify model allocation at their various assembly plants around the road. According to Hachigo, this will allow the company to achieve "100 percent capacity utilization worldwide by 2020" and cut production costs by 10 percent by 2025. 
      Part of that initiative involves a new modular architecture that will debut in a global model next year. No details on the vehicle were provided, but Honda says the goal of the architecture "is to commonize about 70 percent of the components" used in a vehicle such as the engine bay and passenger cabin.
      Honda is also planning to have two-thirds of their global lineup electrified by 2030. Furthermore, it wants 100 percent of its European lineup to be electrifed by 2025. To do this, Honda is readying a new electric city car known as the e, along with deploying their two-motor i-MMD hybrid setup to all of their models in Europe. In the U.S. Honda is planning to launch more hybrid models, and increase their electric car lineup with some help from General Motors.
      “In North America, we will jointly develop battery components with General Motors and introduce highly-competitive battery EVs in the market,” said Hachigo.

      Press Release is on Page 2
      Summary of Honda CEO Speech on Automobile Business Direction
      Remarks by Takahiro Hachigo, President & CEO, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. May 8, 2019
      Honda has been working on two top-priority management challenges in the midst of abrupt changes in the global business environment surrounding the automobile industry: to strengthen the structure of our automobile business and to further increase the speed of business transformation for future generations.
      So, today, I would like to introduce some initiatives we are taking for our automobile business, especially how we are strengthening the structure of our automobile business, the direction we are taking with electrification, as well as some progress we have made to date.
      Strengthening automobile business structure 
      Ever since I became the president of the company, I have been conveying the message that we will make Honda strong by creating strong products and also by strengthening our inter-regional coordination and collaboration. We put special emphasis on the strengthening of our global models, which have been the source of Honda's core competence, and also the enhancement of our regional models.
      As a result, we currently have the five global models, namely Civic, Accord, CR-V, Fit/Jazz and Vezel/HR-V, and these five strong models now account for 60% of our global automobile sales. At the same time, our regional models such as the N Series for Japan, Pilot for North America and Crider for China are playing an important role as a source of growth for each respective region.
      However, as a result of accommodating regional needs somewhat excessively in each individual region, we recognize that the number of models and variations at the trim and option level have increased and our efficiency has declined. So, we will undertake initiatives to further strengthen our inter-regional coordination and collaboration and advance our art of making automobiles in order to simultaneously increase the attractiveness and efficiency of both global and regional models.
      Strengthening inter-regional coordination and collaboration
      As for inter-regional coordination and collaboration, under the new operational structure we adopted for our automobile operations starting from April, we began reviewing and sharing the product lineup by grouping some of our six regions outside Japan based on a similarity of key factors, such as market needs and environmental regulations. With this initiative, by 2025, we will reduce the total number of variations at the trim and option level for our global models to one-third of what we have now. In addition, we will increase efficiency by eliminating and consolidating some similar regional models into even more competent models shared across multiple regions.
      Advancement of our art of making automobiles (automobile development) 
      As for the advancement of automobile development, since I became the president, we have been increasing the efficiency and speed of our Monozukuri (the art of making things) by innovating the entire process, from planning and development all the way through production, by enabling the S-E-D-B (sales, manufacturing, R&D, purchasing*1) functions to collaborate beyond the boundaries of their divisions.
      Moreover, we have already introduced the Honda Architecture in our development.
      The Honda Architecture is a company-wide initiative which will increase the efficiency of development and expand parts-sharing for our mass-production models. The first model being developed with this new method will be the global model we are launching next year. And we will continue increasing the number of models to which we apply this new architecture.
      With the strengthening of global and regional models through inter-regional coordination and collaboration and with the introduction of the Honda Architecture, by 2025, we will reduce the number of manhours we use for the development of mass-production models by 30%, and we will repurpose those manhours to accelerate our research and development in advanced areas for the future. In this way, we can continue creating new technologies which will support the future of Honda.
      Strengthening our operational structure in the area of production 
      In addition to the area of development, we are further strengthening our operational structure in the area of production as well, so that we can create strong products with high efficiency.
      We are making steady progress in optimizing our production capacity in all regions. When this is complete, we are expecting to see that our global capacity utilization rate, excluding China, will increase from 90% recorded in 2018, and we will be producing at full capacity by 2022.
      In China, the third plant of Dongfeng Honda became newly operational, and this put us in a position where we can definitely accommodate market demand in China. We believe that this progress we made paved the way for the optimization of our global production capacity.
      From here onward, we think it is important to increase our competitiveness by increasing the efficiency of our production system in North America.
      For our business in North America, while keeping pace with sales expansion, we enhanced our model lineup and established a flexible production system where our plants sometimes produce various models in duplication to accommodate changes in market demand. However, as a result of the pursuit of high flexibility, an increase in the investment amount and a decline in production efficiency started to become an issue. Therefore, in North America as well, we will reduce the number of variations at the trim and option level, and at the same time, we will simplify the production model allocation at each plant. Through this initiative, we will re-establish a highly-efficient production system and realize the growth of North American business through the pursuit of quality.
      By implementing these initiatives to increase production efficiency in each region, we are expecting to reduce global cost in the area of production by 10% by 2025, compared to the cost recorded in 2018.
      Through all these initiatives I have mentioned, we will steadily strengthen the structure of our automobile business and realize the solidification of our existing automobile businesses by 2025, and, at the same time, we will accelerate our preparation for the future.
      Direction for the electrification of our automobile products
      Striving to realize a carbon-free society, Honda set a goal to electrify two-thirds of our global automobile unit sales by 2030.
      When we talk about the introduction of electrified vehicles, there are two perspectives. One is the improvement of fuel economy, and the other is zero emissions. Regulations for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are becoming increasingly stringent in every country around the world and complying with CAFE standards is one of the most important challenges for the automobile industry. At Honda, in light of the required infrastructure and how people use automobiles, we believe that hybrid technology is, at this moment, the most effective way for us to comply with CAFE standards. Therefore, we will electrify our products mainly with hybrid technologies. By increasing sales of our hybrid models all around the world, Honda will contribute to the global environment through the improvement of fuel economy.
      To this end, we will expand the application of our 2-motor hybrid system to the entire lineup of Honda vehicles. In addition to the 2-motor hybrid system which is compatible with mid-to-large-sized vehicles, we developed a new, more compact 2-motor hybrid system suitable for small-sized vehicles. This small-sized 2-motor hybrid system will be adopted first by the all-new Fit which we are planning to exhibit as a world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show this fall.
      In addition to the expansion of the lineup of products equipped with the 2-motor hybrid system, we also will expand the application of the 2-motor hybrid system on a global basis. With that, by 2022, we are expecting to reduce the cost of the 2-motor hybrid system by 25% compared to the cost of this system in 2018.
      As for zero emission vehicles, with our battery EVs we will comply with the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program being adopted by California and other states in the U.S. and China's New Energy Vehicle (NEV) mandate. We will efficiently introduce our battery EVs to the market by selecting the most appropriate partners and resources to satisfy the different needs in each region.
      In North America, we will jointly develop battery components with General Motors and introduce highly-competitive battery EVs in the market.   
      In China, in order to keep up with the fast speed of electrification, we have already begun introducing battery EV models developed together with our local joint venture companies in China. While envisioning the introduction of battery EV models from the Honda brand, we will continue utilizing local resources in China and introduce more battery EV models in a timely manner to fulfill local market needs in China.
      In Europe and Japan, we will introduce the Honda e, a new battery EV model, which was recently introduced as a prototype at the Geneva Motor Show.
      To summarize, Honda will popularize and improve the business feasibility of electrified vehicles by focusing on hybrid vehicles and battery EVs.
      Changes in operational structure
      In order to ensure the solid implementation of these initiatives I just introduced for our automobile business, we renewed our operational structure as of April. The aims of this structural change are to establish an organization which brings all regional operations together to strongly facilitate inter-regional coordination and collaboration and to increase the speed of our business operations by enabling prompt decisions and prompt execution.
      Today, I introduced our initiatives to strengthen our automobile business structure and the direction of our electrification. Under the new organizational structure, we will realize our goals with a keen sense of speed. 
      Closing
      As we stated in our 2030 Vision, Honda is striving to grow through the pursuit of quality so that we can fulfill our vision to "Serve people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life's potential."
      Honda will continue taking on new challenges while being driven by strong passion, so that we can continue to be a company that society wants to exist even in 2050 after Honda becomes more than 100 years old. 
      *1 S-E-D-B: Sales, Engineering (Manufacturing), Development (R&D), Buying (Purchasing)

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    • By William Maley
      Lexus has some has some big plans in store for the F performance sub-brand. Motor1 is reporting that the luxury brand is planning to keep the Track Edition nameplate for some time.
      “The plan right now is to build 60 [RC F] Track Editions...and it’s going to be 40 of the white and 20 of the matte gray [cars for 2020]. It’s [our] intention to have a version of the Track Edition in subsequent [model] years,” said Cooper Ericksen, vice president for product planning and strategy at Lexus.
      It is unclear what Lexus has planned for the future of Track Edition. Ericksen said everything is up in the air ranging from improving the performance to possibly applying the treatment to other models (LC Track Edition anyone?).
      “We’re having fun with the engineers to figure out what [Track Edition] can look like in the future."
      Another item being talked about for F is building a crossover or SUV. Ericken said that a key topic of discussion is whether or not they should focus on doing an on-road version or buck the trend and do an off-road one.
      “[What] we're currently trying to figure out is [if] the on-road performance aspect [is] more important [for Lexus] to invest in than the off-road performance.” 
      Source: Motor1, 2

      View full article
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