– Lexus continued its assault on the American luxury car market, announcing that it would begin supplying racing-inspired parts for its high-end vehicles. The program, named F-Sport, will sell aftermarket high-performance brakes, exhausts and cold air intakes and other track-worthy upgrades for the Lexus IS 250 and IS 350 sedans.
During its first-ever appearance at the Specialty Equipment Market Association's trade show, Lexus said the F-Sport Accessory Line will hit dealerships around March, the same time the all new IS-F arrives.
The IS-F is Lexus's first entry into high-end performance luxury cars. With an expected starting price around $60,000, the IS-F is the first Lexus to compete with the likes of the BMW M-Series and Mercedes-Benz AMG.
The new car won't be neglected by the accessory division either. Lexus will offer upgrades such as carbon fiber reinforced ceramic brakes. Carmakers around the world are trying to cash in on the aftermarket business, which reaches nearly $40 billion a year in sales. SEMA officials estimate that automakers reap about 10 percent of that in their sales.
"Personalization continues to grow and the F-Sport will help people make their cars their own," said Brian Bolain, Lexus automotive events manager.
"It's the natural progression for Lexus," said Mike Michels, a Toyota spokesman. "We have the potential to reach customers who demand more performance while also wanting the Lexus luxury."
Since the brand arrived in America in 1989, it has rapidly grown to become the No. 1 luxury brand in the United States. Providing performance parts could help build its reputation in more niche markets, Michels said.
To showcase the brand's commitment to performance accessories, Lexus debuted the Project IS-F — a tricked-out IS-F designed by Troy Sumitomo and built by Five Axis, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based custom car builder — at the annual Las Vegas event.
Project IS-F boasts a 5.0L 416-hp V-8 under the hood and performance Brembo brakes that slow down its 20-inch wheels. There are nearly a dozen customized Lexus coupes and sedans on display — showing official potential body kits and parts that could make the F-Sport line up.
Another important piece to the development of the Lexus F line up is the eight-speed sport direct shifting transmission that Lexus will include on its performance vehicles. Lexus was the first, and still the only, carmaker to offer an eight-speed transmission.
Capitalizing on the unending appetite of customers to personalize their vehicles, Lexus, like most other carmakers will cover its accessories under its vehicle warranty, officials said.