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News of  April 25, 2000
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Lexus Announces Plans for First Convertible
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New York - Lexus announced that it will introduce its first convertible, the SC 430. Due in spring 2001, the new two-door will be based on the Lexus Sport Coupe Concept car, which debuted at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show.

The new SC 430 has an elegant design and a retractable hardtop that will transform it from a 2+2 coupe into a convertible with the push of a button. The production model will be powered by the new Lexus 4.3 V8 engine that will make its first U.S. appearance in the redesigned LS 430 on sale this fall. The SC 430 engine will produce a potent 300 horsepower.

"Many customers have told me their dream is a Lexus convertible, and now we're happy to help make dreams come true," said Bryan Bergsteinsson, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "The SC 430 will offer buyers a premium luxury convertible with performance, fun and style, as well as all that comes with the Lexus ownership experience."

Elegant Design, Inside and Out

The SC 430's design will feature functional beauty with sleek lines and intelligent packaging. Lexus designers from Europe and Japan worked together to create the convertible. The exterior was crafted by the company's European design center. Chief Exterior Designer Sotiris Kovos sought design inspiration in a location renowned for high-end luxury – the French Riviera. He spent several weeks there observing people and products to gain insight into truly luxurious lifestyles.

"It is very important to be able to design products that fit the overall environment and the taste of the people using them," said Kovos. " We discovered that people there (on the French Riviera) show a clear preference to products and services with a high degree of simplicity, character, sophistication and quality."

While the exterior was being perfected in Europe, Satoru Kuno was in Japan working to match the purpose and elegance of the exterior lines with an equally emotional interior. Kuno and his team chose to emphasize the natural beauty of leather and wood, rather than creating unnatural forms from plastic moldings.

Powerful Beauty

The new rear-wheel drive SC 430 convertible will be powered by a 300-horsepower aluminum, double overhead-cam, 4.3-liter V8 engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission. Front and rear double wishbone independent suspension attached to the chassis will minimize vibrations and contribute to a smooth ride.

Lexus created a purpose-built high-performance platform for the SC 430. By designing the car as a convertible from the start, engineers optimized its structure to provide excellent rigidity whether the retractable hardtop is raised or lowered. The structural solidity also will allow Lexus to tune the suspension to deliver responsive handling and smooth ride compliance at the same time.

Complete Lexus Line

The SC 430, which will replace the current SC 400, will be Lexus' third new product in a year. The IS 300 compact sport sedan debuts this summer and the LS 430 premium luxury sedan arrives in the fall. Lexus' product line-up also includes the ES 300 entry-level luxury sedan, GS 400/300 high-performance sport sedans, RX 300 mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the LX 470 premium luxury SUV.

(April 20, 2000)

 

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