After our recent visit to the Volvo factories in Ghent and Torslanda, our interest in manufacturing has been enlivened, and we will also focus more often on this very interesting subject. So when we heard that Lexus is now building its bold looking LC Coupé for the European market, we decided to bring this item for you in this report. Just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Quality takes time and needs a proper, ideally equipped place, according to Lexus. That’s why they have transformed their Motomachi plant in Japan, formerly home to the LFA supercar, to create a highly focused working environment, dedicated, as they put it, to delivering the highest standards of precision, quality and craftsmanship. Indeed, the place looks immaculate and the workstations are quite spacious.
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 Lexus’ 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. Just look at the following photo…
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 Lexus 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 (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Parts) composite material. By adapting RTM for volume production, Lexus has been able to incorporate CFRP in key areas of the LC, which makes a significant contribution to reducing the car’s weight.
One clearly sees how car bodies can be lifted to the ideal height to work on, with the bodies being transported on skids moving on electromagnetic strips between the workstations..
The LC, scheduled to arrive in European showrooms in August, will be available with two powertrains. The V8-powered petrol LC 500 is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission, a world-first for a passenger car. The full hybrid LC 500h benefits from the new Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System, a next-generation technology that delivers multiple benefits in terms of performance and an enhanced driving experience, including higher torque and more direct, linear acceleration from start-off.
We can’t wait to see it in the flesh on our roads and get behind the wheel of these gems, before the end of the year…
Hans Knol ten Bensel