Reports are coming in that Japanese auto manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs on vehicles being exported to the United States in order to squeeze profits due to the record high yen against the dollar. A prime example is the new GS 350 from Lexus, that has been highly anticipated and praised by the American media.
Though many of the cost-cutting measure will be unnoticeable to the average day consumer, knowing that certain things were done to a luxury sedan is disheartening. For example, Lexus used asphalt spray instead of laminate sheeting for noise suppression on the underbody and recycled plastic instead of virgin for the protective cover beneath the engine, in order to cut costs. That’s not all, as some technical decisions seem to have been impacted due to the surging yen, as we’ll be seeing Lexus’s old six-speed transmission rather than a new seven- or eight-speed that competitors are offering in their new luxury sedans.
Slightly reassuring though is that Yoshihiko Kanamori, chief engineer for the GS 350, did state that “There were no items omitted that I would like to have, but with this exchange rate we will have to raise the price.” A compromise that Lexus found is offering all the bells and whistles in their F Sport variant which will undoubtedly be drastically different in price from the base GS 350.
[Source: Automotive News]