Is Toyota turning into Apple? Selling you its product but dictating to you how you use it?
Well, the rules of purchase may be easing up a bit for U.S. customers of the Lexus LFA supercar.
When Lexus announced the LFA last year, the Japanese automaker said it would only be available to customers in the United States by lease. The rationale behind the decision was that Lexus didn't want customers to turn around and sell the limited series model for a profit to another buyer. Only after the two-year lease was up could they buy the car outright.
And that two-year lease's monthly payments? Zero.
You just have to pay $300,000 (€228,000) up front.
Now, Lexus has backed away (a little) from those stringent terms and issued new, still tough ones. Customers in the U.S. can indeed purchase the car but, for the next 2 years, can only sell it back to the dealer for the original sticker price or its fair market value, whichever is lower. If the owner sells the LFA privately without first giving the buyback option to the dealer, then the dealer is owed whatever profit is made on the sale plus legal fees. Ouch!
Does Lexus really want to shoot itself in the foot with its first foray into supercar territory where you're up against brands such as Ferrari and Lamborghini? Apparently so.
The Lexus LFA is priced at $375,000 (€285,000) in the U.S. market.