Sales collapse of segment-leading Chevy Corvette leads segment to unexpected Q3 sales dropSales of Large Sports Cars and Exotics suffered an unexpected collapse in the third quarter of the year – after declining by around 5% in the first two quarters of the year they fell by 23% in the third quarter. Time will tell if this is a sign of tough times ahead, or possibly a temporary correction after two strong quarters. The lack of new metal won’t help – while the new Lexus LC is proving a big hit with buyers, many of the segment stalwarts are rapidly moving past their “sell by” date (Mercedes-Benz SL, Maserati GranTurismo).
Lexus LC enjoys a strong market debut to rank fourth in Q2’17 standings, while Porsche 911 continues to lose salesSales of Large Sports Cars and Exotics fell by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2017, a slower pace of decline than the 10.4% registered in 2016, or the 5.5% registered in the first quarter of the year. Could this be a sign that the segment is going through a bit of a resurgence? As we previously mentioned, this segment had undergone a huge growth in years past, so the recent declines come from a heady height, and suggest the segment may simply be stabilizing at a sort of “good times” average size, before once again shrinking drastically when the next recession hits (such is the fate of a segment where most cars sell for well over $100,000).
So Lamborghini claims to have developed the Centenario to celebrates the 100th anniversary of the brand’s founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, but they’d better just admit that it really is a farewell tribute to the departuring CEO Stephan Winkelmann who has saved the company from extinction in his 11-year tenure at the brand. Winkelmann has turned a struggling, low-volume money-pit into a successful cashcow, which produces more supercars than ever and is preparing to launch a third model line with an über-SUV in two years time, which will undoubtedly rake in more cash. But the insane looking, all-out special editions launched under Winkelmann’s watch are what both boost the brand image and bring in the cash: the Veneno, the Sesto Elemento, the Reventon. And now the Centenario: a 770 hp, naturally aspirated V12 engine launches the carbon-bodied Centenario to 300 km/h in 23,5 seconds and doesn’t stop until 350 km/h. All 40 (20 coupes and 20 roadsters) have already been sold out at € 1,75 million a piece, before taxes.
Lexus LC 500h
Lexus stunned the world when it showed the concept car-like production version of its LC500 Coupe in Detroit last January. In Geneva the brand debuts the hybrid version of the new luxury coupe. It’s equipped with the next-generation Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, called “Multi-Stage Hybrid”, promising higher performance and efficiency. Combining a 3,5 liter V6 petrol engine with an electric motor gives a combined 354 hp of power, sent to the wheels through a four-speed gearbox. Despite Lexus’ claims, expect this car to be closer to a GT than to a thoroughbred sports car.
The two Japanese luxury brands Lexus and Infiniti stole the show at the North American International Auto Show with sexy production versions of their new luxury sports coupes, and both stunned the audience by looking surprisingly similar to their concept versions. That’s always a good thing, because concept cars are usually sexy, futuristic and out-of-this-world, but then often the resulting production version is no more than a watered down, compromised and ordinary rehash with all the things that made the concept so sexy removed. Ask Subaru, they know all about this strategy.
None of that disappointment with these two, as both have a low, wide look and an aggressive appearance, the Lexus LC clearly even more so than the Infiniti Q60. Lexus has designed a wild looking, widebody coupe with angular lines, a mesh spindle grille, grey detailing around the triangular headlights, and droopy Prius-style rear lights. The Infiniti Q60 is less extreme, but not less sexy with its low grille and long, wide nose and a muscular shoulder line above the rear wheels, ending in a wide rear end. [Read more…]