While the Japanese automaker has held the upper hand in almost every category of “new wave” vehicles since the late 1990s, the tag “elite” isn’t applied as often to cars bearing its name (or the Lexus name) as much as they’d like. But teaming up with BMW and the cache their moniker carries could bring Toyota to that elusive upper echelon.
The talk now indicates the two companies are set to create a $300,000-plus hybrid sports car that will be the first of its kind. The car will reportedly build on some of what Lexus models have done well in terms of luxury offerings, but hopefully will take more of a hold with consumers than Lexus’ offerings have so far.
This isn’t going to be a one-time collaboration between the sides either. Toyota and BMW are said to have signed a two-year deal and will make other vehicles if this first venture goes well.
So what will this hybrid endeavor offer consumers? It will reportedly be a two-door, carbon-fiber hybrid, with 600+ horsepower. Considering the hefty price tag it will carry, the amount of power it produces will be critical to some. However, it will be interesting for many to see which kind of carbon fiber the manufacturers go with. While BMW uses carbon fiber reinforced plastic on their current hybrid models, Toyota has spearheaded a lot of research into genuine carbon fiber, which could end up being the route they take.
What kind of fuel economy this new hybrid is able to offer remains somewhat in question, but given that Toyota, a company that always gave off an air of wanting to better the environment with their hybrids over their bottom line, may be willing to make certain sacrifices in order to elevate the overall brand.
For BMW, the move seems motivated by a desire to break into the burgeoning hybrid market with a company that has lead the way in it since the start, while also maintaining their commitment to luxury. It’s actually a very smart match from a business perspective.
Still, how will consumers respond? Will people line up to shell out more than $300,000 for a two-door hybrid just because it could beat a Prius in a drag race? Time will tell as more information becomes readily available. But all signs point to this vehicle being a top priority for both sides so it could be here before we know it.
Let the judgement begin.