Interview: Paul Rohovsky on the Lexus LFA

Paul Rohovsky | National Manager of Advanced Business Development, Lexus

Lexus plans to offer only 500 LFAs in total worldwide over a two-year period. Who gets the opportunity to buy one?
We're going to build a list through our call center for three months, and then we're going to look at those names and see if we can identify people who support our marketing image, as far as name recognition and influence in their community. We would prefer to have people who are driving the car, as opposed to somebody who wants to keep it in a private collection and never let it see the light of day. We want to get these cars out and exposed.

What about someone who has been a Lexus loyalist for years, who has a long-standing relationship with a Lexus dealer and the means to buy the LFA but who isn't exactly a boldface name?
We are working with our dealers now to identify some Lexus loyalists who are interested. We want to take care of our Lexus family. By no means are we trying to target celebrities or Hollywood. We're looking for people who are influential in their community, and that could be a business leader, a local entrepreneur, a car collector.

What happens when someone contacts the call center?
There's an explanation of the overall process. We ask what interested them in the vehicle. How do they typically use a car like this? On the track? Do they show it? Is it an everyday driver? And then we take their name, address, et cetera. So it's a very short call. The call center is open now [866-LFA-4794], and we hope to do the vetting process in January and notify customers in February. Once someone is accepted, they'll have about fourteen days to visit their dealer and put down a $10,000 deposit, which is refundable. Then, one of the product specialists and the dealer will get together with the customer and spec out the vehicle. We have two ordering time periods: June 2010 and December 2010.

How will you avoid speculators?
We're studying a process very similar to how Ferrari handled the F50 and the Enzo, where they held the title for a defined period, through the complete retail process. For us, that starts in January 2011, when the first cars are delivered, and goes through January 2013, when the last cars are delivered.

Ultimately, you want these cars on the street, since there aren't going to be many of them.
Yes. We want people to use the LFA, either on the street or on the track. It's a brand builder for Lexus, it's a halo for our F-Sport parts line. It shows that Lexus is not just quality, dependability, reliability, and great customer care. There's some passion in the brand, as well.

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