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LEXUS CONCEPT VEHICLE EXPLORES FUTURE OF LUXURY CARS

DETROIT, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Combining the most desirable attributes of all-purpose vehicles and luxury sedans, the Lexus FLV (Future Luxury Vehicle) makes its first appearance outside of Japan at the North American International Auto Show today.

The FLV is a creation of Calty Design Research, Toyota's design center based in Newport Beach, California. The design is one answer to the question of what types of vehicles car buyers will want when their lifestage need for minivans and other multi-purpose vehicles is finished.

"The FLV is strictly a design exercise, even though it is a fully functional, front-drive luxury vehicle incorporating numerous new technologies," said Jim Press, Lexus senior vice president and general manager. "Calty designers tackled the task of combining the personality of a sport coupe, the comfort of a luxury sedan and the utility of a minivan."

Many families will soon find that they no longer need a minivan, yet they still appreciate the practicality of usable space as they look for greater luxury and a stronger sense of style.

"Our goal was to create the best of both worlds, very comfortable seating for five, luxurious interior appointments and styling that isn't reminiscent of sport utility vehicles or minivans," commented Chief Designer Erwin Lui. "A key styling theme which separates it from minivans is a full-length body shoulder rather than a single, slab-sided fuselage like a minivan."

Unusually efficient packaging design permits limousine-like legroom and headroom figures the same as a minivan but in a sedan-sized ground space. The FLV's overall height of 60 inches is approximately halfway between the Lexus ES 300 near-luxury sedan (53.9 inches) and Toyota's Previa minivan (68.7 inches).

The FLV provides comfortable seating for five passengers. A wide- opening rear door and folding rear seats create a large cargo area.

Thanks to generous headroom, the seat cushion height, known as the "H" point, is situated higher than typical sedans and lower than sport utility vehicles and minivans. This results in nearly ideal entry and exit ease, so that passengers need not climb up or down into the cabin.

The oval silhouette creates a sporty yet elegant form. Teardrop shaped side windows add distinctive touch.

The FLV is based on a front-wheel-drive platform, with a 3.0-liter all-aluminum engine and four wheel independent suspension. Thanks to its low center of gravity, it enjoys sedan-like ride and cornering stability. The FLV rides on a wheelbase of 107 inches. Overall length of 188 inches is nearly the same as the ES 300 near-luxury sedan. Overall width is 70.9 inches.

Calty Design Research, established in 1971, was the first permanent West-Coast design studio established by an automaker. It provides advanced concept design and production design for Toyota Motor Corporation and is a key element in the company's Americanization efforts.
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/CONTACT: Mike Michels, 310-781-3282, or Tracy Underwood, 310-781-3279, both of Lexus Public Relations/

CO: Lexus ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: PDT

KL-BB -- LATH008 -- 0883 01/04/96 11:00 EST
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1996
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