The boil-wash Lexus: smaller LF-SA concept confirmed

Published: 17 February 2015

► First look at new, shrunken Lexus
► Teaser for baby LF-SA concept car
► ‘Honey, I shrunk the Lexus!’

The Geneva motor show announcements are coming thick and fast. And so are the annoyingly sparse teaser announcements, as manufacturers continue to slice and dice every story to continue the drip-feed in a 24/7 rolling news agenda.

Today it’s the turn of Lexus and its new LF-SA concept car. Precious little is known about the Geneva show debutant and the official statement says merely that ‘the new concept reflects Lexus’s passion for new design trends and explores unexpected territories for the brand.’

This is consistent with rumours that the LF-SA is a more compact kind of Lexus to slot beneath the CT200h hatchback. And the solitary teaser image released today points to just that: squint hard and this could indeed be a Lexus Yaris.

Lexus LF-SA: why it’s probably a smaller car

Toyota’s upmarket division is busy reinventing itself to give a shot in the arm to sales that globally stand at a third those of its rival German premium marques.

Lexus sells around half a million cars a year, but in Europe – where small cars continue to sell strongly – it sells only some 50,000 vehicles. The smaller NX crossover should turbocharge that figure in 2015, the European vice president Alain Uyttenhoven told CAR in an interview last year, and he hinted that more downsizing could happen across the range.

We’d say the LF-SA looks like a sub-CT hatchback. There’s clearly some very aggressive styling deployed here on what looks like it could be based on a Yaris architecture

Is this a Lexus Mini rival, then? 

Very possibly. B-segment supermini sales continue to thrive – the Fiesta has been the best-selling car in the UK for many years now – and Lexus could play catch-up with Audi, BMW and Mercedes, all of whom have upmarket small cars on sale today.

Expect some tech tricks onboard, too. ‘The LF-SA has been conceived as a luxurious, driver-focused vehicle, designed to address a future world that is more influenced by technology and virtual experiences,’ says today’s announcement.

Find out what exactly that means at the Geneva motor show on 3 March 2015.

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet