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Lexus Announces Plans for First Convertible

20 April 2000

Lexus Announces Plans for First Convertible
    NEW YORK, April 20 Lexus announced today that it will
introduce its first convertible, the SC 430.  Due in spring 2001, the new
two-door will be based on the Lexus Sport Coupe Concept car, which debuted at
the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show.

    The new SC 430 has an elegant design and a retractable hardtop that will
transform it from a 2+2 coupe into a convertible with the push of a button.
The production model will be powered by the new Lexus 4.3 V8 engine that will
make its first U.S. appearance in the redesigned LS 430 on sale this fall.
The SC 430 engine will produce a potent 300 horsepower.

    "Many customers have told me their dream is a Lexus convertible, and now
we're happy to help make dreams come true," said Bryan Bergsteinsson, Lexus
group vice president and general manager.  "The SC 430 will offer buyers a
premium luxury convertible with performance, fun and style, as well as all
that comes with the Lexus ownership experience."

    Elegant Design, Inside and Out
    The SC 430's design will feature functional beauty with sleek lines and
intelligent packaging.  Lexus designers from Europe and Japan worked together
to create the convertible.  The exterior was crafted by the company's European
design center.  Chief Exterior Designer Sotiris Kovos sought design
inspiration in a location renowned for high-end luxury -- the French Riviera.
He spent several weeks there observing people and products to gain insight
into truly luxurious lifestyles.

    "It is very important to be able to design products that fit the overall
environment and the taste of the people using them," said Kovos.  "We
discovered that people there (on the French Riviera) show a clear preference
to products and services with a high degree of simplicity, character,
sophistication and quality."

    Among the sights along the Riviera that inspired Kovos were the many
high-performance luxury yachts.  The SC 430 will share an essential trait with
those yachts -- all season pleasure.  Passengers on a luxury yacht can enjoy
sunbathing in fair weather, while finding security and comfort inside during
inclement weather.  The retractable aluminum hardtop provides similar
versatility in the SC 430.  A simple push of one button will raise or lower
the roof, while still leaving room in the trunk for a set of golf clubs.  The
2+2 layout will offer room in the back seats for small children or extra

    A long wheelbase and short overhangs will give the SC 430 a muscular
stance, highlighted by 18-inch wheels.  The forward-positioned roof will
combine prominent front hood styling and pronounced wheel arches to convey a
powerful sense of forward motion.  Uncluttered sides will render a classically
elegant look, while the stylish design of the head and taillights will also
contribute to the luxurious yet sporty attitude.

    While the exterior was being perfected in Europe, Satoru Kuno was in Japan
working to match the purpose and elegance of the exterior lines with an
equally emotional interior.  Kuno and his team chose to emphasize the natural
beauty of leather and wood, rather than creating unnatural forms from plastic

    "I started by looking at simple materials with intrinsic beauty --
materials like natural leather and wood," said Kuno.  "These materials have
unique, natural constraints on how they can be manipulated, so rather than
using plastic that can be freely molded, I chose to work with materials that
have limits."  He describes the results as "a clean-cut feeling of luxury."

    Powerful Beauty

    The new rear-wheel drive SC 430 convertible will be powered by a
300-horsepower aluminum, double overhead-cam, 4.3-liter V8 engine with
Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), coupled with a five-speed
automatic transmission.  Front and rear double wishbone independent suspension
attached to the chassis will minimize vibrations and contribute to a smooth

    Lexus created a purpose-built high-performance platform for the SC 430.
By designing the car as a convertible from the start, engineers optimized its
structure to provide excellent rigidity whether the retractable hardtop is
raised or lowered.  The structural solidity also will allow Lexus to tune the
suspension to deliver responsive handling and smooth ride compliance at the
same time.

    Given that luxury amenities are the benchmark in the luxury category, the
SC 430 will offer a multitude of convenience features including easy-to-read
analog gauges, a navigation system, premium audio system, advanced climate
control and sporty leather seats with memory functions for driver and

    Pure Luxury Amenities

    At its inception, Lexus introduced new standards for factory-installed
audio systems.  To raise the ante for automotive audio again, Lexus worked
with home audio experts Mark Levinson to develop a new type of sound system
for the SC 430.  Nine strategically located speakers will turn the interior
into a personal listening room that makes every seat in the car "the best seat
in the house."  The steering wheel will feature controls for essential
functions of the system, and an electronic door -- similar to a home audio
cabinet -- will hide the sound system controls.

    The SC 430 will feature an advanced climate control system that will allow
this coupe to experience more top-down driving time than conventional
convertibles.  The system will adjust airflow and temperature automatically,
differentiating between top-up and top-down driving needs.

    On hot days, the climate control system will take into account the
exterior temperature to ensure occupants stay cool when driving at slower
speeds, without overriding the cooling effect of the wind during top-down
freeway cruising.  When driving in cooler weather with the top down, the
system will target the foot area, where it forms pockets of heat, and the lap
area, which immediately warms the upper legs.

    Complete Lexus Line

    The SC 430, which will replace the current SC 400, will be Lexus' third
new product in a year.  The IS 300 compact sport sedan debuts this summer and
the LS 430 premium luxury sedan arrives in the fall.  Lexus' product line-up
also includes the ES 300 entry-level luxury sedan, GS 400/300 high-performance
sport sedans, RX 300 mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the LX
470 premium luxury SUV.

    Lexus vehicles are available at 191 dealerships, which have created a
tradition of remarkable service, quality and customer satisfaction.