What if a luxury automaker offered you the chance to drive the most thrilling model its brand had built in years one Friday? For anyone who likes cars, it would sound like the ideal way to blow off steam and enjoy some refreshments on the automaker’s dime. According to report in Automotive News, such things did not interest foreign journalists ahead of an event for the new Lexus RC sports coupe and its track-blazing RC F variant. When the automaker couldn’t count enough RSVPs from media members, Lexus was prompted to cancel its test-drive event.
Journalists not interested?
At least one media outlet reported that the entire day’s events were canceled “due to insufficient attendance.” Toyota’s PR team later responded on Twitter, “Nice story, but not true” and that “preceding days” were bustling with journalists who wanted to get behind the wheel of the sexiest Lexus in years. It was the foreign journalists and business reporters in Japan who did not bite, the rep tweeted.
That the Automotive News reporter received the email was not in dispute, and there was supporting evidence from a German correspondent as to why Lexus might have seen such little interest in the RC sports coupe test-drive. The German writer complained about potential Friday traffic south of Tokyo, and that such things cast a pedestrian shadow on what should have been a marquee event. (For the record, the German reporter also said Lexus needed to “radiate a certain image” if it expected journalists to attend.)
467 horsepower, few takers
Now, a look at what they turned down. The rear-wheel-drive RC Coupe checks in with a 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of 306 horsepower, a low and aggressive stance, and a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds. So maybe it won’t outrun a Porsche. The RC F sport model, on the other hand, doesn’t have much lacking.
The RC F Sport coupe (also on the test track for journalists at the Lexus event) features 467 horsepower from its 5.0-liter V8 engine. That power allows the RC F to blast from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 168 miles per hour. Now we’re talking.
When Automotive News asked Toyota’s PR team to explain, they seemed at a loss for words, hypothesizing that the interest in cars may be waning in Japan. Yet the gripes about being stuck in traffic sounded more like the real culprit in the equation, especially if one believes previous days were stacked with the domestic press corps.
There aren’t many cancellations when an automaker schedules a promotional drive for its most important new vehicle. That Lexus couldn’t get journalists into the RC F is enough to believe the industry (or at least its media) has changed. Would they have shown up for an event showcasing a new Prius?