Toyota has spent big money developing carbon-fiber construction methods for the Lexus LFA. Now it's looking at using the material in more commonplace cars, but an LFA Roadster isn't in the cards.
When Toyota first opened for business in 1936, it wasn't making cars - it was making looms for spinning fabric. Now it's using looms again in its advanced carbon-fiber manufacturing facility. The factory in Motomachi, Japan, opened in October 2010 with the single purpose of building the Lexus LFA. Rather than outsource the production of the supercar's carbon-intensive construction to an established specialist, Toyota opted to develop the competence in-house at great cost.
With the LFA's production run now finished, however, Toyota is reportedly looking to apply its carbon-fiber abilities to other (more affordable) cars. Just which cars will be the first to receive carbon-fiber components or more pervasive construction remains to be seen, and Toyota is apparently remaining tight-lipped. But we wouldn't expect to see the next Corolla built out of the expensive, lightweight material just yet. The process is still incredibly time- and cost-intensive. What is apparent at this point is that Toyota and its premium division Lexus won't be building an immediate successor to the LFA any time soon. At least not out of carbon fiber, and not in Japan.
The rising value of the Yen is just too strong for Toyota to justify that, and the LFA's extensive use of carbon fiber already drove the supercar's price up to $375,000. That also unfortunately means that the rumored second run of LFA roadsters won't be coming any time soon, either. Which may be a small price to pay for bringing carbon construction more into the mainstream, but will come as sad news for supercar enthusiasts.