Mark Templin

Mark Templin interview: Planning the Lexus GS F

Just days before its UK debut at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus International, reveals some insights into the importance and specific focus of the hotly anticipated new Lexus GS F.

Lexus GS F 01

As the man responsible for planning the Lexus line-up on global level, what was some of the logic behind the development of the new Lexus GS F?

“I think the GS F is very important, just like all the other performance cars we’re bringing into the marketplace. We have a lot of customers, and a whole group of young consumers coming into the marketplace that want more performance. So we’re able to give them what we have traditionally offered Lexus customers, and give them all the performance they want at the same time. The F brand gives us a great halo across the line-up.”

Lexus GS F 02

Does this extra layer of appeal have any foundation in the original ‘F’ car, the Lexus LFA, and in the manufacturer’s current racing programmes?

“One of the things that Akio Toyoda challenged us with was to show the emotional and fun side of Lexus. We’ve been known for all these great, rational things, but we need to be known for emotional, fun things as well. Racing just makes everything we do better.

“The LFA was a great example of this; it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. By creating the LFA we inspired our engineers and they learned so much about performance that is translating into every other product in the Lexus line-up. As we develop our racing programmes we learn things about performance that will make our F brand even stronger. And that will trickle down into every car in the line-up.”

Lexus GS F 03

What is the development focus of the F brand compared to high-performance lines from other manufacturers?

We were trying to create something unique… a car that made everybody a better driver

“A lot of people write things about the F performance brand based on their perceptions of what the car should be and not our perceptions of what we wanted to create for the marketplace. We were trying to create something unique, that addressed the needs of the driver. And that was a car that made everybody a better driver. There are products that compete in this segment that not everybody can drive and be a great driver. The RC F is a great example of a product that makes everybody a better driver.

“There is a big disconnect between what people think we should build and what we were setting out to build… The philosophy across the F line is the same – a car that is fun to drive and makes everybody a better driver; it’s not about being the fastest.”

Finally, do you see the Lexus F performance brand expanding to other models outside of the RC F and GS F?

“Yes. But that’s all I’ll say about it at the moment.”

 

Click the following link to listen to the full interview with Mark Templin on the Lexus Enthusiasts website.

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