It was a state of shock that consumers went into when Lexus stated in March that their LFA supercar would only be available on lease and not on a regular purchase deal for the US market. The condition of the lease not being transferable except in case of death of the original leaser further added constraints on the buyer. Lexus have now eased this stringent clause and allowed for outright purchase with the right to first refusal in case the first owner refusing to buy the car or wanting to sell the car.
The reason that Lexus had gone into the lease only clause was to circumvent the retail price fixing rules of US wherein fixing the retail price is not allowed whilst there is no such rules regarding lease conditions. In the case of a new limited edition car coming to the market, dealers usually take advantage and there is a tendency of price gouging by the retailers or resellers. Clearly, Lexus didn’t want any of such things to happen with the LFA which is why they had take the lease route instead of allowing interested consumers outright purchase.
Now as per new rules laid down by Lexus, anyone willing to buy the LFA can do so provided the buyer agrees to sell the car back to Lexus in case they wish to sell the car within the first 2 years of the purchase. The price at which the re-purchase would be fixed would depend on the original sticker price or the current market price, whichever is lower. Such a scheme caters for controlling both the dealers from unnecessarily hiking the price of the car as well as keeping those who wish to buy the car outright instead of having it on lease, in happy contention.
After the two year time limit though, the owners will have the freedom to do whatever they wish to do with the car, just as they would have done with any car purchase. While all of this might not seem too bad, not everyone is liking the idea of the right of first refusal. Even then, the effort put in by Lexus to try and stop third-party price gouging is commendable indeed.
However, with an asking price of around $375,000 for a LFA super car which excludes the optional add-on packages, there are many who would like to point ut that it is Lexus itself that is resorting to price gouging in spite of taking a loss on every car. This becomes all the more apparent if one takes into consideration factors like performance, equipment levels or the brand value of the LFA against the other players in the super car segment like Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini.