Lexus Starts NX Production in Japan, Revives Kanda Factory

Lexus NX production in Japan 4 photos
Photo: Lexus
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The Lexus NX is moving even closer to your doorstep today, as the Japanese automaker announced production has commenced at Lexus’s Miyata plant (Miyawaka, Fukuoka).
The most hotly anticipated model of the year for the brand has already received 6,500 orders in Japan, with more coming in from across the world. Based on the same platform as the Toyota RAV4, the two share a wheelbase and the underbody construction of the front end. However, two radically different engines in tune with modern customer demand are offed by the NX and could take Lexus into the next age age.

Firstly, the NX 200t packs a brand new 2-liter turbo engine mated to a six-speed automatic. There's also an NX 300h hybrid version that uses a 2.5-liter engine in combination with an electric engine that offer a combined 197 hp though an advanced CVT gearbox. Both are available with either front- or all-wheel drive and can be combined with the sexy F Sport body kit for extra curb appeal.

While NX assembly takes place in Miyata, the neighboring Kanda Factory (Kanda, Fukuoka) will make the engines. The SUV provides a greatly needed breath of fresh air for Kanda, where the economic downturn has forced Toyota to shut down one assembly line and substantially reduce overall production.

On August 7th, Toyota Motor announced that it will produce 10 million 2-liter turbo engines per year for models like the NX, expected to be popular in China and the US. As such, production on the second assembly line has been re-started and Toyota is hiring people in expectation of swelling demand.

This is the first time Toyota has a small turbo engine since they discontinued the Caldina (a Corolla-based JDM hatch) back in 2007. Many more models, including the ES and IS , are expected to wear the 200t badge in coming years.

Recent media activity suggests Lexus is on to something big with the NX, a niche car that's also a lifestyle choice. Like the Jaguar F-Type, it captures mainstream media attention in an effortless way. The August edition of GQ Japan describes it as a "new wave of SUV", eye-catching and original.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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