TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. is taking another stab at using carbon fiber, following the retirement of the Lexus LFA sports car.
This time, it is rolling out a concept sports version of the Japan-market Toyota Mark X sedan with a carbon fiber roof.
It is a strong hint at how Toyota plans to use more of the ultralight, superstrong material throughout its lineup.
The concept car will go on display Friday, Jan. 11, at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Japan’s version the Specialty Equipment Market Association equipment and tuner show.
The Mark X is a Japan-market-only sedan positioned just below the Camry. A special G’s sports line was introduced in October. Toyota replaced that car’s roof with a carbon fiber one for the salon.
The move shaves 6 kilograms, or 13 pounds, from the Mark X and lowers the center of gravity by a fraction of an inch, in the interest of making the car sportier.
Toyota won’t say whether the carbon fiber-roofed Mark X will enter production. Doing so would be the automaker’s first use of the pricey material outside of the $375,000 Lexus LFA.
After a two-year limited-edition run of 500 units, the final LFA, which had an all-carbon fiber body, came off the line in December.
With the end of LFA production, Toyota is looking for new ways to use the in-house carbon fiber mill it opened inside its Motomachi assembly plant complex in Toyota City. Aside from making spare parts for the LFA, the carbon fiber line remains largely idle.