Lexus LF-SA Concept vs 2011 Mini Rocketman Concept
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Lexus has been sitting idle while other luxury brands like Audi and BMW have thrown their hats (er, cars) into the supermini segment. More popular in Europe than on our shores the small hatchbacks are perfect for European roads. However, automakers like Smart and Scion have tried their luck in North America, but pick up trucks and SUVs continue to dominate the streets.

With small cars gaining popularity everywhere Lexus has decided to bypass the superminis and head straight into the ultra compact category with the introduction of the U2+2 Concept at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show. But it’s not the first luxury brand to tap into the segment. In 2011 Aston Martin decided to put their own spin on the Scion iQ and name it Cygnet. It was essentially an accessorized, trimmed-out, more expensive iQ. Even with limited production and availability the gamble didn’t pay off and the Cygnet was discontinued after only three model years. Now, that doesn’t mean luxury and ultra compact don’t mix. Had the Cygnet been built from the ground up instead of being a rebadged Scion it may have received warmer reviews. Lexus doesn’t have that problem; and neither does Mini Cooper.

The BMW offspring has been toying with the idea of offering a luxury, ultra compact car since 2011. The Mini Rocketman concept was introduced in Geneva exactly four years ago. Despite great enthusiasm the idea was shelved, then brought back, then shelved again. Perhaps Mini is waiting for the right time; and perhaps the right time has come for people to buy compact luxury. Last September Mini rehashed the idea of putting the Rocketman into production. Now, Lexus has a concept of their own. This is more than just a coincidence; small cars are becoming more and more popular, and luxury brands can’t stay away for long. Being the most recent entry, Lexus is one step ahead of Mini for the race to launch the smallest luxury vehicle.