Bespoke

Lexus let Twitch users customize an IS; here's what they came up with

Gamers on Fuslie's Twitch channel customized the car.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

More and more automakers are working to harness the power of new social media and streaming platforms. Ford recently designed an esports vehicle via Twitter and General Motors has worked with TikTok stars to get the work out about their products. Now, the first vehicle designed by and for the Twitch community has been unveiled.

During a livestream last month, more than 554,000 viewers watched Fuslie's channel and weighed in on their favorite features of the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport. They voted on modifications ranging from the gaming-themed exterior wrap to the custom controller to their "game fuel" beverage of choice. Lexus then worked with the fabrication experts at SCPS to bring the custom, crowdsourced car to life as a totally immersive gaming vehicle.

2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport: Gamer's IS

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Gamer's IS was customized by gaming enthusiasts via Twitch.

"The Twitch community dives headfirst into their passion of gaming, just as we did in designing the new 2021 Lexus IS as a pure expression of a sports sedan," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of marketing at Lexus. "We asked for their help designing their dream gaming space, and they answered in spades. Together, we created the ultimate fusion of design and performance in automotive and gaming."

The result is the Gamer's IS, a car wrapped in "infiltrate" design custom vinyl, which was chosen by 48 percent of the voters using a Twitch poll.

More than half of the users selected the "Neon Tokyo" style of the car's interior versus the competitor designs. It features an electrified, neuron-exploding Japanese pop art aesthetic. The ceiling sports a clear layer of acrylic embedded with resin "raindrops" all backlit with programmable RGB LED lights, meant to give off the effect of driving under the lights of downtown Tokyo at night in a light rain. Behind the rear seats, LED panels project programmable content onto the rear window, creating an animated backdrop. SCPS included many custom upholstery elements into the design of the Gamers' IS interior. Smart Tint on the windows dims the cabin for gameplay.

A custom-built gaming PC with an MSI Gaming GeForce GPU + AMD CPU is installed in the vehicle's trunk. It has sleek custom housing, all highlighted by programmable RGB LED's. A fog machine and automated RGB lasers were also installed.

Taking up the passenger space in the Lexus IS's front row is a fully integrated gaming system complete with haptic feedback in the seat and a high-def, fully positional curved monitor. The curved monitor was chosen over a flat one by nearly two-thirds of Twitch voters. The system features a retractable keyboard and mouse platform, and a one-of-a-kind 3D printed game controller. Forty-two percent of voters chose the "Cyber" design for the controller, which features a metallic space gray and dark teal finish with neon accents.

Filling the six-drink center console cooler is the community's "game fuel" of choice—coffee drinks—as selected by 61 percent of voters. The entire vehicle is custom wired, including all the electronics and programmable lighting.

The car will not go on sale, but may end up at an auto show near you.

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NXP Semiconductors has two chip plants in Texas that were effected by Winter Storm Uri.

Photo courtesy of NXP Semiconductors N.V.

The effects of Winter Storm Uri are still being felt across Texas and it's impacting the auto industry. Reporting by Reuters tells that chipmakers, like Samsung Electronics, are still weeks away from resuming normal operations in Texas.

Traditionally, this sort of production slowdown wouldn't much impact the industry. There would typically be enough dealership and inventory and automaker back stock to make up for many, if not all of the shortages for a short period of time. However, COVID-19 has put a strain on the chipmaking industry and is already slowing production, limiting sales, and hurting automaker bottom lines.

There's also been increased demand for semiconductor chips as sales of laptops, gaming consoles, and other entertainment and exercise equipment soared as coronavirus-related lockdowns changed lifestyles globally.

Ford and General Motors have both said that their 2021 sales and profits will be hit hard by the shortage. Additional analysis by Reuters says that Toyota has enough inventory to last four months while Hyundai and Kia, which share common ownership, purchased a stockpile of chips when production was going full steam in late December and are thus far unaffected.

Samsung and NXP Semiconductors shut their factories in Texas last month when Winter Storm Uri took hold. Like Lone Star State households, Texas businesses lost access to electricity, natural gas, and water.

Samsung's logic chip plant is located in Austin. It began operating 2017 and makes chips using Samsung's 14-nanometer, 28-nm and 32-nm chip production technologies. The facility is Samsung's biggest logic chip production facility outside of South Korea, where the company is headquartered. The company also has a NAND flash chip facility in Austin.

NXP's plants are also in Austin where the company has its corporate headquarters. While there are nine other NXP offices in the U.S., there are no other manufacturing sites.

Edward Latson, CEO of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, told Reuters that chipmakers now have the power, water and gas they need to operate, but they need time to restart tools and clean the factories. He characterized the process as being slow and "very expensive".

The one month of lost production is most likely to hit automakers hardest five months down the road, in the third quarter.

Many analysts had been predicting an uptick in new vehicle sales for 2021 after car sales rallied in the fourth quarter of 2020. However, these chip shortages are deeply impacting those sales predictions.

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Lexus and fashion brand RTFKT have teamed up to create a shoe inspired by the Lexus IS.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

You've heard of the saying "when rubber meets the road". A new 2021 Lexus IS-inspired shoe by RTFKT is playing on that phrase, delivering a concept that combines the looks and appeal of the compact car with untraditional materials.

"We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS," said Chris Le, creative director and co-founder of RTFKT. "All the intricate design elements come together, and at a first glance it's a neckbreaker," added Steven Zaptio, CEO and co-founder of RTFKT.

The one-of-one shoe features deign elements inspired by the Lexus IS 350 F Sport Dynamic Handling Package. The package is a $4,200 add-on to the top -tier Lexus IS F Sport and is available on cars equipped with front- or all-wheel drive. Adding the Dynamic Handling Package gives the car Drive Mode Select (Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom modes), an F Sport heated ash wood steering wheel, F Sport-tuned adaptive variable suspension, F Sport 19-inch split-seven-spoke forged alloy matte black BBS wheels, a carbon fiber rear spoiler, a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, ash wood interior trim, and a SmartAccess card key.

The car that inspired the project includes the Dynamic Handling Package.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2021 Lexus IS

The shoes are RTFKT's first pair of footwear inspired by and partly constructed from vehicle materials. The base of the shoe features a sole resembling a tire. The front is shaped like the IS's signature spindle grille, with 3D-printed material imitating the carbon fiber spoiler of the car.

The sides of the sneaker showcase Black NuLuxe with light gray stitching from the seats, with a middle silver stripe inspired by the details of the headlights. The team added an F Sport-branded tag on the side and a Lexus badge covering the top Velcro strap. Lastly, they selected a vibrant blue hue for the sneaker that most closely resembles Grecian Water, a new color for Lexus in 2021.

"We wanted to make sure when the audience looks at the sneaker they instantly know it is the IS," said Chris Le, creative director and co-founder of RTFKT. "All the intricate design elements come together, and at a first glance it's a neckbreaker," added Steven Zaptio, CEO and co-founder of RTFKT.

The sneaker's creators were inspired by multiple elements of the Lexus IS.Photo courtesy of Lexus

The sneaker creation process was documented by RTFKT and entertainment media company Complex and turned into a three-part video series "Rubber & Sole," now live on Complex.com. The first episode features Zapito and Le taking notes from the redesigned Lexus vehicle. The second video has them moving into the sketch and sourcing phase and the final episode showcases the final details of the sneaker.

"RTFKT put the same passion into developing this one-of-a-kind shoe that we did in developing the new 2021 Lexus IS," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing. "Steven and Chris delivered a head-turning sneaker that unmistakably mirrors the bold design and impressive performance of the IS."

The special edition sneaker inspired by the 2021 Lexus IS sport sedan will not be available for sale.

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