Arts & Culture

Malcom Gladwell launches new podcast that takes listeners behind the scenes at Lexus

Celebrated storyteller Malcom Gladwell takes listeners behind the scenes at Lexus in a new podcast.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

He's written several bestselling books, been a longtime storytelling in The New Yorker magazine, and has hosted the Revisionist History podcast. Malcom Gladwell is also a self-proclaimed car nut. He's has teamed up with Lexus for a six-part podcast that is available now.

The podcast is titled "Go and See", which is an approximate translation of the Japanese "genchi genbutsu," or "go and see for yourself." The idea stems from the idea that if someone goes to see how something is made, designed, or created, they'll gain a greater understanding of the people behind the method. Lexus has invited Gladwell to visit Japan to take a behind-the-scenes look at Lexus operations.

Go And See Malcom Gladwell The podcast is available on a number of platforms.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

"Human-centered design has been a Lexus core value since inception, and this has led to some interesting and original approaches through the years," said Lisa Materazzo, vice president of marketing at Lexus. "Malcolm Gladwell's curiosity is contagious, and we are so pleased that he accepted our invitation to take a closer look at Lexus. I believe he was able to gain an understanding of how we learn by studying people. The resulting podcast series is truly intriguing."

According to a release, the podcast series follows Gladwell as he travels to the company's headquarters in Japan, explores a top-secret racetrack, and shadows engineers and executives.

Lexus excels at infusing key components of Japanese culture into its vehicles' identity. Take, for example, the oragami-inspired folds of material in the Lexus LS.

The podcast takes a deeper look at this including how a Japanese tea ceremony influenced the engineering of a car window; to the musical composition of a coupe's engine and the emotions it elicits.

"I once had a Lexus sports car and loved it. But after I gave it up, I didn't really give them much more thought," said Gladwell. "In Japan, I saw firsthand just how much thought and cultural know-how and expertise goes into the final product."

Recorded over 10 weeks from December through February, Gladwell's own Pushkin Industries produced the six-part series in partnership with Lexus. The first episode became available on March 5, 2020, and new episodes launch on subsequent Thursday.s Listeners can stream or download the series from Apple Podcasts, Radio.com, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Pocketcast, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Castbox, NPR One, Web Players and more.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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New luxury full-size SUV

All-new 2022 Lexus LX 600 will be here soon

The new LX will go on sale in early 2022.

Lexus

The Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX are among the most revered off-road vehicles of all time. Even so, Toyota is cutting the Land Cruiser in the U.S. after the 2021 model year due to slow sales. We will see its twin, however, as the 2022 Lexus LX was just announced. The full-size SUV will go on sale in the first quarter of 2022 and will bring all two new trims, more intuitive tech, and updated but familiar exterior styling.

2022 Lexus LX The new LX gets a twin-turbo V6 instead of a big V8, and its new platform shaves weight while improving rigidity.Lexus

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 comes in five trims: Standard, Premium, Luxury, F Sport, and Ultra Luxury. The new Ultra Luxury trim cuts the number of seats to four by replacing the rear bench with a pair of plush reclining captain's chairs. A rear entertainment system and large rear center console complete the top-level trim. Also new for 2022 is the LX F Sport, which brings Lexus' sharp appearance package to the LX for the first time. The F Sport gets exclusive 22-inch wheels, aggressive exterior styling, and sport seats with unique color schemes.

The LX is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. The body-on-frame SUV rides on an all-new GA-F platform that Lexus says is 20 percent more rigid than that of the previous model. Lexus also carved 441 pounds out of the previous LX's platform weight.

2022 Lexus LX The LX is available in five trims, including a new top Premium Luxury model. Lexus

A new Active Height Control (AHC) system and adaptive suspension provide stability and a comfortable ride while retaining the LX's off-road capabilities. AHC allows the driver to select from three ride heights depending on the situation, and a low setting is available for entering and exiting the vehicle. Three wheel sizes are available, and the F Sport trim comes with a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Lexus updated the LX's cabin for 2022 with new infotainment system and a cleaner, more upscale design. A new dual-screen infotainment system is standard. The top 12.3-inch touchscreen handles audio and infotainment duties, while the lower 7.0-inch touchscreen is used for climate controls and related settings. The LX also gets Lexus' new infotainment software, which promises to be more intuitive and simpler than previous systems. Over-the-air updates will bring new features and update existing functionality, while voice controls can command audio, navigation, phone, and other vehicle settings.

2022 Lexus LX Ultra Luxury trim reduces seating capacity to four but makes the LX's cabin seriously plush.Lexus

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