Lexus trademarks NX 200t and NX 300h

Another day…another report of a Toyota trademark filing. Or two of them, to be precise: NX 200t and NX 300h, both filed on 15 October 2012 for “use in association with automobiles and structural parts thereof”.

In the United States, Trademark Application No. 85754116 was filed for NX 200t, and Trademark Application No. 85754176 for NX 300h. In Canada, Trade-Mark Application No. 1598147 was filed for NX200t, with its immediate followup No. 1598148 applied for NX300h.

Figuring out what these trademarks will eventually go with is pretty straightforward. They follow a Lexus, as opposed to Toyota or Scion brand naming convention. The second letter X denotes a crossover or SUV. In other words, this is seemingly the RAV4-derived sub-RX Lexus crossover that the world’s automotive press persists in calling by the more Citroën or Mazda-associated CX and that this author previously believed would wear the trademarked-in-2009 TX prefix. As for the numbers, those, too, are fairly obvious. The 200t is the new 2.0-liter, turbo-charged AR engine set to launch in 2014, bearing either the 3AR-FTE or 3AR-GTE engine code, depending on whether it uses an economy-minded narrow-angle valve DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) head or a more performance-oriented wide-angle valve DOHC. The 300h, meanwhile, is the 2AR-FXE 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle hybrid engine used on the current Toyota Camry Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h and upcoming Toyota Avalon Hybrid. It is unlikely to use the D-4S dual direct+port injection system in the front-wheel-drive-centric Lexus NX. The first part of our TMC Environmental Technology Development update article features commentary on both engines.

Finally, it seems that Toyota and Nissan seem to be playing a game of tit-for-tat with dormant two-letter model prefixes. The NX badge adorned a Nissan Sentra-derived sports coupe in the early 1990’s, and Lexus’ using this previously Nissan-centric name might be payback of sorts for the latter’s usurping of Lexus’ unused, trademarked JX prefix for the Infiniti JX crossover SUV.

Our thanks go out to my.IS moderator k3vo for bringing this to our attention in

Lexus trademarks…the spindle grille?!

As we’ve written a number of times in the past, we assiduously follow trademark filings by Toyota, as well as its Lexus and Scion brands for the clues and insights they provide into future product plans. As editor of my.IS, this author has written about the United States and Canadian filings for Lexus’ IS 250C / IS 300C / IS 350C and CT 200h (plus possible upcoming CT 300h and CT 400h variants) months or even years before their release. Here at Kaizen Factor we’ve written similar stories about Scion FR-S, Lexus ES 300h and TX, which we believe is earmarked for the long-rumored Lexus sub-RX small crossover SUV, not to mention the flurry of speculation unleashed by a rumored refiling by Toyota of the Supra trademark. And U.S. and Canadian patent offices are hardly the sole source for this sort of information, as the action has recently shifted Down Under with Australian trademarks for Lexus’ upcoming IS 300h and GS 300h.

Model names are by no means the only trademarkable items, as we reported on the registering of the “86” piston logo back in January 2011. Now comes word, via my.IS moderator k3vo of even more offbeat and unexpected trademark filings for the new face of Lexus, namely the spindle grille in a number of mesh insert iterations. On 26 April 2012, Toyota Motor Corporation filed four trademark applications in Canada and one in the U.S.

The first of these, shown at the top of our story, is Canadian Trademark Application No. 1575185, and features a zigzag mesh insert of the style used in F Sport versions of Lexus’ CT, IS, GS, RX and, soon, LS lines. This was immediately followed by a vertical bar iteration as shown to the right of the second paragraph above, and was filed under Canadian Trademark Application No. 1575186. Notably, none of the model lines that have to date received the spindle grille (CT, GS, LX, RX and ES) use such a vertical pattern. Is Lexus merely hedging its bets here, or can we take this as a clue that, say, the non-F Sport versions of the 3rd-generation IS will wear such an evolutionary vertical pattern? More pleasing to this author’s eye is the third Canadian filing (Application No. 1575191), as shown above left, for the predominantly horizontal pattern used on 2013 LX and ES, as well as non-F Sport versions of CT, GS and RX.

The fourth and final Canadian Trademark Application (No. 1575192) is, perhaps, the most crucial one, for it covers just the simple, basic spindle grille outline or perimeter as shown at right, regardless of texture or pattern contained within.

In the past, most if not all U.S. and Canadian trademark applications have exactly mirrored each other but, in this instance, it seems that the two countries have each gone their own way. Whereas Canada has filed for the four variants illustrated in the previous paragraphs, the United States filed just the single catchall design shown at left, under Application No. 85609282, for the spindle grille outline containing an oval for the Lexus “Circle L” logo.

Lexus and Toyota’s newest registered trademarks: ES 300h and HSD

As we reminded you in an earlier Kaizen Factor story, poking around trademark and copyright applications and registrations filed by carmakers can provide vital clues to their possible future plans. We have just learned of two new trademark applications filed by Toyota Motor Corporation.

The first of these, HSD, was filed on 23 November 2010 under U.S. Trademark Application No. 85183366 and Canadian Trade-Mark Application No. 1504968. This one is rather anticlimactic: it appears that the HSD suffix (an abbreviation for Hybrid Synergy Drive) will become a hybrid model designator in the United States and Canada, just as it is already in Europe (starting with the Toyota Auris HSD).

The second one is only mildly more surprising: ES 300h. After all, we did mention this possibility in a recent Kaizen Factor story. This trademark was registered just over a week ago, on 8 December 2010, as U.S. Trademark Application No. 85193249 and Canadian Trade-Mark Application No. 1507011.

ES 300h is actually the second “300h” trademark registered by Toyota for use by its Lexus marque, after CT 300h. In Lexus hybrid-speak, this will use a 4-cylinder engine of less than 3-liters that, when coupled with the hybrid’s battery system, will provide the performance of a 3-liter V6. Given that the current 2.4-liter 4-cylinder 2AZ-FXE hybrid powertrain is designated by Lexus as an HS 250h, expect an ES 300h to pack a larger and more powerful engine, most likely a 2AR-FXE hybrid powertrain derived from the newer 2.5-liter 2AR-FE 4-cylinder engine. Or it might be a 1AR-FXE hybrid powertrain based on the slightly larger 2.7-liter 4-cylinder 1AR-FE engine from the current Toyota Venza, Highlander and Sienna.

At any rate, it seems that the Lexus ES 300h will share its entire drivetrain with the Camry HSD version of the upcoming 7th-generation of what is still the most popular car in the U.S.

Our thanks to k3vo for providing this information

Will the production version of Toyota’s FT-86 (Toyobaru) coupe be called FR-S?

In the modern Internet age, the traditional spy photo or whispered insider hint have been supplemented by poking around and paying attention to legal filings as sources of information for carmakers’ future plans. The European Union’s patent office has, in the past, provided advance peeks at the Suzuki Kizashi, the Nissan 370Z Roadster and the latest Mazda3, to name but a few examples. And perusing trademark and copyright applications and registrations filed by carmakers can also provide vital clues to their possible future plans.

An online friend in the right places has, in the past, helped this author break the story of Lexus’ naming of the IS 250C / IS 300C / IS 350C and CT 200h (plus possible upcoming CT 300h and CT 400h variants) months or even years before their release.

Now comes word, via a thread on the my.IS forums that Toyota, on 27 May 2010 filed U.S. Trademark Application No. 85049145 and Canadian Trade-Mark Application No. 1482643 for the FR-S trademark, to be used for “Automobiles and structural parts thereof”.

The author of that post speculates that this may well be the official name for the Toyota version of the Toyota/Subaru collaboration car, a.k.a. FT-86 or 086A, a conclusion with which I strongly concur. Yet, I must admit to being previously convinced that the production version of Toyota’s FT-86 would, instead, revive the Celica moniker. So, it is interesting to note that the apparent production name of the Toyota half of the Toyobaru coupe references neither the legendary Corolla AE86 coupe nor the Celica, but rather, the MR-S (Midship Runabout-Spyder), the Japanese Domestic Market name for the Toyota MR2 Spyder. An educated guess is that FR-S stands for Front(-engined) Rear(-wheel drive)-Sports. There is also a more remote possibility that Toyota will revive a name it already “owns” (such as Celica, Sprinter or Trueno) and use FR-S as a denominator for a higher-performance variant.

Another earlier filing also bears watching. Back in 20 October 2009, Toyota filed for the TX trademark under U.S. Trademark Application No. 77852551. That one, this author suspects, is for the long-rumored Lexus sub-RX small crossover SUV believed to be a Toyota RAV4 derivative. A direct rival to the Acura RDX, Mercedes-Benz GLK and upcoming BMW X1, if you will.

Photo of Toyota FT-86 Concept from Toyota USA Newsroom

Our thanks to my.IS member k3vo for providing this information