I don't consider TOM'S, TRD, TTE a TRUE tuner for us (meaning the USA market) because they don't make "real" engine mods for the US models...
To me, a TRUE tuner can turn out a fully TUNED (meaning suspension, engine, etc.) car like Brabus, Hamann, Carlsson, Hartge, etc., etc...they do it for the German models and the US models...that's a TUNER!
Unfortunately, most Japanese tuners have a rather "snobbish" attitude to the US market. They don't understand the US market and they don't care to understand (or they think we should adopt "their" attitude). They figure that they make enough money as it is with their own market so "screw" the US market...
That's why I think we need a US based tuner. Someone that makes everything that TRD makes, everything that TOM'S makes, etc., etc...if they don't want our money, someone else does.
Could you imagine if TOM'S just said "OK, let's do it!" and gave the US 100% support bringing out "FULLY TUNED" TOM'S GS's, LS's, SC's, and IS's?
Imagine a SUPERCHARGED and BUILT V8 IS430 (like the TTE, but actually available here)...would make the M3 and AMG C32 look kinda silly.
How about the same for a GS? A 450HP GS? A 5.0 Liter 500HP LS500?
Sure, they'd be high ticket items and they'd only sell a few, but think about the BIGGER PICTURE...What image does Mercedes have with AMG? They're expensive as hell, they only a few, but they use that "mindset" to sell their "standard" models...just like M for BMW...not everyone can afford a M3 or a M5, but the 325 and 525 buyers think their cars are "performance" cars like the M's w/o the 0-60 and 1/4 mile times... (if that makes sense)
It's unfortunate that Toyota/Lexus is SUCH a conservative company...their "efforts" with L-Tuned are just PATHETIC and let's face it, compared to the AMG and M, it's rather **EMBARASSING** (I could never "proudly" drive a L-tuned car...I can't even call it "tuning"...). Is it any wonder our cars are labeled as "RICE" by the German crowd...the L-tuned IS300 is NOTHING but a body kit, wheels, and lowering...compared to a AMG C32 or a M3, it is RICE (it just "looks fast" and really isn't). Is it any wonder that more people respect Mercedes and BMW? Reliability, Dealer "niceness", and Corporate care only go so far...it's obvious as Mercedes and BMW have NO PROBLEMS selling their overpriced, under featured cars with *****ty dealer attitude, *****ty reliability, *****ty interiors, and *****ty corporate attitude...
How often do you see BMW and Mercedes dealers give you one of their cars for $1000 over dealer invoice? Anyone price a Sportcross lately?
Eh...ok, I'm venting...I just think Lexus has something right at the tip of their fingers and they're just pissing it away...it's not like they'd go out of business if they made a M/AMG fighter and it never took off...take a risk...they did with the 2nd generation GS and it doesn't look like they did too bad!
It's time for Lexus to understand that they can not only have a "luxury" image, but they can have a "performance" image. Mercedes and BMW have PROVEN this. But it's not just Lexus, I think most Japanese auto companies do half-hearted attempts in the USA (except for some of the Acuras and the Nissan Sentra SE-R V-spec which are pretty good attempts)...it's like we're just their bastard child...imagine if they didn't have the US market...they wouldn't be where they are today.
Maybe I'm just a nut case?