• Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser custom-designed for Santa.
  • Based on the Lexus LF-LC Concept first seen at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
  • Feature set tailored to Santa's toy delivery needs.

According to a press release from Lexus, Santa just narrowly avoided a real mess. The luxury automaker reports that Santa's reindeer - including Rudolph - scored a deal on travel to Hawaii and, just ahead of Christmas, left the frigid North Pole for warmer weather. Fortunately for children around the world, Santa didn't call off the holiday. Instead, he called Lexus.

"I needed a self-propelled sleigh with every bell and whistle to complete my task of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls around the world."

No ordinary Lexus vehicle is properly equipped to Santa's enormous Christmas task, so Lexus built the jolly old elf a model called the Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser, or LFLC. The rendering provided by the automaker reveals that the LFLC is based on the similarly named LF-LC concept first revealed early this year at the Detroit Auto Show.

But Santa's rig features a couple of major features not found on the earthbound concept. First, the LFLC is truly a sleigh, equipped with runners just like Santa's traditional, reindeer-powered vehicle. But the big difference - and the one that has automotive engineers around the world taking a closer look at the LFLC - is that this machine can fly.

We suspect that Lexus has little to do with the LFLC's unprecedented ability to take flight. If flying cars were a practical reality, they'd already be available. More likely is that Lexus built the special sleigh as it would a typical automobile, and Santa's unmatched Christmas spirit allows the Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser to go airborne.

But some features on the LFLC will further help St. Nick to make his deliveries on time, and most are already available on current Lexus models. These include safety technologies like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a pre-collision system. The LFLC also includes navigation with e-Destination. It allows Santa to enter addresses into his nav system even while away from the vehicle.

What about power? Santa usually relies on nine reindeer to pull his sleigh, but the LFLC needs no draft animals. According to Lexus, the LFLC produces 800 reindeerpower from its Lexus Hybrid Drive system. A fully electric mode allows Santa to operate quietly and with zero emissions, perfect for that rooftop landing.

While neither the Lexus LF-LC Concept or Santa's LFLC are commercially available, we're still glad to see that Lexus decided to take on the challenge of saving the day. According to Lexus General Manager Mark Templin, the alternative was just too grim.

"When we got the call from Santa, we immediately sprang into action," said Templin. "We couldn't bear the thought of leaving the big guy high and dry."

What it means to you: Keep your eye out for Santa's sleigh this Christmas, but don't be surprised if you don't see his reindeer.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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