Rudolph has been replaced by red LED lighting at the front of the car.


f Santa ever needs a new sleigh—one with four wheels and no place for presents—Lexus has one ready just for him. Toyota's luxury brand put out a press release this week touting the ability of its "Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser" to replace Santa's sleigh and reindeer.

This is obviously a play on the name of its LF-LC concept car that was introduced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Using a Photoshopped mash-up of the car and sleigh runners, with Santa behind the wheel, Lexus touts such features as blind-spot monitoring, Pandora for "all of Santa's favorite tunes," a navigation system that can send nice kids addresses in advance, a pre-collision warning system that will keep Grandma from getting run over, and a hybrid powertrain that makes over "800 reindeer power." Rudolph has been replaced by red LED lighting at the front of the car.

Lexus LF-LC Lexus LF-LC sleigh.

Clearly, Lexus was feeling cheeky this Christmas. "HO HO…UH OH!  While surfing the internet awaiting their big night out," the press release says, "Santa’s reindeer discovered a last-minute travel deal to spend the holidays in Hawaii and immediately departed for the tropics. In a panic, Santa called Lexus for help." That was followed by a quote from "Santa" himself: "“I know Lexus delivers the best customer experience in the industry, so I called to see if they could help me out. 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.”

Lexus spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell told us the idea had as much to do with marketing efforts to highlight available technology features as it did with the holiday.

"The idea for the Lexus Flying Luxury Cruiser came out of a PR brainstorming meeting where we were looking for a way to highlight all the technologies featured on Lexus vehicles. Since the technologies already exist on our cars, we decided to take it to the next level and put them on Santa’s sleigh."

Ford Transit Connect
Ford's Transit Connect sleigh. Same dumb idea, different car.

Ford also did something similar—the automaker sent out a similarly cheeky press release claiming that Santa had replaced his sleigh with the new Transit Connect wagon, complete with a Photoshopped image and "quotes" from St. Nick himself.

We recently presented our idea of what Santa would drive, but we hadn't seen these two vehicles yet. Too bad, because we think we have a couple more candidates for our list.