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Lexus was one of the first premier automakers to introduce a series of hybrids in its line-up. In 2009, Lexus launched its first dedicated hybrid model, the HS 250h.
However, due to a failure to meet market expectations, Lexus has reportedly decided to end its run. Although a time frame has yet to be officially proposed, chances are it will come sooner rather than later. Last month, Lexus had only sold just 205 units, bringing the yearly amount to only 2,383. Compared to last year, the figure has suffered a 72.8 percent decrease.
One possibility for the HS250h’s lack of success is its $37,030 price tag, nearly four-grand more than a Lexus IS. It’s place will likely be filled with a hybrid version of the ES, while Lexus seems to have found more success with its new CT200h model.
GALLERY: Lexus HS 250h
Despite a strong presence on this side of the Atlantic, Lexus has yet to penetrate the European market. But they folks at Toyota’s luxury arm are hoping that a premium level hatchback in the compact segment – that also just so happens to be a hybrid – will help them win over a new (younger) generation of customers.
The LF-Ch Concept is a look at what that vehicle may look like.
Lexus is staying tight-lipped about the possible hybrid drivetrain but it is expected to be either that found in the new 2010 Prius or in the HS250h – that later of which is not scheduled to go on sale in Europe. Lexus also did not comment on if the LF-Ch production version would see U.S. shores.
A production version is planned to start in 2010 to compete against cars like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volvo C30. The name is expected to be CT200h, as Lexus has already submitted a patent for that alphanumeric combination, as well as a few variants.
GALLERY: Lexus LF-Ch Concept
Official release after the jump:
Customers could face long waiting lists for world's first stand-alone luxury hybrid
Demand for the new 2010 Lexus HS250h hybrid sedan is so high in Japan that the automaker fears it might not be able to keep up with expected sales volumes in the U.S.
The world’s first stand-alone luxury hybrid has just gone on sale in Japan and its popularity has far exceeded expectations. Toyota initially planned to sell 500 units a month of the new Lexus model but so far the automaker has already received 10,000 orders.
Toyota’s first priority will be meeting demand in its home market, where profit margins are much higher. Due the the decreased value of the Yen against the U.S. dollar, vehicles sold in the U.S. are far less profitable.
Lexus is unlikely to delay the launch of the HS250h in the U.S., which is expected to take place next month, so long waiting lists are expected. Pricing for the new model is expected to start at $35,075.
This is the second hybrid model supply issue for Toyota in recent months, as a shortage of batteries has slowed the company’s ability to keep up with demand for the 2010 Prius.
[Source Automotive News via Autoblog]
New model will be a hatchback and a hybrid
With the entry-level premium marketing continuing to grow in Europe, Lexus is planning to get in on the action by bringing a vehicle to market that will complete with the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series.
The new vehicle will slot in under the IS250 and will be a hybrid. This may sound a lot like the upcoming HS250h (pictured above), but it’s not. For starters, Europe will not get the HS250h, and this new model will be a hatchback. It will, however, use the new Prius platform and be front-wheel drive.
The vehicle will not be a performance car but aimed at economy-minded diesel offerings from Audi and BMW. A concept version of the entry-level Lexus hybrid is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
City MPG to be better than Smart micro-car
Lexus unveiled to the press a dedicated hybrid vehicle the HS250h – an entry level luxury hybrid that the company says will get better city fuel milage than the Smart micro-car.
Even more impressive is that it will operate on regular 87 octane gas. Lexus VP Mark Templin couldn’t help but use the opportunity to stick it to the Germans by pointing out how much cheaper 87 octane is than diesel.
The HS250h uses a hybrid powertain with a 2.4 liter engine that produces 187hp.
Lexus has built the HS250h in response to customer demand. According to its research 60 percent of entry level luxury buys would have considered a hybrid if one had been available.
One particularly neat feature is that the on-board LCD screen can show a 180 degree picture of what is ahead of the car – perfect for navigating in tight urban areas.This device has been adapted from the Lexus flagship SUV, the LX570.
The HS250h will come with the new Enform system, wich operates much like GM’s OnStar and even features a stolen vehicle locator.
The HS250h will go on sale this summer.
Lexus also announced that the HS250h is the first of 10 new hybrids Toyota will unveil in the next few years.
Official release after the jump: