DETROIT –Motor Corp.’s Lexus luxury brand hopes to sell 30,000 units of its new dedicated hybrid-electric vehicle in its first 12 months.
“We’re very bullish on this car, because it delivers something nobody else in the market place has,” Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager, tells the media following the HS 250h’s unveiling at the North American International Auto Show here.
While the HS stands alone as the only dedicated luxury HEV in the market, Templin says Lexus expects cross-shopping with other non-hybrid entry-luxury models.
The HS is sized between the Lexus IS and ES midsize luxury sedans, both of which compete in the same category as the3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Infiniti G37, among others. “You can look at the whole entry-luxury segment and consider this as a competitor to all those other cars,” Templin says.
The HS’ 2.4L 4-cyl. engine is a modified version of the current mill used in theCamry midsize sedan, “with some enhancements,” he says.
However, the car’s platform is not as easy to pin down.
“It is a global small-car platform that we use for different vehicles all over the world,” Templin says. “It’s hard to compare it to anything, but the closest relative to this platform would be the European (Toyota) Avensis.”
Toyota has no plans to sell the HS in Europe, where the Lexus brand still is an upstart competitor to German makes. Templin says the U.S., Canada and Japan are the only global markets that will receive the hybrid. At least for now.