Lexus Australia Pins CT200h Sales Revival On 2014 Facelift

Peter Anderson | Oct 9, 2013

Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley is refusing to admit defeat - or even disappointment - with the CT 200h baby hybrid.

"We see the CT 200h as our greatest opportunity," Hanley said, speaking at today's Lexus ES briefing in Sydney.

The car was launched at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix, with the company making the brave decision to let celebrities loose on the Albert Park track.

Strong initial interest got the little hybrid off to a good start, and sales in 2012 were sitting at around 150 units per month. A precipitous drop in demand has seen just 54 moved in September 2013.

Hope is on the horizon however, with a facelift due in early 2014 ahead of an all-new model in 2016.

When the CT launched, it was priced very close to its less well-equipped cousin, the Toyota Prius, and had fewer competitors close to its starting price.

The CT 200h now ranges from $39,990 through to $57,990, with just the one engine and transmission combination available.

Its European rivals offer a mix of petrol and diesel engines, and a choice of transmissions: manual, twin-clutch or automatic.

The new A-Class and Audi A3 as well as the cheaper BMW 1 Series are each selling at least six times the volume of the Lexus. As Hanley says, "The market has moved."

By contrast, the rest of the Lexus range is performing strongly, with only the IS300h's supply woes preventing Lexus from maximising the new car's potential.

We can expect to see the updated CT 200h late this year or early next year, before going on sale around the middle of 2014 - likely with a new, lower starting price to combat the Europeans.

Filed under: Lexus, Lexus CT, News, lexus ct 200h, 2014my, 2015my

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  • vandriver says,
    2 years ago
    transmission lets it down, could do with alloys a size bigger,
  • Mel says,
    2 years ago
    $34990- $50990
  • Mott says,
    2 years ago
    They would do better if, like the new ES, they sold the hybrid as the entry level model and made a non hybrid diesel/petrol engined model available. A little hot Lexus F-model hatch would sell in greater numbers than a model with only one engine choice with no real leg to stand on against the German competition.
  • Doctor says,
    2 years ago
    The problem is the badge. Plenty will pay for a BMW badge with a small car attached but few will pay for one that looks like 2 pieces of toilet paper covering 2 turds in a toilet bowl. The badge even has the toilet bowl shape of Toyota's!
  • Jakewilliam5 says,
    2 years ago
    The biggest problem for the CT200h is that it's rubbish! It offers only a hybrid drivetrain, not the small petrol, small diesel, larger petrol, hot petrol and really hot petrol of rivals like the 1-Series and A3. It doesn't drive well. It looks horrible. Cars of this class drive well and are meant to be fun, the CT200h is anything but. Lexus give it a bigger engine/more power, a complete styling overhaul, a manual, make it drive better than a Prius and then it might sell more.
    • Richard 1908 says,
      2 years ago
      Then people like me who actually own one and love them the way they are wouldn't buy them.
  • Joshua Burstyn says,
    2 years ago
    It's a tough sell; Lexus is traditionally a luxury brand with some sporty aspects. They also generally eschew economy in the name of comfort and power.

    Then there's their outlier car - the CT200h. It is modeled to look and feel like a Lexus, but ends up falling somewhere closer to a well trimmed Prius. It isn't sporty or as luxurious as the other Lexus' and costs more than the more frugal Prius.

    Lexus needs to take the CT200h and modify it so the economy is only a tiny fraction of a percent behind the Prius while retaining the acceptable styling in my opinion. This car is designed to appeal to younger buyers who appreciate Lexus quality and want to get in on the brand but for whom frugality is equally important.