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Lexus Australia Says No-Go On Small Sedan, Non-hybrid CT Photo:
 
 
Tony O'Kane | Apr, 08 2014 | 4 Comments

Currently no powertrains beside the current 100kW/207Nm 1.8 litre petrol/electric motor combo exist globally for the Lexus CT 200h, and there's been no indication of any new engines being added to the range either.

However, even if other engines were available, Lexus Australia CEO Sean Hanley says he'd be reluctant to take them.

Overall, hybrid models account for 42 percent of Lexus Australia's year-to-date sales volume, an dramatic increase from six years ago, when hybrids took just three percent of Lexus sales.

And Hanley expects that figure to reach 50 percent in the near future, and says that the CT - specifically, an exclusively hybrid CT - is key to bolstering Lexus' hybrid credentials.

"For us it’s about a hybrid journey," Hanley said to TMR at the local launch of the facelifted 2014 CT 200h.

"We’ve been establishing this technology now for just over eight years with Lexus. For us it was about bringing awareness [of hybrid] at an acquisition level to the brand, and that’s why CT 200h is critically important.

"Hybrid is about on-going education, and we be believe at Lexus that we’re the best at hybrid, by a mile.

"Therefore, for us strategically to further establish and solidify our hybrid technology credentials, we believe that an acquisition car like CT is an important part of our overall hybrid strategy."

But despite the importance of hybrid technology to Lexus, Hanley ruled out the application of a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the CT 200h range - even though a plug-in variant would further reduce fuel use and CO2 emissions.

"No, [no PHEV plans] at this stage," Hanley confirmed.

"We have an extremely reliable battery, you don’t need to plug it in and it self charges through kinetic energy and other sources, so the idea at this stage of a plug-in is not on our agenda."

And though competitors Audi and Mercedes-Benz have recently launched sedan versions of their own small hatchbacks, Hanley says Lexus currently has no plans to follow suit - at least not locally.

"We have no plans beyond CT at this point," he said, referring specifically to the small luxury segment.

Lexus previously offered the HS 250h small sedan in the North American market, and it's currently still on sale in Japan after undergoing a recent facelift. The HS 250h (above and below) is fractionally longer than the Lexus IS, but narrower, taller and with a shorter wheelbase.

Powered by a 110kW/187Nm 2.4 litre petrol engine and a 105kW/270Nm electric motor, the HS 250h's combined output of 140kW and 270Nm gives it more power and torque than the CT 200h, however the HS 250h is fast approaching the end of its life.

Lexus has yet to announce if there will be a successor to the HS, but even if one eventuates don't bank on it coming our way just yet.

With the IS 300h proving to be a strong sales success for Lexus Australia, odds are there's little need for another hybrid to sit above the CT 200h.

 
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