Will the new Lexus dedicated hybrid be a Prius?


Toyota Prius Concept

Not to post it up only to shoot it down, but there’s a small blurb on Motor Trend today claiming that the dedicated hybrid Lexus plans to launch at next year’s Detroit Auto Show will be a rebadged Prius:

Toyota will present two dedicated hybrid models at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit; one a Toyota and the other a Lexus.

It’s no surprise the Toyota will be the Mark III Prius. It’s the Lexus that will be the shocker: a lifestyle wagonlike vehicle based on the Prius platform and drivetrain.

That’s the extent of their insight, no sources, no justification, just a plain statement. This isn’t to say it’s untrue, but I certainly wouldn’t put much stock in it, especially when Lexus UK Chief Steve Settle had this to say last year:

The car would be aimed at well-to-do individuals who are after a roomy sedan but not prepared to step up to a car the size of the GS. Mid-sized D-segment models are ideal for families and when combined with Lexus’ luxury and quality standards, could be a real winner for fans of hybrids and non-hybrids alike.

“We’ll add a specific hybrid model and leave the IS as a sports petrol and diesel. There will be more focus on interior space than on sports styling and it will have more boot space,” Settle revealed.

The D-segment is the European designation for the large family car, meaning something the size of an ES, which is much more in line with what I would expect from the dedicated hybrid. And really, it’s a little early to be making definitive statements.

(The image above is of the Toyota Prius, not a Lexus).

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