AutoGuide is reporting that the next-generation Lexus LS hybrid will focus on fuel efficiency rather than delivering high-end V12 power:
Lexus, however, has instead used electricity as an added boost to its gasoline motors, providing additional power while retaining modest fuel economy. The result are cars like the GS450h, which delivers performance equal to that of a V8, but with V6 fuel efficiency.
The problem says Lexus ES and LS product planner Ketan Renade is that sales are extremely slow. “We did studies and focus groups and people said, ‘hybrid equals mpg’”, says Renade. “Cars with 400 and 500 hp are great, but no one is buying them.”
The ES isn’t the exception either, but the new rule, with Renade nearly confirming a decision to axe the LS600 in favor of a less-potent hybrid powertrain. Speaking with AutoGuide at the recent ES launch, he said that, “If we did a future hybrid Lexus LS, it would go V6 hybrid.”
This is great news — for Lexus to maintain its position as the top hybrid luxury brand in the world, the technology needs to be accessible, and the $112k USD LS 600hL doesn’t really fit in that equation. Utilizing a V6 hybrid powertrain in the next-generation LS is something that makes sense, especially if it can reach similar fuel economy numbers to the new GS 450h (31 mpg combined).
Another point to consider is that a LS V6 hybrid will be extremely important in markets outside of North America, particularly in the parts of Europe where Lexus is moving to a hybrid-only lineup.
Definitely think this is a smart move — what do you think, do you want to see a LS 450h?