Lexus Europe Reconsiders Hybrid-Only Plans


Lexus GS Solar Power

Lexus Europe is reconsidering its hybrid-only plans, according to a Just-Auto report:

Paul Van der Burgh, director of Lexus Europe, said that customers, particularly in the top-selling countries – Russia and the UK – still want the option of a petrol engine rather than a hybrid.

He said: “There are some 7,000 petrol GS owners out there since the car was launched in 1993 and they have remained loyal to us and we want the keep them.

“We are making petrol models for other markets around the world so there is no great cost implication in making them available for Europe.”

The idea of selling hybrids only in Europe might make sense in the long term, but European customers prefer numerous engine choices — offering as many options as possible is likely the better direction, even if the existing engines don’t satisfy the European desire for diesel and lower-displacement powerplants.

(Curious to see if the new LS gets an additional engine option for Europe when it debuts at the end of the month.)

[Source: Just-Auto]

Comments


  • Altezza

     Everyone wants Diesel engine in Europe. The “new” LS is just a facelift, a big one, but just a facelift. Same engine, same battery, etc, but with the new face, a new rear and with the new 12,3 inch display with remote touch. Nothing else.
    Looks like an all new car, but it is not.

  • http://twitter.com/VCLT The Victor

    There could be a new Chassis? I think a new chassis warrants what most would call a new generation. Any ways it’s not like every manufacturer just pushes out brand new engines/batteries with every facelift/generation, it’s just usually something more refined. They have something good going, they aren’t going to just throw it all away. Like everyone else they build on what they have. 

  • Chris Pothast

    Hopefully we will get all the petrol engines in Euope. And please start to sell lower displacement options as well. The LS would be a great car with a v6. Who really needs more than 300 hp.
    All we do around here is standing still in traffic anyway. The car would still do 0-62 in about 6 seconds. Great for a base model.
    Hybrid is great, but the cars become heavy and you lose space.
    Personally i hate diesels but people seem to want them.(lexus shoyld consider a hybrid diesel at least. They are the ones claming that their hybrid synergy drive is ready for any fuel/electric combo) MPG would go through the roof and thats what a lot of people are looking at.

  • mrxandthexfactor

    Drivetrains are not the only thing that constitutes a new generation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LexusandThePursuit WorldofLuxury

    Finally! It’s ridiculous, with the VAT’s and all, to be forced to purchase the LSh if one wanted an LS in UK!

  • http://twitter.com/andyelvers Andy Elvers

    This has already happenned with the launch of the GS250 in Europe.  And it will happen again with the rumoured return of the LS460.

    Part of the problem IMHO, especially with the LS, has been marketing the hybrids as ultra premium versions which is the total opposite of what Mercedes and BMW do with their diesels.  Again comparing LS hybrid to 730d or S350 and the gulf in price and specification is enormous.

    People asking for diesel forget why Toyota developed hybrid in the first place.  Which was to improve air quality.  Diesel and hybrid do not mix well for several reasons.  Firstly a diesel engine does not start as easily as a petrol car, so you will loose the almost seamless transition you can get with a petrol motor.  Secondly, everyone is forgetting Euro 6 which will have a big impact on diesel cars from 2015.  Sure there are some Euro 6 motors around now – the Mercedes S350 Bluetec for example – but it uses SCR to achieve it.  This is why Toyota will start using BMW diesel engines soon and BMW will never let Toyota put them into Lexus (for obvious marketing reasons).  This tells me Toyota has no intention of developing their own Euro 6 diesel engines.  So this effectively means diesel will not come to Lexus.  I would have thought this spells trouble for the IS diesel.

    I think Lexus is waking up to smaller engines.  Again GS250 is the example.  We know a smaller hybrid GS is coming and surely a smaller engined LS hybrid will follow that.  They need to do a stripped down LS450hL without the fancy options to take on the 730dL and S350L in the chauffeur market and target £70K price.  There is no shame having a V6 in this segment when over 80% of the competition sells with them.  At this level people want the space and build quality.

    Even so, the next LS600h should get the improvements we see in the new GS450h.  i.e. go atkinson with a redesigned battery to massively increase the size of the boot.  I would hope for a similiar 20 to 25% improvement in fuel consumption.  CO2 should come down by over 20% too, look for around 175 to 180g, (alot lower than the GS250…..)

  • Jake

    Diesel engines or even hybrid diesel don’t make any sense for Lexus. We have just seen how badly the French hybrid diesel HYbrid4 perform. It its not better than a hybrid gas in terms of fuel economy nor carbon emissions.

    This for a brand which has been marketed themselves as “environmentally friendly”, the word diesel doesn’t fit in this ideology.

  • altezza

    The chassis is also stay the same. As I said, it is just a facelift. You will see…

  • Alex

    Can someone tell me why you can’t purchase a non hybrid RX in Sweden and many other countries in Europe? I want an SUV but I can’t afford and don’t need the much more expensive hybrid. This angers me…

  • Ljn71

    I’m still not convinced by the reasoning that Lexus should let the Germans define what the customer wants,and offer diesels when petrol hybrids are a better technology in every way. Giving the customer what they want isn’t always such a bright idea. The customer can only want what they know exists,and needs to have his/her perceptions challenged with new ideas. Lexus Hybrid Drive being exactly that kind of fresh thinking.

  • Anon

    Still don’t know why the ES isn’t available here, think that would be a popular car.

    Definitely should bring the petrol versions of the RX over. Australia get an RX 270 and there is a 350 as well, the hybrid system pushes the price way up from the old RX.

  • Chris

    In this regard they could score a first succes 50 to 60 mpg is doable.
    Cars with this kind of mpg/co2 emissions get tax benefits as well
    Almost all of the so called green European cars are Diesel. They get really low emissions.
    Brw The french have never built a great engine (except for f1
    Your probably forgetting that diesel in Europe is cheaper than Petrol.
    Europe is a veryl arge market for luxury cars and 3rd largest in the world(i think)
    Lexus could bring some engine options solely to the european market.
    I personally dont like diesel, butbit could open up the European market for Lexus and in that regard make it a more accepted choice, as it is it’s still the ‘odd one’ over here.

  • BlackDynamiteNY

    Lexus USA should have a 200HP gas version of the CT, and the Camry’s hybrid powertrain in the refresh next year

    200HP hybrid.  200HP gas.  Perfect place for the 2.5 V6 in the IS
    BD

  • LexusLVR

    Actually the French have made a lot of great engines in the past and present. Take a trip to North Africa or the Middle East where you’ll see a variety of Peugeots and Renaults from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s still puttering around. When I was in Morocco last year I rode in a Peugeot 504 Break (wagon) diesel and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the car had over 870,000 km on it. The driver spoke fondly of the motor informing me that these cars are popular in North Africa because of their simplicity and reliability as well as durability. And when I am in France, which isn’t often, but at least once a year, I do enjoy my French rental cars.

  • LexusLVR

     ”Giving the customer what they want isn’t always such a bright idea.”

    Are you sure?

    Because THAT MENTALITY is one of the factors of why Lexus is so uncompetitive in Europe. They have to give potential customers what they want. Refusing to do this is illogical.

  • wasapasserby

    I’ll reply with an analogy:  No one cares that Microsoft introduced that Tablet PC in 2001.  No one wanted it, and no one bought it.  Apple took the same idea in 2010, modified it to appeal to the market, and it’s been a runaway sales success.  Microsoft had 9 years to adjust their strategy, yet, they kept insisting that “Giving the customer what they want isn’t always such a bright idea.”  Look at where they are now in tablet sales.

    A smart company delivers the product the market wants, when the customers want it. If the market is not willing to embrace a technology, then the company has to adjust accordingly, or risk losing profit and customers to competitors.

    Lexus is telling its customers that they’re stupid/wrong/obsolete for wanting a diesel, and that they should pay more for a hybrid.  Surprise — Lexus has been surrendering volume diesel sales to BMW/MB/Audi with hardly a fight.
     This is not smart.

  • wasapasserby

    So the 2013 ES is just a facelift then…still riding on essentially the same chassis as the 2007 Camry, albeit a lengthened one (Toyota skips generations when putting out a new Camry chassis).

  • emptystreets130

    I wouldn’t consider it a facelift if the body has changed drastically. A facelift is more like a midcycle refresh that Lexus does every 2-4 years for that model, ie the IS250/350 had a couple of facelifts.

  • emptystreets130

    A major refresh, not a facelift.

  • http://twitter.com/andyelvers Andy Elvers

    I agree, I think Lexus should offer the ES in Europe.  Especially now its bigger and has the ES300h version.  It could carve itself out a nice little niche market.

    It could also be a big chauffeur car with all the legroom in the back.  Why give all those sales to Mercedes?

  • Jake

    Mark Templin said that by next year, a right hand drive version would be available… That can only means that it could be introduced in Japan or Australia.

    And by 2014 if I’m not wrong they would have 7 or 9 hybrid models sold globally.

  • MT

    Either build what the customer wants or wait for the customer to buy the stuff you make. But there is no guarantee that it will ever happen.