Lexus Looks to Boost Hybrid Sales in North America


Lexus LS 600h F SPORT

Automotive News reports that Lexus is looking to double hybrid sales in North America:

Lexus wants to make hybrid technology its signature selling point. That means boosting hybrids’ share of its North American sales above the current level of roughly 10 percent.

That compares with about 20 percent for Lexus globally — and 80 percent in hybrid-crazy Japan.

Kazuo Ohara, deputy chief officer for the Lexus Group, didn’t give a target percentage or time frame for boosting hybrid sales. But he says a flurry of new hybrid offerings will raise their share of Lexus sales in North America.

With the ES now available as a hybrid, Lexus will be making some immediate progress towards boosting the hybrid sales volume — in September, the ES 300h was already at 20% of ES sales. That said, doubling hybrid sales in North America amounts to more than 22,000 units, based on 2011 year-end numbers.

Lexus LS F SPORT

There’s another angle to this story, which is mentioned briefly:

Introducing hybrid drivetrains mated to F Sport packages is one way the brand is trying to spice up the technology. Lexus now offers F Sport hybrid options on the LS, GS, CT and RX.

Right now in North America, Lexus does not offer any F SPORT hybrids outside of the CT 200h, likely because the double cost of a performance package and hybrid powertrain could make for a tough sell in the dealership.

My own feeling is that combining F SPORT with the power of hybrid engines makes for a compelling argument — even with limited sales, these models would represent the very best of Lexus, and would bring a certain level of performance credibility to hybrid technology.

Let’s open it up, how many of you in North America would be interested in a hybrid F SPORT version of your favorite Lexus model?

[Source: Automotive News]

Comments


  • BOSS

    I would be interested in an hybrid F-Sport in the future :) 

  • Rsxterminator

    The problem with lexus hybrids in general is that they dont treat them as a powertrain option, but a separate trim altogether. and in the case of the GS and LS, they are the top trim with a top trim price. that is a tough sell. what they should do is offer 2 hybrid powertrain options without affecting the trim. one hybrid as an economy choice like the ES300h, and the other as a performance choice like the GS450h.  and so because the hybrid option is just a powertrain option, either can be had with the F Sport package, luxury package, etc. buyers need more choice. they wont buy a hybrid if they get stuck with an upsell in trim…

  • Ljn71

    Speaking from a European perspective I can assure you the GS 450h F Sport is an absolute treat to drive!

  • Jay

    I would love to see an F Sport variant of the ES in both hybrid and petrol variants.

  • Jason

    I would love to see the ‘F Sport’ packaged placed in all of the hybrid vehicles.

    However they have to keep the exterior and interior designs available colors of the ‘F Sport” version of the vehicle and replace the engine underneath the hood with hybrid technology.

  • Brad

    I feel it’s only a matter of time before we get the option of having our cake & eating it too in NA like Europe & Japan are able to already.This has me on the fence right now.If we had the option of an RX-h F-Sport this year,I would have bought one for my wife this year,but I bought her a RAV-4 Sport V-6 for now.With the possibility of a RX-h F-Sport & a baby RX in the near future,I’ve ventured elsewhere for now just to tie us over.If Lexus had the said options already,(F-Sport AND Hybrid option combined in more models)I would own one right now.

  • F1orce

    I think the main problem with the Hybrid Lexus is that they’re not the performance oriented models.

    An example look at the new ES.. It come with the V6 & The hybrid is a Hybrid 4-cyl

    Why would anyone choose the hybrid over the V6 power train? The V6 Is faster and everything and cheaper.

    You may save on gas, but there’s not much reasons to choose the hybrdi ES over the V6 ES

  • Warthog

    I already bought into the idea with our CT 200h F Sport.  It’s a great concept – good mileage and fun to drive!

  • Digitial-ice

    Just want to share my 2 cents. I think it would be great if North America would get more F-Sport variants of Lexus Hybrids, which other countries already offer. Contrary to F1orce’s comment, I feel that sporty is a type of tuning for more engaged driving dynamics rather than all out speed/power; a good example of this is VW Golf and even the CT200h F-Sport, they don’t necessarily have the greatest speed or power but when the roads get twisty, they are great fun to drive (I do agree with F1orce on the price perspective though). Hopefully, by offering F-Sport to the Hybrid lineup, it will help eliminate the notion that hybrids are dull and uninspiring to drive.

  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    If Lexus views this as a “problem”, it is easily solved.
    Instead of making the hybrid the most expensive trim in a line, make it the entry level to the line.

    The GS450h, RX450h, or LS600hl will NEVER be 20% of sales for those models because they are simply too expensive.  I think the LS should adopt the GS450h’s powertrain as a base model.

    If they didn’t ask more than a small premium, they could do it.  Price is the issue here……
    BD

  • Rsxterminator

    there’s no way to get around the cost of the hybrid drivetrain. i say lets not add a few more features and try to pass it off as the highest trim. 

  • Brad

    Lexus does offer some good hybrid powertrains…I just want somthing a little more macho or sporty without feeling the guilt of burning so much fuel.The CT 200h F-Sport is the only F-Sport Hybrid model in the line-up(NA) & it would be very,very cramped for  for my family of 5 plus 2 dogs.My wife can’t even handle how slugish our Boxer-4 Outback is(hense the V-6 in the RAV-4)so despite how much I enjoy the sporty look of the CT,not to mention the frugleness of it,it just won’t work for our family…not as a family vehicle anyways.The LX,I love…but it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum for fuel milage.If the RX 450-h was available in NA,it would have sportier looks,more power & better fuel milage than the regular RX 350,so in my view,it would be worth the price & would tempt be more to make the 1 1/2 hr. drive to my nearest Lexus dealership the next time I’m shopping for a family vehicle.We’re getting close,but we’re not there yet.

  • Brad

    Sorry!If the RX 450-h ‘F-SPORT’ was available in NA is what I meant to say.Also regarding my ‘for  for’ mistake,I must be more careful & ‘proof read’ before I hit send!Time for another espresso!!!

  • Pontiacmailbox-various

    Let’s see. Both the Toyota Camry and the Lexus ES use the same hybrid system and V6 engine. In the Camry, the hybrid is priced thousands less than the V6 similarly equipped. 

    Yet in the Lexus ES the pricing is reversed, buyers are expected to pay thousands more for the hybrid than the V6. Is it any wonder buyers are resisting the Lexus ES hybrid? 

    The answer to boosting Lexus hybrid sales is obvious.

  • Corradomr2

    I have to disagree regarding the Toyota pricing. Hybrid and V6 are the same price comparably equipped. In Canada, a Camry LE Hybrid adds 3K to the LE 4 cyl.  Going from an XLE 4 Cly to an XLE V6 is the same $3K increase. 
    The ES Hybrid is higher by $3K, but somewhat “justified” by adding a little more standard equipment such as the Lexus Display Audio controller, power tilt/telescoping steering, backup camera, bamboo trim, driver’s Memory seat, and rear spoiler.Now I can’t say the same for the other Lexus models. For instance, if you compare the cost of the “hybridized” version of the “same” powerplant like the 3.5 V6 vs the Hybrid version applied to the GS and RX, the hybrid is over $10K more, ridiculous.  The F-Sport adds $5-10K depending on the model, would be way too pricey. 

  • JB

    With the exception of the CT and ES, I see the Lexus hybrids (GS, RX, LS)  as fuel friendly turbo-charger equivalent powertrains. Would be a sweet match to the F-Sport trim, but Lexus please, why such a high premium for the hybrid? 

  • http://lexusenthusiast.com krew

    I’m driving the “standard” GS 450h right now, and I’m blown away. Love this car, and an F SPORT version would just take it to a whole other level.

  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    Every model should have a different price strategy

    The CT is a hybrid, but it needs a 200HP gas engine

    The IS will come in V6, but the base engine could be the Camry Hybrid engine?  I’d want that over a 2.5 V6 with not enough power and weak MPG.  Why not offer a 40MPG hybrid there?

    The ES is set up right, but the price should be the same for Hybrid or Gas, and adjust the equipment levels to make it so.  I would’ve made them both $36995, plus options.  One gives you noticeably more power.  One gives you noticeably more MPG.  One isn’t better than the other.

    The GS450h is SLOWER than the V6, and the handling is dulled, due to it being 3-400 pounds heavier, so charging $60k for it makes it a poor value/performance.  No way this should be more than $5k above the GS350.  $52k makes it a real value.

    The LS600h doesn’t sell at all, so that needs to be totally rethought.  Drop AWD as standard, get HP up to 500, which they probably will for 2015, and get weight to 4600 lbs or so.  I would offer the GS450h powertrain to compete with the Mercedes S400 Hybrid at under $80k

    The RX450h seems to be the one model where they’ve struck the right value balance.  People who drive SUVs appreciate a real MPG increase, and hybrid sales are around 15% of the total, consistently

    Someday, Lexus will come to their senses, and make the GX a unibody crossover, and put the RX450h powertrain in there.
    BD

  • F1orce

    Perhaps people simply don’t want the Hybrid models?..

  • F1orce

    I know what you mean.. But apart from the LS600HL.. All the Hybrid variants of Lexus have less performance..

    For example the ES300h & ES350

    The ES350 with the 2GR-FE 3.5L V6 is much more powerful and faster than Hybrid ES300h and is CHEAPER!

  • MT

    The GS450h is far more powerful than the 350. The RX450h is more powerful than the 350.

  • MT

    The 450h slower? The 350 is electronically limited to 190km/h. That means i can outrun it in my Toyota Auris hatchback with 132PS. The 450h goes 250km/h electronically limited. Just as fast as any other car in the price/performance range.

  • AstonMartin

    I too would like to see the true high output hybrid performance option offered across the board F Sport line however I’d also like to see MORE interior & exterior options for the F Sport models.  As an example, I personally like the GS350 F Sport however I’d like it available with LED headlights (450h only), more power (450h only) and with the Shimamoku wood interior (LS only).  Krew recently featured the customization program that is only available for Japanese customers.  I think Lexus NA should re-think that strategy as customers like myself would pay a premium for this type of individuality (think MB Designo).  Lastly hybrid engines are just the start – what Lexus sorely needs is MORE power for its engines if it seriously wants to successfully compete with other premium makes at this level.  I can only hope that the SEMA GS350 featuring a Supercharger is a prelude to Lexus stepping up its engine output.  Lexus we want more options.

  • F1orce

    Yeah the GS350 is faster than GS450h

  • Clubae86

    I would have love to see a fsport rx450h and gs 450h. I think it would be great if you added the sportier styling as well as more dynamic driving feel not to mention TMG TS030 hybrid LMP 1 racer. Makes perfect sense for production performance hybrid model