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.
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]