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Dedicated Lexus Hybrid = Hybrid ES?

In a short interview with Bloomberg, Lexus General Manager Mark Templin reiterated what he told the Free Press a couple days ago, though with a little more detail:

“There is a whole section of the population that wants something different, and that’s high-efficiency,” Lexus general manager Mark Templin said in an interview at the Detroit auto show. “It’s a supplemental strategy to what we’ve done before.”

Lexus now sells hybrids that focus on performance and offer only a small fuel-economy gain from its gasoline-only models. The division wants to take advantage of the spending power of many who purchase vehicles such as the Prius, the best-selling hybrid in the U.S. More than a third of the 181,221 Prius buyers last year had annual income of more than $100,000, Templin said.

“Half of those people made over $150,000 a year and 24 percent of those people have a luxury car in their household fleet,” Templin said at the North American International Auto Show yesterday. “We think there is part of the market that everybody is missing.”

I wonder just what kind of direction this is going to take, where this hybrid’s going to fit into the lineup. I can’t see Lexus introducing a Prius size vehicle to their lineup. The rumors last year mentioned that this new car would be slotted in between the IS and GS, which makes sense, considering that the ES is limited to North America and some select markets overseas, and the dedicated hybrid is seemingly meant for the world market.

What I don’t understand is, if this vehicle is basically going to be the same size of the ES, why not just release an ES hybrid? There has to be more to it, with all this hype.

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