Lexus planning two dedicated hybrids?

A drawing of the Lexus Dedicated Hybrid

Edmund’s Inside Line blog has definitely living up to its name over the last couple days, first breaking the possibility of a $200,000 Lexus LF-A, and now revealing details that Lexus could be planning to bring out not one, but two hybrid-only vehicles in the near future:

Toyota’s upscale Lexus brand is considering the addition of at least two dedicated hybrid vehicles to its rapidly expanding product portfolio, including a premium-priced companion to the Toyota Prius as well as a midsize crossover that could be the industry’s first dedicated gas-electric CUV, industry sources tell Inside Line.

Inside Line has learned that the new Prius is expected to go on sale in North America in late spring 2009, as a 2010 model. The first dedicated Lexus hybrid won’t arrive in dealerships until calendar year 2010, according to Japanese sources. A second Lexus hybrid is tentatively slated for production in 2011.

All three models reportedly will be built on an updated version of Toyota’s corporate midsize platform, known internally as MC, which underpins the Camry as well as the Lexus RX. The RX currently is offered in both gas and hybrid variants.

The first dedicated hybrid was announced by Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe during the Detroit Auto Show, but there were no real details given. Rumors have long suggested that this would be a Lexus Prius, and that seems to be more and more the case every day.

This midsize hybrid crossover could be a retelling of the RAV4 rumor that surfaces every six months or so, though the new twist is that it would be built on a larger platform. Unfortunately, that makes little sense, as it would mean Lexus would be introducing a vehicle that directly competes with the RX. My feeling is that if Lexus does build another crossover, it will be RAV4 sized, and will be competing against the BMW X3.