The new Lexus CT 200h is a purpose-built hybrid hatchback for the European market, and that reportedly has Lexus executives optimistic about its sales prospects. With Lexus Europe pursuing a hybrid-centered strategy, the CT 200h is expected to spearhead the brand’s lineup as its entry-level and highest volume model. According to a Bloomberg article, Lexus Europe VP Andy Pfeiffenberger expects “significant growth” in 2011 sales, with the CT 200h providing the bulk of that increase.
The CT 200h’s arrival could not come at a better time, given that Lexus Europe sales dropped to about 28,000 units in 2009. Sales projections indicate that the CT 200h may increase Lexus Europe sales as much as 80% in the next year. The CT 200h is also set to increase the hybrid share of Lexus Europe sales, which already account for 60% of the division’s European volume. The current Lexus hybrid sales leader in Europe, as in most other markets, is the RX 450h.
Pfeiffenberger believes that hybrid sales will expand as Europeans “focus on boosting fuel economy and reducing CO2 and noxious emissions”. As noted in an earlier post, increasingly stringent EU regulations are expected to further bolster the hybrid advantage in the European market.
Lexus’ entry into the “fast-growing premium mid-size hatchback segment” will likely go on sale in major European markets by late 2010, with chief competitors including the Audi A3 TDI and the BMW 118d. According to Bloomberg, the CT 200h’s price has not yet been finalized.