Five New or Updated Lexus Hybrids by 2012?

Lexus Hybrid Badge

Earlier this year, it was announced that Toyota would be releasing 6 new hybrids by 2012 (four from Toyota and two from Lexus), and now Automotive News is reporting that a total of 11 new or redesigned models will be available in that same timeframe, along with a new focus on turbochargers:

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce 11 new or redesigned hybrid vehicles by 2012, but the carmaker is hardly neglecting the humble internal combustion engine.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, executive vice president in charge of r&d, also wants to increase the fleet’s fuel efficiency by putting turbochargers and direct fuel injection in smaller vehicles. “In the next five years, the general trend is downsizing of engines and the use of turbochargers,” Uchiyamada said in an interview. “Another development will be direct fuel injection.”

Of the 11 upcoming hybrids, four will be model changes of existing hybrids. The other seven will be new models, either stand-alone hybrids or hybrid versions of vehicles that previously didn’t have a gasoline-electric option, Uchiyamada said.

Turbochargers on downsized engines is obviously a trend in the industry, as is direct injection, and Toyota moving to this technology is essential to its competitiveness — exciting but not a huge surprise.

Of course, guessing new models is a fun game to play, so let’s speculate.

Let’s start with the four updated hybrids:

  • Lexus GSh: With the new redesign a year or so away, this is the safest bet.
  • Toyota Camry: Another safe bet,
  • Lexus LSh: Pushing it, but it’s not that big of a stretch to imagine a redesigned LS being released in 2012 as a 2013 model.
  • The last model was a challenge — after all, the new Highlander Hybrid has already been released and it’s doubtful we’ll see a redesigned RX or Prius so soon. This leaves the Lexus HS as the only other North American hybrid offered by Toyota, but it’s more likely that the final redesign would be a vehicle available in Japan (i.e. the Toyota Previa/Estima or Crown).

    As for the 7 (!!!) new hybrids for Toyota by 2012, we do know (by way of the New York Times) that 4 will be Toyotas and 2 will be Lexus. Now, if we were to assume that the seventh mystery model was a Lexus but that the CTh counted towards the total, my guess would be hybrid versions of the ES and IS, considering both models should see redesigns by MY 2013.

    What do you think?

    [Source: Automotive News]