Lexus IS Hybrid will not be Offered in North America

Lexus IS 300h

First mentioned by Car & Driver and then confirmed by Autoweek, the next-generation Lexus IS will not be available as the IS 300h hybrid in North America — here’s the relevant quote from C&D:

Engines carry over from the current IS. The IS350’s 3.5-liter V-6 should have 306 hp, and the IS250’s 2.5-liter V-6 should put out 204. An eight-speed automatic is standard with both engines (the slow-selling manual IS250 is dead). All-wheel drive will be available with both engines. A hybrid version, with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor, will be sold outside North America. With the hybrid CT200h and the ES300h already on sale, Lexus doesn’t see the need for a similarly priced IS hybrid in the States.

The confirmation from Autoweek:

Lexus product planners told us that a hybrid model will be available in Europe only; Americans will simply content themselves with the CT.

Disappointing, but there’s a logic to not bringing the hybrid IS to North America — the model would be caught in the limited market space between the CT 200h & the ES 300h, and Lexus has never been a company to spread itself too thin.

There is an unfortunate angle to this decision. The IS 300h looks to be a fun-to-drive, entry-level sedan, equipped with the brand’s hybrid technology and just enough power to make it interesting — add in F SPORT, and it seems like a perfect combination to establish the new personality of Lexus.

(As for the the decision to carry over the 2.5L & 3.5L V6 engines, it’s hardly surprising. If there was a new engine coming, it would have been mentioned in the recent Toyota technology progress report — look for new Lexus engines in 2014 when the 2.0L turbo-charged engine is introduced.)

[Source: Car & Driver and Autoweek]