US: Lexus HS 250h hybrid axed due to poor sales

18 May 2012 | News | Source: Glenn Brooks

Toyota has axed the slow-selling Lexus HS 250h after fewer than three years on the market. The car was sold mostly in Japan, the US and Canada.

The US importer confirmed to Inside Line that production of the hybrid-only HS sedan ceased in January. The car was built at Toyota Motor Kyushu's Miyata plant in Japan's southwest.

Toyota Motor Sales USA (TMS) launched the HS 250h with much fanfare at the Detroit motor show in January 2009, declaring it the world's first premium brand hybrid-only model. The HS was based on the third generation Toyota Prius which also debuted at the 2009 Detroit show. It went on sale in Japan in July 2009 and in the US and Canada two months later for the latter markets' 2010 model years.

Figures issued to the media show TMS sold only 28 units of the HS in April, and 591 for the year to date. For calendar 2011, the total was only 978. TMS once broke out sales numbers for the hybrid variants of the Lexus models that it sells in the US market but no longer does so (i.e. only a total number is issued each month for the RX, GS and LS model ranges).

The next hybrid Lexus model due for launch in the US is the ES 300h. Production is due to start at the Miyata plant in July with cars due in showrooms for the start of that market's 2013 model year. This will be the first time that TMS' long-time best selling Lexus sedan has been offered with a petrol-electric powertrain, so its sales performance will be watched with particular interest.

The HS might have been a flop but Lexus continues to sell one other hybrid-only model in the US market: for the year to the end of April, sales of the CT 200h have totalled 6,510 units.

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