While General Motors has axed its hybrid version of the Chevy Malibu for the 2010 model year, Toyota hopes to sell about 25,000 of its new Prius-based hybrid-only Lexus HS250 model in the United States in its first year.

The sedan is the luxury brand's first model to be offered only with a hybrid powertrain.

"More than 60% of entry luxury sedan buyers said they would consider hybrids, and this is a segment nobody's in right now," US Lexus chief Mark Templin told Reuters.

Toyota has sold over a million Toyota and Lexus hybrid models in the US so far, accounting for over half of its global hybrid sales.

It has taken a 75% share of all hybrid vehicle sales in the US over the past decade.

According to Reuters, Toyota said the Lexus was roomier, wider and longer than the Prius hybrid with which it shares a platform.

Its 2.4-litre petrol engine is larger than the 1.8-litre unit in the latest Prius.