A leading Toyota Motor executive has indicated the company may consider turning its Lexus brand into a hybrid-only line-up.

The remarks, reported by the Nikkei business daily, were made by managing officer Toshio Furutani during the opening of a new Tokyo showroom for foreigners resident in Japan.

Furutani added that worldwide Lexus sales were down 9% year on year to 310,000 units in the eight months to the end of August. He added that full-year sales may not register any growth over 2007.

The move to hybrids is seen as a reaction to the declining sales of luxury cars in the midst of the global economic slowdown.

In the short term, Furutani said, Toyota would introduce additonal hybrid models across its Lexus range as soon as possible.