Lexus has put off until February the US launch of the RX 400h petrol-electric hybrid sport-utility vehicle, originally scheduled to go on sale in December, according to USA Today.
The delay gives Lexus time to perform additional checks to make sure the vehicles escape some of the teething problems that have beset other hybrids and build inventories in an effort to avoid the long waiting lists the smaller Prius has attracted, the paper said.

USA Today said Lexus dealers have more than 8,000 deposits for the RX 400h and about 24,000 a year are planned for the US market, or about 10% of all RX sales.

Delaying the launch to February would allow Lexus to call the RX 400h a 2006 model as a December launch would have required an ’05 designation, the report said.