• May 5th 2010 at 8:00AM
  • 63
2010 Lexus HS 250h – Click above for high-res image gallery

The last time we drove one of Lexus' new HS 250h hybrid sedans, we found the experience to be about what you might expect. That is to say, eminently usable and well-designed with reasonable driving dynamics. We liked it, though we pointed out that the styling is pretty bland and performance is merely adequate.

We can't say for certain whether that staid styling or its lack of driving emotion may be holding it back in the marketplace, but Wards Auto reports that the HS 250h is failing to live up to the sales volume projections set out by Lexus when the car was introduced late last year.

Since initially going on sale last August, Lexus has sold 11,228 HS hybrids. Last month, Toyota's luxury division moved just 1,076 units, which makes for a grand total of 4,529 since 2010 kicked off five months ago. A quick calculation tells us that full-year sales, assuming they remain at something resembling a steady pace, will be under 14,000 units.

Lexus had previously set a target of 20,000-22,000 HS 250h sales in America – and even that figure represented a lowered expectation from the 25,000-30,000 sales initially quoted before Japanese consumers started ordering the model up at a faster-than-expected rate.

Why the below-par sales stats? Says Mark Templin, vice president of Toyota's Lexus division, "I think we underestimated the power of the Prius brand... And we overestimated what the market would look like based on gas prices. But if we can do over 1,000 units a month, 1,000-1,500 units a month, we feel really good about what we're doing in the marketplace."

[Source: Wards Auto]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Uh, maybe it's because it's ugly?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I actully like this car and have sat in one before. The interoir is very well made and layed out. Love the deisign of the center stack and everything feels good to the touch....even for a little Lexus it still comes loaded with luxury and technology.

      I see a few here in NY. IMO they look good...but I feel they dont sell as much because its a luxuruy hybrid which means > $

      Heres a review I watched.

      • 5 Years Ago
      If an ugly rebadged prius isnt hitting numbers surely another half a'ed car will, bring on the lexus hybrid matrix... Hazahh.

      Or... Get a clue. Spending a little over ten years focusing a brand at late fifty somethings than hoping a rebadged prius will some how strike a chord with a new age/socio economic bracket isn't enough. Hope doesnt sell cars.

      Now that the toyota cats outta the bag here's hoping they'll try with the lexus brand as well... Kinda scarey when your brand has nil traction outside of rstablished channels.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think one of the main reasons this car isn't selling well is because of the Prius. The high-end Prius has almost a Lexus-like feel to it. No, it doesn't have the wood paneling or whatever crazy navi system Lexus uses, but NVH is abnormally awesome for a Toyota vehicle.

      The only people that will buy this are people that want a small sedan with a Lexus badge, that's it. Just about every other feature you can get is available on a Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe Lexus underestimated the importance of the HATCHBACK?

      For years we've all heard, Americans hate hatchbacks. It's pure drivel, of course when you factor that millions of Prius have sold- plus Golfs, Mazda3, MINI Coopers.

      Lexus thought a stuffy, uptight, granny-sedan would target their market- but shoppers certainly knew how related to the Prius the HS is -and spending more and getting less utility and function has to weigh heavily in choosing which car to buy. Further kudos to Prius for offering luxury equipment like leather, heated seats, sunroof, backup cam... this stuff matters in segment-busting sectors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      How shocking...there is only a minimal market for a sloppy-handling heavy Corolla with slightly better city gas mileage. I fail to see why anyone would buy this car at that price. If you're making the decision to buy a car for $35K, you should be able to afford to pay for gas and drive something that is actually enjoyable. And if you want to feel like you're saving the planet, why drive a car stuffed with leather and electronics?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's not a Corolla but it's basically a rebadged hybrid Avenesis, which really isn't much better. And in fact makes no damned sense compared to the Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Definitely the styling (and maybe the price). "Lack of driving emotion" has never been a deal-buster for Toyota/Lexus in the past, so likely not part of the problem here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Lexus woefully under-delivered with this car and it's not selling well. Big surprise. BTW, I own a Lexus and am not a Lexus-hater, I just think that they got lost on this one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Everytime one, I look at the driver and think... SUCKA!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ive pored over this thing in auto shows, looked at pictures and read some first-impression road tests: it isn't surprising it hasn't met expectation.

      Its a luxury car that isn't. The interior is well made, but doesn't capture any sense of elegance or style - or even that Lexus cush that abounds in a base ES. The UI joystick control isn't intuitive (important when you consider one of Ford's strongest selling points is Sync, and MyTouch is probably in showrooms now). Rear room is a bit stingy, again something Lexus buyers likely expect. and the styling?

      It comes across as too similar to a Corolla, while a Prius manages to feel more distinctive. Lexus missed a golden opportunity to breathe some design excitement into the Prius concept, and instead played it conservative.
        • 5 Years Ago
        well said...+1.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thank you, you've hit it all on the head.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I second that. If it had more styling in sync with the IS, GS, or LS, it would sell a little better. This is a bad rebadge with the lacking of a "truer" Lexus, if you understand where I'm coming from.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ JZeke

        One of the best unbiased reviews! +1
      • 5 Years Ago
      I mean-really are they reaqlly this stupid?
      Of course it's not meeting sales projections for this is nothing more than a Prius with a Tuxedo on! Gimme a break!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've never really been in the market for a Lexus before, but they have won a lot of comparisons for being the cheapest luxury car to own compared to BMW and Mercedes.

      I'd imagine that media isn't helping Toyota/Lexus sales at all. They would have me believe that Toyota wants to murder my family, kill my dog, steel my gold teeth, and sell my identity to illegal immigrants.
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