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2011 Lexus CT 200h – Click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus is pinning rather high the expectations on its new CT 200h, billed as "The Darker Side of Green." According to Brian Bolain, the automaker's national advertising and marketing manager, Lexus expects to sell about 1,000 CTs here in the U.S. each month. We wish them the best of luck, but have some serious reservations.

Consider that the combined sales of the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Volvo C30 (which represent the vehicles most likely to be cross-shopped with the CT) tally up about 1,500 sales per month, according to Ward's Automotive. For what it's worth, the 1 Series, which is the only non-dedicated hatchback and easily the sportiest of the bunch, makes up the vast majority of the segment's sales.

As you're surely aware, the CT 200h is indeed a dedicated hatchback and it offers up a comparatively paltry 98 horsepower from its Prius-derived Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter four-cylinder, aided by another 36 ponies from its two electric motors and 28 NiMH batteries. As we said in our First Drive of the CT, that power level, particularly when coupled to a continuously variable automatic transmission, doesn't exactly incite driving excitement.

Also factor in the sales flop that is the dedicated-hybrid Lexus HS 250h, a model whose yearly sales will struggle to hit half the 20,000 units Lexus had counted on, and you can see why we're a tad skeptical that Toyota's luxury division will manage to move a thousand CTs per calendar flip. In any case, we figure the CT is at least as attractive as the HS, and we look forward to spending some quality time with the hybrid hatchback in day-to-day driving scenarios where it should become much more clear how the machine stacks up against its competitors.

What do you think, will the CT 200h be a hit in America? Have your say in Comments.

Photos copyright ©2010 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Ward's Automotive]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Another boring car for old people.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sales only say so much about a car.

      The HS isn't a Flop just because it doesn't sell by the million AB. I've read reviews about the HS and been in one and reviews say its a nice car and from sittin in it, it's a very nice ride. luxurious , advanced, simple, very smooth and comfortable, reliable. Owning the car there is little to be disappointed with in my eyes.

      I have yet to see a CT but I like it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dunno, it actually looks pretty decent to me in these pics, much better than in previous images. I completely ignored it at the LA Auto Show though. I like 5 door hatches, whereas most Americans equate them with Toyota Matrixes, even on Autoblog it seems, but the fact remains that this just isn't that interesting. The silhouette could be a Mazda 3 or Impreza hatch, but the detailing is typical Lexus fussy and generic all at once.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's kind of funny how when many moons ago we first saw pictures of this, everyone said it was beautiful and that it should be sold in America. Nowadays, the blind Toyota hate is making everyone calling it ugly. Haha...
        • 4 Years Ago
        The hate is due to purchasing a lot of stock in Ford. LOL
      • 4 Years Ago
      at least, it is a tiny bit better on your eyes than the ugly HS
      • 4 Years Ago
      The hot hatch lover in me just wants to cry and hopes this gets better w/ a real powertrain.

      But I bet most buyers are cross shopping a plain'ol Prius. I bet those looking at this Lexus will want brand regonition along w/ the Hyrbrid stuff so the Prius might steal more buyers than any of the competition.

      The 1-series is uselessly small (but they tried to compensate w/ the engine and RWD) and the C30 isn't really competition to much of anything.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota Matrix styling + Toyota Prius performance + The thrills of driving a Lexus?

      Why wouldn't it be smash hit!?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Matrix? Thing feels more like a brown Impreza with a different greenhouse if anything.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Might sell.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeahhhh! What you said!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I actually kind of like the looks of it...too bad it's a hybrid. Now, put the 300hp V6 in it and I may be more interested.

      I did read (Top Gear maybe?) that toyota is considering a turbo 4 for the car. Not sure where they are going to get it from but a good drive train and no batteries may make this one interesting.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Low power + CVT = Even more Lexus fail than usual.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This car makes no sense for Lexus. I saw this in person at the LA Auto show and it looks like a Matrix with a Lexus badge and a big price tag ($35,000-$40,000). Anyone in the market for a hybrid would buy a Prius, and anyone in the market for a premium wagon would get an A3, V50 or another wagon that costs less than this. Good luck trying to sell 1,000 of these each year.
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