Lexus to unveil first hybrid-only model at Detroit '09

Think of the words "luxury" and "hybrid" and the name Lexus should come to mind. Toyota's luxury division offers gas-electric hybrid versions of the RX, GS and LS models, but while parent company Toyota has the hybrid-only Prius model, Lexus has yet to offer a dedicated hybrid of its own. According to Toyota's president Katsuaki Watanabe, by this time next year that will change.

Watanabe announced at the Detroit show that at the same show next year his company will unveil two new dedicated hybrid models. While one is known to be the replacement for the highly-successful Toyota Prius, the second will be Lexus' first hybrid-only model.

Few details on the Lexus hybrid are known at this point, but Toyota can't be happy to have been beaten to the punch by a comparatively tiny outfit when Fisker took the wraps off the Karma hybrid luxury sedan at the show this year. That car, however, is likely a long ways off from production, and it's technically a series hybrid like the Chevy Volt rather than a parallel hybrid like the Prius, so Toyota may still be able to lay claim to the world's first hybrid-only luxury car.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]

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