For as small a MPG bump the Lexus hybrids get compared to the non-hybrid versions, Toyota sure is able to ride them for a lot of publicity. Take a move by London's BlueSky Chauffeurs, an executive car hire company that will start cruising the city streets in LS 600h and the RX 400h hybrids. BlueSky is trying to move into the ever-more-crowded luxury/eco-friendly market, and the company's managing director, Leroy Barr, said that these vehicles play to customer's vanity. "Executives are getting younger and like to be seen in cars that reflect their status, but equally in this economic climate they don't want to be over-ostentatious," Barr said in a statement (pasted after the break).

The luxury is all inside - leather upholstery, multimedia and navigation package, GPS units - and apparently that little "h" on the rear badge will be enough to make any accusations go away.

Press Release:

BLUESKY SCENARIO: LEXUS LUXURY FOR A GREENER TOMORROW
18 June 2008

Five Lexus hybrid cars are set to hit the streets in and around London from mid-June, as BlueSky Chauffeurs becomes the capital's latest executive hire company.

"With BlueSky you can still travel first class without compromising the environment," says the company – and it will be relying on the GS 450h, and looking to add other models from the Lexus hybrid range, in the future.

"Working closely with a dedicated Account Manager at Lexus, our aim is to grow our fleet by incorporating the Lexus LS 600h and the RX 400h hybrids," says Leroy Barr, BlueSky Chauffeurs' Managing Director. "Executives are getting younger and like to be seen in cars that reflect their status, but equally in this economic climate they don't want to be over-ostentatious."

Based in Harrow, and convenient for Heathrow airport, BlueSky Chauffeurs will operate throughout central London and the Home Counties. "The company was launched to address the effects that current corporate travel has on the environment," says Mr Barr. "We want to aid companies wishing to do something rather than nothing – an eco-friendly service for current and future travel."

The decision to go with the Lexus GS 450h followed a period of trials. "We had been looking to go down the eco-friendly route, and the GS had everything we needed in a green executive car," says Leroy Barr. "We like it as drivers and as passengers, and we think our clients will be very happy."

BlueSky Chauffeurs is using the SE-grade Lexus GS 450h which, on top of a high-spec standard equipment list, includes leather upholstery, and a multimedia and navigation package. Being a hybrid the GS 450h uses a petrol engine with an electric motor so it can run solely on electric power at lower speeds, which means no fuel is used and more importantly no emissions. The drivers, who are individually responsible for the cars, will carry handsets supplied with a GPS tracking system. The cars are finished in black with black interiors.

The Lexus GS 450h delivers 341 bhp of power and offers fuel consumption of
35.8mpg (combined cycle) and CO2 emissions of 186g/km.

BlueSky Chauffeurs obtains its vehicles on contract hire through Lombard on a three-year/90,000 mile replacement cycle, and they are supplied by Lexus Leicester.

[Source: Lexus]

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