Toyota may be struggling to make money and keep up sales right now, but the Japanese automaker is still cruising along when it comes to hybrids. The Prius is a big reason why Toyota has secured 75% of the hybrid market, and the company is expecting its upmarket sibling, the Lexus HS 250h to do the same for its luxury division.
Automotive News is quoting Toyota execs who say that the company is expecting 25,000 HS250 sales in the first 12 months on the market. That's a piffling number compared to the 180,000 units the company expects to sell of its third-generation Prius, but that would still be more hybrid sales than any other luxury brand.
While Lexus has hybrid versions of the RX, GS, and LS models, only the HS will be a dedicated hybrid-only proposition. In fact, the HS 250h will be the sole dedicated gas-electric vehicle in the entire luxury automotive segment. While the hybrid market has dried up somewhat along with the rest of the industry in 2009, Toyota sees signs that the market will soon improve. Mark Templin, group vice president of the Lexus Division, told AN that 60% of Lexus buyers are willing to consider a hybrid.
[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]