Lexus is planning to launch a hybrid version of every model in its range within two years in a move that experts say could revolutionise the car industry.
The Toyota-owned marque sells two hybrid models at present – the RX and the GS. It is launching a hybrid version of the LS later this year, and the two remaining models in its range – the SC and 3-series rival the IS – will be available as hybrids by 2009.
Lexus GB director Steve Settle says: “Our brand’s association with hybrids is very strong now and gives us a point of differentiation. We want to establish Lexus as the default brand for hybrids. Other manufacturers are saying that by 2009 they’ll have hybrid versions of certain models but by 2009 we’ll have a hybrid for every car in our range.”
Toyota has led the way in hybrid technology with its Prius model and even the likes of Ford and General Motors announced plans for environmentally friendly cars at the Detroit Motor Show in January. Volkswagen claims its Blue Motion technology is an alternative way to cut CO2 emissions, while BMW is pioneering hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Professor Garel Rhys, director of the Institute of Automotive Industry Research, says Lexus’ plan, “is very much a sign of things to come. Hybrid vehicles will become commonplace but Toyota is in the vanguard. It is using Lexus as a test-bed for the rest of its empire to see whether hybrid technology will spread across all sectors.”