More Hybrids for Lexus
Nikkei Business News reports that Toyota's managing officer Toshio Furutani said that he wants to accelerate Lexus' hybrid strategy and add hybrid models to the whole line-up as soon as possible, and that in the medium to long term, Toyota was "considering making the Lexus lineup hybrid-only."
The cause of this change of strategy is probably higher fuel costs (even if they went down a bit lately) and, especially, the fact that the global sales of Lexus fell 9% on the year to 310,000 in the January-August period.
What Lexus Going Hybrid-Only Could Mean
The importance of this is no such much in the fact that more Lexus vehicles might be hybrid, but how it can impact the whole luxury vehicle industry. If Lexus goes hybrid-only, it would be very surprising if its competitors didn't react with similar announcements (for example, Mercedes has already announced that it wants to remove fossil fuels from its lineup by 2015). This could mean more R&D; into hybrid and electric drivetrains that will eventually trickle down to less expensive vehicles, more mindshare and "halo" effect for cleaner vehicles, etc.
If Toyota wanted to do something clever, it would take a page from the Tesla/Fisker strategy book and introduce series plug-in hybrids and electric cars as luxury vehicles since the extra costs for the battery and R&D; would be a much smaller fraction of the total price compared to, say, a $30k vehicle.
Not exactly the green holy grail, but certainly an improvement for luxury vehicles compared to how they are now.
Via Reuters, Green Car Congress
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