The next-generation Lexus CT range could feature non-hybrid variants powered by conventional petrol and turbocharged engines to broaden the appeal of the Japanese car maker’s smallest model.
Head of Lexus Europe Alain Uyttenhoven told CarAdvice there was nothing forcing the next-generation CT to remain exclusively hybrid, and pointed to the new NX SUV as an indication of how the small car family could expand.
“[The next-generation CT] could be petrol, it could be petrol turbo,” Uyttenhoven said on the floor of the Paris motor show.
“The NX that we’ve just launched has hybrid technology, turbo technology, and we’ll have petrol technology for the Chinese and for the Russian market for example, so I don’t want to exclude anything.
“It could have [the turbo petrol engine]. We don’t just make engines for one car.”
Sales of the hybrid-only CT200h pale in comparison to those of its premium rivals in most global markets, including Australia, where Lexus sold just 525 to the end of August versus 3213 Mercedes-Benz A-Classes, 2796 Audi A3s and 1620 BMW 1 Series'.
The car maker’s European boss ruled out a sedan version of the next CT to rival the likes of the Audi A3 sedan and upcoming BMW 1 Series sedan, however.
“We try to be the progressive luxury brand of the market. Of course we have classical shapes of cars that we have established over time and so on, but … we try to be those that challenge the conventions, so probably a 1 Series sedan type of car, a C-segment sedan type of car, is not the next thing we are going to do. This would be too predictable.”
Uyttenhoven admitted that Lexus had room to grow in the lower-price segments of the market, however, and left the door open for something less traditional in the compact class moving forward.
“In Europe 60 per cent of the premium market is below 40,000 euros and many of our cars start at 40,000 euros, so if we would go downstream in smaller segments it would be possible because there is a much bigger market there.
“We try to be a premium, progressive and a bit exclusive brand, so if we are going to go into smaller segments it should be with innovative concepts.”
Production of the Lexus CT200h began at the end of 2010, suggesting the second-generation version is still likely to be more than two years away.