Japanese luxury marque's European boss indicates new entry-level model is in the works, with a wider push to PHEV and EV technology on the way.

Lexus looks set to introduce a new entry-level compact vehicle to replace the current CT hatchback early next decade, according to a new report out of the UK.

Autocar says Lexus' European boss, Pascal Ruch, confirmed the company's plans for a new model to slot under the compact UX crossover at the 2019 Geneva motor show, and that UK director, Ewan Shepherd, also hinted at such a vehicle earlier this year.

Why we're only hearing about this now is a mystery, though the British publication has a few ideas about what to expect from the new entry-level Lexus.

It's almost certain the new compact model will be based on a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which will improve driving dynamics and interior space compared to the current CT.

Autocar says it doesn't know for sure whether the new model will retain the CT's hatchback body style or morph into a pseudo crossover shape.

However, whether this vehicle is the widely-rumoured first EV from Lexus is unknown.

Hybrid power is a given, though, as the company looks to ramp up its petrol-electric sales volume. According to figures supplied by Ruch, just 182,000 of Lexus' 698,000 global sales were hybrids.

A lot of that comes from its massive US volume, which only has 10% hybrid sales share. Ruch told the British publication that Lexus plans to up the global ratio to about 50% in the longer term.

In Europe, though, hybrids account for more than 75% of Lexus sales, while the UK ups that to nearly 100%.

"Europe has a great strategic importance for Lexus because it’s seen as a leading region for technology and design," Ruch told Autocar.

"Our hybrid sales are highest in Europe, China and Japan will electrify [internal combustion engines] and the wider US market is really now starting with hybrids."

"We will be focusing on a core strategy of plug-in hybrids, some EVs and, eventually, fuel cell vehicles," he added.

In Europe, Ruch said the Toyota group is a leader in fleet CO2 emissions, and data supplied to Autocar by automotive analyst Jato Dynamics shows that the Toyota brand posted a fleet average of 99g/km of CO2 in 2018, bettered only by Tesla and Smart (89.9g/km).

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