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.
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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