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Lexus promises four-figure savings for fleets and drivers through new hybrid RX

Date: 08 May 2009   |   Author:

Lexus is claiming drivers will save between £2827 and £3137 in benefit-in-kind payments alone by choosing the new RX450h large off-roader hybrid rather than the diesel BMW X5 3.0d SE or Mercedes ML320 CDI respectively.

Those figures will stand for another two years until the 3% discount for hybrids is removed in the 2011/2012 tax year, though even then the RX will retain a significant BIK advantage over its diesel rivals.

The RX450h comes in with CO2 emissions of just 148g/km, significantly below the X5's 214g/km and the ML's 246, which has led Lexus to predict it will double its segment share to around 18% with the new model, which replaces the RX400h in July. That CO2 figure will also impact upon the NI contributions of fleets, as well as being directly proportional to the respective vehicles' fuel costs.

But it's not just the premium large off-roaders Lexus is targeting. "Because of CO2 we'll also get premium estate customers coming to us," Lexus director chk Belinda Poole told BusinessCar. "I see people coming out of large premium estate and looking at SUVs again, especially if it's seen as a greener SUV."

And small off-roader drivers are also being targeting. "Our CO2 is better than lower segment competitors but then it's down to price," she said. " Some may move up from the smaller SUV segment, it may be advantageous to move up."

The fleet-to-retail split should be around 50:50, with the main worry for Lexus being the possibility of some fleet policies banning off-roaders. "People want more for less and if they can get a prestige SUV for under 160g/km they will. But some policy lists may not allow 4x4s, though if they're working off CO2 this has to be a positive thing for us as the CO2 is so good.

The RX450h uses a battery to supplement the 3.5-litre petrol engine, with the electric energy created through regenerative braking when the car is decelerating. The latest model offers a 10% increase in power and 23% decrease in fuel consumption compared to the previous RX.