CT200h is 'biggest ever' Lexus
25 March 2011
The smallest Lexus model, the new CT200h, is the company's biggest in terms of importance, according to the company.
"This is our biggest-ever car in terms of bringing the Lexus brand to a whole new group of customers," said Lexus director Belinda Poole.
The new CT200h is aimed directly at the BMW 1-series and Audi A3, but its hybrid powertrain means it trumps its German rivals with a 94g/km emissions figure and 68.9mpg, while the petrol-electric power means a 10% BIK tax band.
"This car hits the heart of the segment, and the only other Lexus that does that is the RX450h," Toyota and Lexus managing director Jon Williams told BusinessCar. "The IS and GS only play in part of the segment, but this car opens up the whole segment with the powertrain and pricing. The opportunity is quite broad."
The CT200h will provoke a 50% increase in overall Lexus sales this year, going from around 6000 to just over 9000 this year, and climbing again to around 10,600 in 2012. Of that, 4100 this year and 6000 next year will be the new CT200h. The firm refuted suggestions that it might find difficulties in handling the increased volume, pointing out that it has in the past been up as high as 15,000 cars per year.
Williams said the car has had a "good reception from the leasing industry".
"We've spent a lot of time with the residual value guys and now have a good process to give them an early sight of the vehicle, as well as helping us with refining the line-ups and grades," he said. "And we've been sharing as early as possible with the leasing companies."
Toyota's heritage with hybrid technology is also helping the CT200h with lease firms, according to the firm's UK boss. "We're now on the third generation of hybrid technology and they understand it and have their own SMR data from Prius and their own experience of disposal."
Lexus has "overinvested" in demonstration cars, as Williams said it's vital to get people to drive the car. "We've got a real job with the CT200h to get people behind the wheel to experience the car," he said. "I think we've got a very relevant product and we're looking forward to bringing new people to the Lexus brand to experience the personal service from Lexus."
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