As with many other new cars, the Geneva Motor Show sees the first public outing for the new Lexus CT 200h Hybrid, an effort by Lexus to compete in a premium compact sector dominated by the Germans.
Despite moaning about the less than drop-dead-gorgeous looks when Lexus first showed us the CT 200h as the LF-Ch Concept – with a pretty awful gold paint job – the production ready CT 200h does look a bit more appealing. Still definitely not drop-dead-gorgeous – far from it – but credible enough, in a Lexus sort of way.
There’s really nothing new to report on the CT 200h itself from Geneva, except that Lexus has announced that the CT200h will be sold in the US. It is still only going to be a tweaked Prius under the skin with a 1.8 litre HSD setup – with Eco, Normal, Sport and EV modes – which can perform the stunning trick of running in EV mode only. For the incredible distance of 1.2 miles. That’ll save the planet.
Billed as competition for the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, the Lexus should be able to offer a credible alternative to buyers who want the premium quality the Germans offer but in a slightly less harsh and involving way. But how the hell Lexus is going to lure them away from Audi and BMW when all they’re offering is a daft HSD is anyone’s guess.
We can understand Toyota wanting to cash-in on the global obsession with reducing CO2 emissions from cars – after all, they’re in business to make money – but putting all your eggs in the hybrid basket – as Lexus are doing – is a dangerous game. What do they do when the world wakes up and realises CO2 is not a negative but a plus, and stop buying ‘Green Halo’ cars?
Much better to hedge their bets and offer a range of engines – from a frugal diesel to a punchy petrol – as well as the HSD. Otherwise Lexus could well find itself in a worse predicament in a few years time – with an unwanted and pointless range of ‘Green’ Cars – than it’s parent company Toyota finds itself in at the moment with a range of potentially dangerous cars.
Taking the Lexus CT 200h to the US will guarantee a wodge of sales to ‘Celebs’ anxious to keep polishing their public ‘Green Credentials’ (whilst keeping the Escalade in the garage for private use), but they could really sell a decent number to real Americans if they put a real engine under the bonnet.