By on November 8, 2011

Quick, name the Toyota product least affected by Asian floods and tsunamis? How about the Lexus HS250h? While its junior “dedicated hybrid” brand-mate, the CT200h took a nasty lick straight from its launch, which occurred just as the tsunami hit, the HS has been Mr Reliable. Mr Reliably Unpopular that is: the instantly-stodgy, $37k base price sedan has found between 150 and 300 buyers every single month this year. You can’t pin that on any tsunami, the car is simply a sales stinker. And when high-profit luxury vehicles flop this badly, you have to wonder how it will affect the brand’s the reputation. In any case, I don’t have a [sub] to Wards, so I don’t know why they’re reporting that the HS will be dropped… but I’m not in the least surprised. The market has spoken, it’s time to kill it with fire.

 

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28 Comments on “(Not-So) Wild Ass Rumor Of The Day: Lexus HS250h Getting The Axe...”


  • avatar
    highrpm

    So a hybrid with a Lexus badge will not sell at close to $40k? What does this say for the future of the Volt?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      That was my original thought. But to be fair, the Volt is already selling at 2000+ monthly, looks a lot better than the Lexus, and is advertised much more.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        The Volt is selling at 2000+/month? Did I miss a highly surprising GM monthly sales report?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @KixStart: OK, not quite. This was debated here just this week: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/volt-production-drops-slightly-as-export-volume-ramps-up-and-dealers-sell-demonstrators/#more-417051

        Production is ~2000/mo and slightly falling for the time-being; deliveries are ~1000/mo and rising.

        In any case, the Volt is doing much better than the HS250h.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Uhh I don’t know what bizarro world you live in but the Volt has only sold 5000 units so far this year.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Different cars.

      The Lexus won’t sell because it’s too mean-looking to work as a Lexus. It is a poor choice of car; a hybrid ES or IS would have been smarter, even if they’d charged more.

      The Volt’s in a different place.

      The CT does sell, albeit not in huge numbers, because it looks sort of upscale-hatchbackish (like the A3). I quite like the CT, actually, but I’m challenged to come up for a reason for the HS.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Agree with psar. For a person with a certain use profile (me, for example), the Volt is very attractive because it will be able to use almost no gasoline. The price is still silly high, but if the car was a $30,000 purchase I would consider it.

      The Lexus is just another hybrid and not a very good one, at that. Its highway mileage is hardly better than any number of gasoline-powered cars that are much more roomy (e.g. my old Saab 9-5). And, it’s pretty clear that people buy hybrids partly for the same reason that people buy BMWs — a kind of a fashion statement. The Prius has that part down cold, so the question is why pay the price premium for this car over a loaded Prius IV (which has leather, etc.), assuming you’re in the market for a hybrid?

      This car is probably quieter on the highway than the Prius, but as a highway car, this car makes no sense at all.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        This car is probably quieter on the highway than the Prius, but as a highway car, this car makes no sense at all.

        This is a good point. The HS makes more sense as a city car, but the CT makes more sense (city people prefer hatches, smaller, better fuel economy, more avant-garde styling) than the HS.

        A hybrid ES would have been a good highway cruiser, but for reasons I don’t get, Toyota won’t build one.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        But the HS at least has a good amount of luxury features to go with the pricetag. The Volt is a 4 seat econobox asking for luxury car money.

        The CT is much more attractive than the HS, just the jacked up ride height of the HS alone is enough for me.

    • 0 avatar
      PJ McCombs

      Agree with Psarhjinian–a $40K hybrid that looks like a $16K Corolla faces very different odds than a $40K hybrid that looks unique.

      Lexus is addressing this the CT200h, but I don’t know how the HS got out the door in the first place.

  • avatar

    The HS250h is terrible for the brand’s reputation.

  • avatar

    I drove HS as a courtesy car while my own Lexus was in for an oil change. It seems simply like a gigantic Prius. I loved the mouse controller, but not much else about it.

    As far as brand reputation goes, I don’t think there’s much to it. For one thing, it’s changed more than those rebadged Fords sold as Lincolns (or, actually, more than ES from Camry). For another, Lexus sells a large number of bespoke vehicles. HS plainly does not register enough to damage the brand.

    And most importantly, it’s not a bad car. It’s one that’s hard to love, but not a stinker.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    It probably should get the axe. An over grown Prius with far worse hybrid stats. I am also going to find it difficult for Lexus to have both the CT and HS models. I think it would be better to have a CT hatch and sedan than have 2 different models for a very similar market.

    I wouldn’t have any interest in a HS. I might look at a CT.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Good. It’s about time.

    Now thay can replace it with something people will actually buy: a Lexus ES hybrid with the new Camry hybrid power train. It’s not so much the poor mileage as it is the look. A luxury car should look luxurious. The HS just looks oddly proportioned.

  • avatar
    plunk10

    Looks like a Corolla. No wonder no one’s buying. Add to that it costs MORE than a CT200. Count me out!

    Its the Lexus Cimmaron

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Corolla with Prius innards? I guess GM is not the only one with that playbook.

      I love the writer”s bias in screaming “Japan catastrophe”. As we don’t get a couple of days to a week without hearing about it. Then, oh, it had sucky sales anyway”. Pffft!

    • 0 avatar
      RedStapler

      “Its the Lexus Cimmaron”

      My thoughts exactly. Compared to a loaded Prius its a terrible value.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Hope it’s true – so I will see EVEN less of these fugly hybrids…The Ct200h ain’t great but still a ‘stunner’ vs the HS250h…

    Just buy a Jetta or Passat TDI if you want a green sedan…and a Golf if you want a green hatch. It still puzzles me why people would go hybrid vs diesel.

    They must hate driving and/or have bad memories of Oldsmobile diesels from the early 80s.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I can see why you’d pick hybrid over diesel: you drive mostly urban-cycle, you care about emissions and/or you like the feel.

      Plus, if we’re going to knock hybrids for driving feel, we can hit diesels for poor relative reliability. Both are unfair: most hybrids are Toyotas, which aren’t spirited; most diesels are European, which are expensive to keep. This doesn’t mean that, eg, Toyota couldn’t make a reliable diesel that’s dreary to drive, or that BMW couldn’t make a hybrid that’s a glorious yet glitchy bastard.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “Just buy a Jetta or Passat TDI if you want a green sedan…and a Golf if you want a green hatch. It still puzzles me why people would go hybrid vs diesel.”

      You call diesel green? The only way it can be green is being painted that way. Diesel isn’t any better than gas engine in a per unit carbon sense. Not to mention the emissions, which is separate from fuel consumption.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    “And when high-profit luxury vehicles flop this badly, you have to wonder how it will affect the brand’s the reputation.”

    I don’t see the connection to the reputation of the entire Lexus brand. And “reputation” for what? Every Lexus has always been a smash hit? Seems the lack of sales is a marketing (another focus group mishap?) or pricing miscalculation, and to me marketing is just fashionable hype that’s completely independent of actual product functionality/utility.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Tosh – Agree 100% – What is the Toyota/Lexus reputation? Boring cars for people that hate to drive is all I can figure. I had to jettison our 2008 Highlander Ltd because I feared slipping into a coma while driving it…

    Toyota/Lexus DID have better reliability at a time in the 1990s where only Toyota and Honda were semi-bulletproof. Now the differences between the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ is minimal at best.

    I need some bang for my $40,000 bucks!

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    The HS250h never made sense – it looked like a Prius but was substantially different underneath, it was a dedicated hybrid but completely outclassed in fuel economy by the aforementioned Prius… What was the point? The look and luxury weren’t good enough without fuel economy like a Prius.

    It was really pointless from the beginning.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I imagine that the CT200h makes the HS250h somewhat redundant. I think somebody called the CT200h “the entry-level Lexus.”

    Certainly, $30K for that car is not as daunting as $37K for the 250. And it seems to me that the 200 gets favorable reviews. Also, as a hybrid, the 200 seems to get significantly better fuel economy, which is a must have feature for a hybrid to get the interesst of people with green tendencies.

    The HS250h probably didn’t cost Toyota all that much to develop and they didn’t tie their reputation up in it, so there’s no reason not to cancel it.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Lets see. Lexus hoped to sell 20 to 22K of these a year. They have sold 2000 so far. Toyota hoped to sell 40K Sequoia’s a year and sold 9K so far. They expected to sell 200,000 Tundra’s a year and sold 67,000 so far. IIRC the sequoia is getting renamed to Land Cruiser pretty soon.

    The HS is perfect car for the Lexus customer base who like buying overpriced Toyota’s so everyone will think they are rich.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “The HS is perfect car for the Lexus customer base who like buying overpriced Toyota’s so everyone will think they are rich.”

      Um, no it isn’t. That is why it isn’t selling. Your comment better describes the ES, but at least that is a decent car that hits its market.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I can’t believe the HS even made it to the showroom floor, given its low-rent exterior styling and proportions. Others are right; they should have hybridized the ES with this powertrain and left the CT as the entry model. At least the CT is sharp looking and is rumored to handle well.

    If the HS dies alone in a corner, maybe the CT can inherit the new Camry hybrid powertrain; it’s more efficient and MotorTrend just clocked that car at 7.2 seconds to 60.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The HS is ugly AND overpriced. Now Acura needs to dump the even worse selling RL and the hideous and impractical ZDX.


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