By on May 17, 2012

Well, it was bound to happen. The ugly step-child of the Lexus lineup, the HS250h, is dead. And the too-tall corpse has been decomposing for quite some time.

Toyota told Inside Line

“Production of the HS 250h ceased in January, 2012. Lexus continues to monitor sales for each product and we make adjustments to make sure that we meet market demand, and the discontinuation of HS was part of that adjustment. The ES 300h is not replacing HS in our lineup. It’s merely part of the hybridization of many of our existing vehicles in the Toyota and Lexus lineups.”

Sales of the HS dropped 74 percent in 2011, and with the ES300h and the CT200h, Lexus has all their bases covered in the hybrid car market covered. The fact that the HS250h has been dead for nearly 6 months without anyone noticing is a bit pathetic. If it had “Prius” in its name, it might have done a bit better. Perhaps this is proof that even a bulletproof nameplate like Lexus can’t just slap a hybrid system into any old crap and expect it to sell.

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98 Comments on “If The Lexus HS250h Dies In Obscurity, Does Anybody Notice?...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Perhaps this is proof that even a bulletproof nameplate like Lexus can’t just slap a hybrid system into any old crap and expect it to sell.”

    I think that it supports the position that hybrids may be niche products, but are not luxury products. They can command a price premium, but not as a luxury good.

    (This should give pause to those who would claim that the Volt should have been branded as a Cadillac or Buick.)

    It may also support the position that Toyota (the brand) has a corner on the hybrid market, and that hybrid buyers largely want Toyota hybrids (most specifically, Toyota Prius hybrids), not just any hybrid. At least for now, Toyota owns the space.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota/Lexus is BORING. Drug dealers don’t even rap about them anymore.

      The LFA just got it’s ass whopped by the McLaren in a side by side race. All that engineering FOR NOTHING.

      If you gave me a choice right now between a free Lexus LS460 and a cadillac XTS – I’d take the XTS. (I’d even take the Lacrosse over the Lexus.

      The name Lexus doesn’t mean ANYTHING anymore.

      I’d rather…God kill me for saying this… have an EQUUS.

      • 0 avatar
        iainthornton

        I agree with you entirely, bigtruckseriesreview. To be honest, has the Lexus name ever really had a true meaning?
        There’s not any heritage there…..in fact, this spell-check doesn’t even recognise it as a word!
        The name was just created for Toyota to have something they could describe as ‘luxurious’ to allow them to challenge established marques. And while a Lexus is traditionally very reliable, it doesn’t really offer anything extra. The performance, styling and interior ambience are nothing about which to write home.

        While an LS back in ’98 or so was probably superior to a Cadillac STS, that’s not really the case any more. I see no reason now to buy a Lexus.

        If I wanted a big, expensive luxury sedan now I think I’d have to go with the current Jaguar XJ. For once, Jaguar is the revolutionary brand.

      • 0 avatar
        replica

        No gangsters dream of blowin’ dro’ in that Lexo’

      • 0 avatar
        daiheadjai

        As someone who was put through university on the backs of Lexus products, I assure you your views are the minority.

        Of course, none of this is to say that the Lexus lineup currently ISN’T boring.
        In my opinion, the closest thing they had to exciting, excluding the LFA, is the IS series, and even so, the current IS has aimed for “refinement” where the old IS300 aimed for an edgier feel.

        As for the LFA, I’m sure if it was specifically engineered to beat a McLaren, it would – but it wasn’t.
        It was engineered to be a halo car and a super car, something which it succeeds at.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        I disagree that the Lexus name doesn’t mean anything. But I do think that it means “crap.” With an exotic that is so ridiculously expensive and non-existent that it’s completely irrelevant, a luxury flagship that rivals the age of the Panther platform, a midsize performance sedan that’s maybe sold to a dozen people, an egg shaped SUV, and a bunch of economy cars, the brand is just a middle of the road mess.

      • 0 avatar
        daiheadjai

        hifi, you do know the LS460 is pretty much a brand new platform right?
        I hate to sound like a Lexus apologist, but your comments seem a bit uninformed.

        Also, an exotic that isn’t “high priced and nonexistent” in terms of numbers, really wouldn’t be all that “exotic” would it?

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        I have to agree with daiheadjai here. While the lesser Lexi might be glorified Toyotas, the LS is something really special. I’ve driven a few including for long distances and they are superb cars. While they’re not overtly sporty, they’re at least as comfortable, smooth, solid, and refined as any high-end BMW or Mercedes. The LS also has magnificent build quality and its reliability record shames just about any other car. If the Cadillac XTS can match the LS, it’ll be an amazing achievement for GM.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Agreed Tonyola the LS400 is the only Lexi I would spend my own money on, a true achievement (haven’t driven 430 or 460), the rest of them which I have driven (GS300, RX300/330, and ES330) were weak and boring in comparison. If GM could build an LS, my they’d really have something *cough cough a real Cadillac*.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The XTS isn’t meant to compete against the LS, but the upcoming Cadillac Omega RWD sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        daiheadja,

        “hifi, you do know the LS460 is pretty much a brand new platform right?
        I hate to sound like a Lexus apologist, but your comments seem a bit uninformed.”

        I didn’t know this, and I don’t claim to be a Toyota historian. The LS looks and drives like a much older car platform than it is. I don’t believe that making a car soft and adding lots of veneer equates to luxury or sophistication. It’s a 2004 Buick.

        Also, an exotic that isn’t “high priced and nonexistent” in terms of numbers, really wouldn’t be all that “exotic” would it?”

        If “horsey-looking design and bizarre lease pricing, resulting in virtually non-existent retail sales for the sole purpose of being a halo car” is what you mean by an Exotic, then yes. Let’s be clear, it’s all about the circles that it’s trying to travel within. And the LFA is completely out of it’s league. Toyota has spent more time noodling over the carbon fiber knitting loom that weaved (wove?) the A-pillars, that they’ve completely lost track of the big picture. Building a world class car. It actually highlights more about what’s wrong with Toyota than anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        @hifi

        Luxury can also mean build quality, solidity, and overall refinement. The Lexus LS is second to no-one in that regard.

      • 0 avatar

        Speaking as an OWNER… the LS460 is nowhere near as perfect as the S550.

        The LEXUS may be quiet and ride smooth, but, my S550 does all that the LS460 does – better.

        I tested the A8 of that year, the LS460 and the 750li before making my final choice. I went with the S550 and never looked back.

        The LS460-L’s interior was too small for me. The front seat was cramped, but, the backseat was roomy. Didn’t like ceiling height either.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        @ bigtruck/Flashpoint

        Everyone on TTAC and his dog know about your S550 and SRT8 since the Farago days. Can you say something with more novelty?

      • 0 avatar
        Pikadon

        The fact that a supercar isn’t the very fastest on Earth hardly means that its engineering was wasted.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    If the Volt dies in obscurity, will anyone notice?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Wow, Volt bashing only took to the second post.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        No bashing because DK raises an interesting point.

        If a product, any product by any manufacturer, has failed in the market place, will anyone care? Will anyone care if the HS250h goes away? Will anyone care if the Leaf EV goes away? Will anyone care if the overpriced Tesla’s never make it to market?

        Your sensitivity to the Volt reference only goes to underscore that you, too, think the Volt is a failed product, but are unwilling to man up to it. To each his own. But being overly sensitive to a failed product will never sell more of them.

        The flip side of the coin is that millions of people will care if Toyota should kill off the Prius line of vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        Wait a moment, Tesla Roadster made it to market. Are you implying that it was reasonably priced?

    • 0 avatar

      The VOLT was more highly advertised than the HS. I think someone would notice.

      Thing is, ELECTRIC CARS SUCK.

      The Fisker Karma which I borrowed for a weekend to testdrive SUCKED IN EVERY WAY. I’d rather have a Jaguar XJ – which is $30,000 cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Highdesertcat – I assume you also think the Leaf is a failure, if sales are your metric. And both the Leaf and Volt would be noticed if they were stopped 5 months ago.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        If the Leaf is not a failure then neither is the Volt. The Prius was able to stand on its own and sell, and move hundreds of thousands of units in a few years time, whereas the Leaf/Volt may be the future grandparents of a new wave of EVs, neither model on its own can justify the R&D costs with sales.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mike978, Yes, I do think the Leaf is a failure. My brother and his wife in Manhattan, NY, own one and he thinks its a failure. That’s good enough for me. They also own an F150 and a Camry which they have to drive more (for a variety of reasons).

        Let me be clear, I am not against EVs and Hybrids. I think they should be available to anyone who wants to buy one, and can afford to buy one (I won’t be one of them).

        But the whole concept that EVs and Hybrids are somehow going to replace ICE vehicles was misbegotten and ill-thought-out; someone’s wet dream gone off prematurely.

        They would only become widely accepted if we ran out of oil, and that won’t happen for hundreds of years yet. Oil will always be available, albeit at a price. And most Americans don’t care what gas costs. They buy it at any price. I’ll buy it at any price. It beats walking.

        We always have a choice, we can choose to buy oil, or we can choose not to. We can choose to go EV or Hybrid but it appears that the buying public overwhelmingly goes ICE which equals “not to”.

        That’s the way it is with EVs and Hybrids. Even the Prius with all its sales and all its fans is but a drop in the bucket of automobile-dom; a mere fraction of a percent of all cars on the road. The Volt and Leaf aren’t even on the playing field. They’re in the wrong stadium waiting for the game to start.

        EVs and Hybrids are an answer to a question never asked, even if they are made by Lexus. No one will even notice that they’re gone.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The 1st gen Prius wasn’t exactly a sales success in the US; sometimes it just takes time for new technology to get wider acceptance, esp. when prices are high for early adopters.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        bd2, that was more than a decade ago. And even though the Prius line of vehicles is a great success, most people choose not to buy an EV or Hybrid. Not even entry-level luxury hybrids like the HS250h (aka Homely Sedan 2.5L hybrid).

        If the new crop of EVs and Hybrids were anticipated to be more popular and more widely accepted because of different approaches to propulsion, as in the Volt gasoline-driven-generator/battery EV vs the Prius battery-ICE Hybrid vs the Leaf battery-powered PEV, there is no indication that either of these applications will outsell the common ICE vehicles any time soon. Not even close.

        EVs and Hybrids remain a novelty, regardless of trim. But more people would care if the Prius line went away than if the Volt and Leaf went away. Each may have some fans, but they amount to a miniscule minority in the overall context of vehicles on the road.

        Time passing will do nothing for sales of EVs and Hybrids. Running out of oil would. But that won’t happen for hundreds of years yet. While interesting, this has been an exercise in futility.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Waaaait a minute…I’m seeing more Volts on the road. I actually want one, but am unwilling to buy a new car as my Impala is still doing great. Until something major – like an engine or a tranny goes out – maybe.

      Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I think the Volt is one cool car.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Zack, the Volt actually is one cool car. I had a close look at one when I took one of my neighbors to the local GM dealer early one morning to get his Enclave serviced. (Routine – no problems)

        I sat in the Volt, I looked it over real good, but I didn’t drive it. A lady salesperson was immediately at my side pointing out all the highlights and talking points. It was really quite enjoyable, along with the free coffee and donuts in the showroom. (I helped myself to breakfast there while listening attentively to the sales pitch)

        When the inevitable offer came to take it for a spin, my neighbor had reappeared and I declined, thanked her and we left.

        But a car is just a car. It doesn’t matter what motivates it as long as it gets you there.

        So, from MY perspective, weighing the pluses and minuses, were I forced to choose, I’d buy a Cruze over a Volt and use the difference in cash I saved to buy gas and another Cruze when the first one was worn out.

        In my area I have never seen a Volt on the road; only in the showroom.

      • 0 avatar
        Pikadon

        highdesertcat:

        That was my philosophy when I briefly considered buying a Prius a few years back, when gas hit $5/gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

        I went to the Toyota Web site and spec’d one out. A Prius equipped the way I’d have wanted one — with the Touring Package plus a few standalone options — would’ve cost $29.5K at the time (and obviously more now).

        I realized that I could get a clean, used Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, or Lexus for $5-10K less, and could buy a hell of a lot of gas with the money I’d save. Not to mention, have a lot more fun burning it.

        I ended up with a pristine LS430 lease return from a local Lexus dealership, equipped with the optional sport suspension (which I hadn’t even known about until I saw the online ad for the car). I never looked back.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Pikadon, that was a smooth move! Obviously you think out your approach to a situation and choose the outcome most advantageous to you. Good show!

        There’s no doubt that radical changes and improvements in transportation are coming. But all of them are going to need some kind of energy to move and electricity is not it, unless we can effect breakthroughs in energy-storage technology that will give us a range equal to or greater than that currently with gas or diesel engines.

        I had high hopes for Hydrogen and Methane, but that has proven to be too costly. So oil, or gasoline and diesel, including JP- jetfuel and AVgas will remain the cheapest way to go for the next few centuries to come.

        Hybrids are a nice option and help the self-styled environmentalists believe that they are doing something for the planet, but hybrids and EVs add unnecessary costs to vehicles so equipped, which eliminates the vast majority of “the people” from owning one.

        And the new discoveries of oil, natgas and even new coal veins in North America guarantee the world a cheaper source of energy for centuries to come.

        Just in New Mexico alone, in existing oil fields that currently produce, the extraction method of using superheated steam has unlocked oil previously not extractable. That’s billions of barrels we don’t have to import from the Middle East.

        West Texas pumpers are having a field day with their newly unlocked oil and there aren’t enough refineries in the US to handle all that available oil, so we actually export much of it. Our single largest export to the world is gasoline. Go figure!

        If EVs and Hybrids are ever to become the “people’s cars” as Volkswagen was intended to be in Hitler’s days, all manufacturers need to find a way to make them cheaper and furnish a better refueling infrastructure than we have now with ICE cars. (Not feasible)

        Until then I will continue to believe that EVs and Hybrids should be available to anyone who wants to buy one and can afford to buy one. But for myself I choose to go gasoline and will pay whatever it costs, or until I run out of money.

        If I don’t have money to pay for gasoline, I sure won’t have money to pay for electricity for a limited-range Plug-In EV.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Too much money for the Hybrid. $26k ok for them.NO?

  • avatar

    I think the CT200h is cool, but maybe it isn’t?

  • avatar
    Ion

    The Hs2500h failled because it was basically the lexus cimarron. It had nothing to do with it being a hybrid. Everyone I know that test drove one thought it looked like a corrolla and drove like one. It might have allegedly been baised off some european toyota model but it sure didn’t seem like it.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      You’ve basically nailed it. It got middling fuel economy, it commanded a Volt grade price without any ‘guberment hand outs, and nothing inside or out really felt like, looked like, or said, “Lexus,” from a fit, finish, acceleration, ride, or quality of material stand point.

      The Lexus Cimarron analogy is pretty much spot on for why this failed. Hopefully this represents the “basement” of Toyota’s dark days in the late 2000′s of phoning in product development and they won’t repeat these kind of mistakes.

      • 0 avatar
        Liger

        From what I understand, the Japanese government did provide handouts for Toyota to develop the product into what it is today. So Toyota DID ACCEPT “‘guberment hand outs” for the development of their Hybrid power train.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I’ve heard the same thing about the Japanese government heavily funding the hybrid powertrain development, not sure how true it is but I personally believe it. For the Japanese though i don’t think it was as much as a political thing as the Volt is to our gov’t, I think they saw a new market they could own and invested the capital for their country’s industries.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Right. The ES350 is a nicer car than a Camry v-6 XLE – NVH, interior, sound system, etc. I don’t get the impression than the HS250h was that much nicer than a loaded Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        stevelovescars

        I’ve driven them both and I thought the HS250h was a substantial improvement over the Prius in terms of materials, comfort, and particularly, road noise.

        However, it was also about 80% more expensive and the fuel-economy wasn’t very impressive.

        Styling is subjective but I think the new Prius looks cool because it’s a very purposeful (aerodynamics) design and clearly identifies the car as a hybrid. The HS just looked, well, dorky, even with 18″ wheels and Lexus paint quality (still downright superb, btw) is just never looked right to my eyes nor “hybrid” enough for a buyer interested in telegraphing their inner Ed Begley, Jr.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Claw

      Most likely the Avensis, based on its looks. And that was very much the UK’s “Camry” (at least based on market position)…

      “Lexus Cimarron” as said by Ion above is right.

  • avatar
    sckid213

    +1 I was about to comment that this was the Lexus Cimarron and the first full-on flop in that brand’s history. Hopefully Lexus execs don’t just choose to forget about this model’s failure or pretend it never happened. This car was an embarrassment to the brand and should not be forgotten.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but this is one of the cars I’d most like to beat the paint off of with a baseball bat. Oh, the mere sight of it. I suspect a few dealers feel the same.

  • avatar
    replica

    Crap. I need to hurry and go buy one so I can park it next to my Mitsubishi Raider.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Good riddance. Who thought the HS250h was a good idea, anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      daiheadjai

      No idea.
      All I know is from Day One when I saw this hideous and impractical thing, it’s failure was a foregone conclusion.

      My dad had one for a demo car for awhile – it was cramped, an uninspired driver, and really a terrible idea that never should have seen the light of day.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    Um, Lexus’ Cimmaron? Let’s not get carried away here. While the HS was a sales dud, and for a Hybrid, didn’t get stellar MPG, it was a far better car for Lexus than the POS Cimmaron ever was for Cadillac. The Cimmaron literally destroyed Cadillac’s repuation, not to mention it was based on a truly mediocre car to begin with. The HS was a good idea executed badly (the ES300h executes the idea perfectly), but ignoring sales, it was still a nice little car, something the Cimmaron wasn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      The only reason this car was not the total disaster that the Cimmaron was is that nobody knew about it. It was a total flop and didn’t represent anything Lexus is supposed to be, just like the Cimmaron was for Cadillac. In my mind, that makes it exactly the same.

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Hell, Lexus would probably be THRILLED if the HS sold as many copies as the Cimarron. Sure, the Cimarron hurt Cadillac’s brand image more than the HS hurt Lexus’, but still.

        Also, how much damage to Cadillac was truly due to the Cimarron? The V8-6-4, Olds diesel, craptastic HT4100 V8, and disastrous ’86 downsizing all happened shortly after – Cadillac seemingly had a death wish during the 1980s.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        @KalapanaBlack agreed. I was thinking to myself, “what, Cadillac HAD credibility to begin with in 1984 when the Cimmaron came out and THAT’S what ended it?!?!”

        Lets see here as we look at the current state of the union of Lexus:

        * Declining sales in its segment – check
        * Graying demographic – check
        * Lack of innovation compared to the competition – check
        * Up and coming brands and car makers nipping at heels – check

        And then lets look at the HS250h

        * Luxury car built on a C-segment chassis that has no business being turned into a luxury car – check
        * Tarted up engine offering over its C-segment cousin – check
        * Cheapified interior that is tarted up with better seats, marginally better material and lots of buttons – check
        * Insane asking price – check
        * Middling performance – check

        Yup – its the Lexus Cimmaron with the only saving grace is that it will be little more than a footnote in automotive history.

    • 0 avatar

      The Cimmaron didn’t really sell much to traditional Cadillac buyers, who knew right away that it was a badge engineered Cavalier. I agree with KalapanaBlack, there were other factors besides the Cimmaron in Cadillac’s degraded reputation.

      I personally think the V8-6-4 did more damage than anything else to the brand. If nothing else, Cadillacs were smooth. Even when emissions controls in the 1970s started killing horsepower, those big Cadillac V8s had plenty of torque, so they could waft in the most relaxed manner and still be able to get out of their own way. If anything else, the V8-6-4 was not smooth.

      The Cimmaron was a mistake because it tried selling a Chevy as a Cadillac. The V8-6-4 was an even bigger mistake because it involved selling actual Cadillacs with an engine that went against brand identity.

      The Olds diesel was just icing on the badly baked cake. The worst part of the Olds diesel disaster is that while GM was wasting money trying to build a new diesel that was necessarily compromised so it could run down the same transfer machinery as a the gasoline engines, Detroit Diesel, also owned by GM, was finishing up development of what became known as the Duramax diesel V8, which was in production for two decades, powering diesel versions of Chevy and GMC pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        That was the thing I never understood. GM had plenty of heavy duty truck engine experience and they made that sad sack of a diesel engine…how could they have possibly thought it would hold up? When they did durability testing, why was the frangibility not exposed?

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        There were factors even before the V8-6-4. First, Cadillac doubled its sales volume between 1967 and 1977. 400,000+ units per year doesn’t do much for exclusivity, especially when cars are being forced on the dealers to the point where they have to discount below list just to move the cars. Second was the 1977 downsizing. The Cadillac was downsized along with the rest of the GM biggies and the DeVille became more like the Buick Electra and Olds 98. The Fleetwood lost its exclusive wheelbase with larger interior and became just a DeVille with nicer trim. Then came the diesel debacle in 1979-1980.

        The worst blow was the 1980 second-generation Seville. The 1975 Seville was a good car despite being mostly a GM parts-bin special. It was well-built, well-equipped, a decent handler, and performed better than any other ’75 Caddy. While the Seville still fell short of the premium Europeans, it held out a promise that GM was taking things seriously and might make a world-beater next time around. So what did we get for 1980? A horribly-styled retro blob with a standard diesel and poor quality control. Mercedes and BMW breathed a sigh of relief while Cadillac became a laughingstock not to be taken seriously anymore. Then came the V8-6-4 and Cimmaron.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I’ve driven the 368 (the so called 8-6-4) which is actually the last of the big block Caddy engines dating back to the 472, and its not as bad as they said. I agree with Ronnie it wasn’t smooth, but from what I have read and have heard from old timers the trouble with it was the cutting edge computer system trying to control the fuel injection and regulate the cylinders… it didn’t work too well. The solution was to simply rip out the system which was fortunately designed as an add on in place of a carb, and just convert it back to a 4bbl. Not tonnes of power due to detuning but enough to move one of those around. Now the diesel and 4100 fiascos well I think those doomed the brand.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Tonyola is right, I didn’t even pick up on those earlier point regarding the lost of brand prestige, good calls.

        Although I kinda liked the Seville Slants the overall design is polarizing in 2012 let alone 1980 and yes the standard diesel was a complete fail.

        Here’s a CAFE continuum for ya… I wish I could go back and sit on the GM board of directors in 1980… aside from not completely f***ing up the brand, I would have introduced a line of limited edition ‘legacy’ throwback Cadillacs maybe 5,000 units/year. Three models with a common chassis, the Slant Seville (which would prob have a diff name like Lasalle), a 1930s looking Deville, and a 1920s looking convertible/coupe… GM had 40% of the market in 1980 they could have done this, and the unions would have loved it (think GM Craft Center). I’d price them to the sky and watch the big shots chase after them, guarantee there would never be a Sinatra edition Imperial. For mainstream Cadillac I would have kept the 368 (damn CAFE! Pay the fee!) until I developed a better RWD platform which could also be used in FWD configuration (assuming I’m a time traveler I’ll get the Buick team to adapt the overall turbo 3800 design for V8 use). I would have kept the Nova based Seville as is (Chevy parts and all), left Eldorado FWD as it was in 1979, made Fleetwood into the premier long wheel base RWD sedan/coupe and put Deville on s shorter fleetwood body until I could move it to FWD. Assuming all of that worked, I would keep Seville on a separate platform as my RWD ‘touring/sport’ sedan, and keep the Eldo big as my FWD ‘touring/sport’ coupe model with no ’85 downsize. I’d keep Deville as my midsize FWD mainstay but drop the coupe, keep the big RWD coupe/sedan/limo config for Fleetwood, and prob skip Allante. Even if Lexus and Acura came along I could still keep most of my customer base through at least the 90s before I’d have to radically change it to compete with Japan/Europe… by that time I’d retire with my GM stock at an all time high! :)

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Ten years of exploding engines destroyed Cadillac’s marque more than any one model did. Sure the Cimmaron to this day is the butt of jokes but ironically in its time it was the only Caddy which could make it out of the warranty period with its original drivetrain… until one other model (Brougham) got the mighty Olds 307 in 1986, and then there were two working models until the 4.5′s debut in the ’88 MY.

      Incidentally I just saw the cleanest 80s Legend I’ve seen in a decade in the parking lot of my building, being driven by some high school punk dropping off a girl. Legend and LS400, the cars that almost wiped out Cadillac…

  • avatar
    someclevername

    I work in a building of executive suites, and so I see a very varied crop of cars every day (Mercedes SLS AMG being the pick right now). One person here has just bought one of these HS250′s – and no matter how hard I try all I can see when I look at it is a Corolla.

    And I have a Prius, for what it’s worth, so it’s not like I can’t appreciate the hybridness and all that. It just looks like a Corolla. All the leather and electronics inside can’t make up for it looking like a biscuit tin with wheels on the outside. Frankly I’m shocked they even brought it to market, let alone sold any. I just don’t get who this product was for. It is the bottom of the Lexus range, so golf club prestige is zero, and it doesn’t have the Prius name for green cred either.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Whats the real difference between a Prius and Corolla besides the drivetrain… is it just ‘green cred’ as you mentioned? Being a hatch maybe? Reason I ask is honestly I see them as really the same type of cheap, boring, car I won’t be seen in.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    What, no letter to Lexus about renamed Toyota Corollas?

    Lexus has been doing the renaming thing since the ES250/Camry in the late 1980′s-early 1990′s. Yes, it was that bad back then but they thought they could smoosh over ambious wanna-be hybrid owners with a tarted up Corolla. The Corolla sales have sucked for years now.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      This wasn’t a tarted-up Corolla. It was a tarted-up Prius that ended up looking a lot more like a Corolla. That was a dumb idea; a tarted-up Prius that looked like a Prius probably would’ve done great.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It is a tarted up Corolla. The HS 250h’s platform is based on the third generation Toyota Avensis, itself related to the traditional gasoline engine Toyota Allion sold from 2001 to 2007, and is based on 2.4-litre-engined Corolla. The drive line is very similar to that of the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which hurt MPG ratings for the smaller car.

        It was an outdated tarted up C-segment car right out of the gate.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “Your sensitivity to the Volt reference only goes to underscore that you, too, think the Volt is a failed product, but are unwilling to man up to it.’

    Oh give me a break. Your the one with the issues not APaGttH. I hope when I’m retired I find something better to do with my time than what you do with yours.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    Maybe if it had been marketed as a top of the range Prius, rather than a bottom feeder Lexus, it might have done better?

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    You have to give Toyota credit. They try new things, and sometimes this can produce a fail. If you have no fails, you are not trying.

    When is the last time Detroit did anything new? They copied crossover designs invented by the Japanese. The copied hybrid designs invented by the Japanese. They copied advanced engine desings from the Japanese. That is all Detroit does is copy.

    There was a time when Detroit invented. When will that return? Has Detroit management decided to only copy other automaker success?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Ford copied nothing. Ford and Toyota actively sought out each other and shared patents and technology to avoid a long drawn out battle between each other. It was a great example of cooperation.

      The idea that Ford “copied” Toyota’s hybrid technology is a myth.

    • 0 avatar
      kenzter

      Detroit copy the Japanese? I’ve never seen a Toyota full size truck from the 90′s, have you? How about that Prius plug-in? Oh yeah, the Volt was first.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Detroit copy the Japanese?”

        A few things that you may want to research:
        -NUMMI
        -Saturn
        -Diamond Star Motors
        -Ford Probe
        -Geo
        -Ford Courier

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Gee, thanks PCH, I’ve never heard of any of those joint ventures and badge engineered jobs.
        Anyway, if you want to go that far back, there’s many, many more examples of Japan copying Detroit.
        V8, automatic climate control, automatic transmission just to name a few. But Jimmyy named more recent examples, so I stuck to the same.

  • avatar
    Slab

    I was looking at the picture, trying to figure out why it didn’t have the funny rear window. I thought that was the only small hybrid Lexus. I never even knew this one existed.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    H S two hundred fifty H

    What an absolutely awful name.

    I really don’t get the luxury makers seemingly universal fixation on naming their cars with alphanumeric soup, but at least most of them keep it at two or three characters, and make sure it is at least a little euphonic.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Just makes me wonder, how long until people start loathing Toyota the way they do GM.

    This car was just too small for what people expect from Lexus. Hybrid/not hybrid wasn’t it’s issue. The thing was just too small for Lexus.

    My only real question is why in the general news media Toyota is getting a pass on this and yet if GM was to do something similar with Cadillac, GM would be reminded of this even 10 years from now.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Just makes me wonder, how long until people start loathing Toyota the way they do GM”

      There was a point at which GM owned half of the US market. Lousy cars, combined with brand destruction, created a fair bit of animosity among disaffected buyers who were left with unreliable cars and costly repair bills. When a company that sold half of the nation’s cars got buyers upset for an extended period of time, that was sure to include a considerable lot of unhappy people.

      That’s not a factor here. Toyota has experimented with some upmarket hybrids, and is seeing that there seems to be little real-world demand for such things. In the process, the Lexus brand hasn’t been harmed by it.

      This probably says more about the demand for hybrids than it does about the car itself. There is a certain market for hybrids, but it is still fairly narrow. The moral of the story is that Prius itself has become a brand, and it makes sense to attach most of the hybrids to that brand, rather than make a concerted effort to move it upmarket or into most varieties of “normal” cars.

      Likewise, there is only so much room for a hybrid-brand like the Prius, and the effort to create a Lexus variant of the odd styling theme was probably unnecessary. Those who want a hybrid that looks like a hybrid will simply buy the real thing, i.e. a Prius.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        I agree with most of what you said but I think Dave has an interesting point. Talk to some boomers about car choices over their lives and they usually start happy with muscle in the 60s, then the malaise era set in and they tried to stick with American and by the end of that era, they were jilted for the last time and switched to the offerings of the Rising Sun and have stayed there for twenty to thirty years. So what happens when Toyota starts making more mistakes, will the Gen X/Y buyers today hit some snags on ‘perfect’ Toyotas and grow to resent the brand over time, just as people my parents age can still go on about their awful Nova/Pinto/Citation/Aspen?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        28-cars-later, I think you nailed it. I’m past 65 and that’s pretty much the story of my automotive life.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “So what happens when Toyota starts making more mistakes”

        This isn’t really a mistake. TMC pioneered the hybrid space and still dominates the branding aspect of it.

        It makes sense for TMC to experiment to see how far they can take it. Not everything that they try is going to work, but they have enough cash to afford the effort.

        It wouldn’t be wise to experiment too much with the bread-and-butter cars such as the Camry. It makes a lot more sense to see where hybrids can take the company. They didn’t lose much by trying, and it should have taught them some lessons that they can apply elsewhere. A reasonable exercise in risktaking is completely different from selling bad products and then wondering why that would backfire.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        DesertCat, that’s a tragic story, I hope one day it ends happily with a Corvette :)

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        “A reasonable exercise in risktaking is completely different from selling bad products and then wondering why that would backfire.”

        Completely agree, reasonable risk-taking can pay a great dividend but on the flip side usually doesn’t send you to the poorhouse if it doesn’t pan out.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        “So what happens when Toyota starts making more mistakes”

        – Toyota has already made another “mistake” with the GS, with sales having dropped so low that Akio Toyoda was inclined to cancel the model.

        Even sales of the all new GS have been less than stellar.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        The new GS has been a huge success and brisk seller for the brand.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        28-cars-later wrote, “DesertCat, that’s a tragic story, I hope one day it ends happily with a Corvette :)”

        I appreciate that sentiment but mine is not a Corvette body. I don’t bend well in the middle anymore. Gave up tooling and wrenching because of arthritis aches and pains.

        However, a personal anecdote if I may, without pissing off the self-appointed automotive experts here: one of my sons bought a brand new, shimmering all-black 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 today and took me for a spin in it.

        Lord have mercy!!! — I screamed like a little girl as he floored it and put it through its paces on the race track 50 miles north of us.

        That SRT8 is no slouch. And it is a hell of a lot easier to get in to and out of for an old man than any sportscar.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I hope Toyota and especially Lexus learned that their car has to deliver in order to succeed. They’ve been successful for so long, with products that succeed in the marketplace one after another, that they probably started thinking they can slap their badge on just about anything and it will sell. But those cars sell well because they met the public’s expectation and wishes, in other world, they deliver. The Lexus HS just didn’t deliver. Hybrid with so-so mileage, performance car it ain’t, luxury car it ain’t, a looker it ain’t, and lo, despite a Lexus badge, it failed.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Eh, the best sellers for Lexus have been the RX and ES – basically “tarted up” Camry-based models, so it’s not surprising that Toyota thought that this would be a success as well.

      Where Lexus has been less successful is going up against Mercedes and BMW directly in the RWD sedan segments (particularly with the IS and GS).

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    This should have been an upscale Prius with a Lexus rwd or awd version slotted just below the IS250/350 which competes with BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 as an entry level sports sedan aka BMW 1 Series, Audi A3.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “Just makes me wonder, how long until people start loathing Toyota the way they do GM”

    When Toyota starts foisting half-baked underwhelming product and have the public serve as the research lab.

    So, never.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      +1

      I had a much longer response, but that’s it in a nutshell. You’ll know things have radically changed if Toyota ever grows to have the overt contempt for its customer base that GM seems to keep getting away with.

  • avatar

    Well, when sales drop 74%, the market is telling you something.

    “with the ES300h and the CT200h, Lexus has all their bases covered in the hybrid car market covered” – so I think Toyota would to just fine without the HS. Perhaps, they would just write off the HS an a failed experiment.

  • avatar
    siuol11.2

    Too bad, I always thought it was one of the better looking hybrids, and if it’s anything like the 2005-2008 IS250, I’d be estatic… but hybrid and luxury don’t seem to mesh well.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      They can mesh if done well. The Infiniti M hybrid is getting pretty decent reviews. Not sure how it’s selling, though.

      The RX450h has been a good (if not great) seller since introduction.

      The HS was simply too downmarket for Lexus. Toyota offers the Prius – with better mileage and pretty much the same feature availability – for less money. Why pay more for the Lexus badge? Also, it’s a disastrously proportioned vehicle, this HS.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Well, this was inevitable. The only hybrid with name recognition is the Prius.

    Americans don’t buy hybrids to save gas or save the planet, they buy them to be noticeably SEEN as saving gas and the planet. It’s possibly the most sanctimonious purchase one can make and if you’re not screaming to drivers around you how you’re a better human being for your choice of automobile, why bother? It’s the antithesis of the Hummer, but still involves the same portions of the brain.

    It’s why stealth hybrids that are nearly indistinguishable from their parent vehicles (Camry, Civic) are also poor sellers and consigned to die quiet deaths or carry on in Zipcar fleets.

    If Lexus ever makes something like a Prius L, with the same suppository styling and honorable eco sacrifice recognition that anyone from a quarter mile away won’t mistake for an eco hero… that may sell like wildfire. But so far their dorky hatchback hybrid isn’t very Priusesque.

  • avatar
    T2

    Americans don’t buy hybrids to save gas or save the planet, they buy them to be noticeably SEEN as saving gas and the planet.

    Really Land Cruiser ? I would give Americans more credit than that.

    I also need to address this other notion, frequenting this board, that an ES is just a gussied up version of the Camry. Couldn’t be more wrong, the multi-link suspension gives an entirely different feel to road holding that I haven’t experienced with any models in the Toyota lineup I have tested.

    That aside, if I am going to purchase from Lexus again I would be looking for something NEW in my new car and for the ES it would probably be something like the RX400h powertrain. In other words at this higher price point I am looking for AWD. AWD would serve to neatly differentiate the Lexus ES product from the Camry hybrid.

    The RX400h electric powertrain with the use of a third motor, mounted in the rear, is able to eliminate both the inefficiency of a 90 degree RWD coupling and the weight of the transfer case needed to transmit power to it. Bottom line you get AWD without the hit to the mpg.


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